We recently conducted some detailed research indicating social media was the fastest growing of all the various sectors of the sports industry. We broke down the skills necessary to get hired, how to get them, where to find the top jobs…it’s a pretty solid read (and worthy of sharing through your favorite social medium..wink wink).
But we missed something. Something important.
Most communications coming from professional and college teams are boring, lame, uninspired and purposefully lacking information. That has all changed with social media, and the @LAKings official team twitter account really started it all.
Back in 2012 after the Kings game 1 win in the Stanley Cup playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks, the Kings digital team staff sent out the following tweet:
Everyone knows the Canucks are the most hated team in the NHL, and apparently Canada as a whole – but ‘official’ team twitter feeds usually toe the public relations line. Those nine words sent shock waves through professional sports and the media.
So how did this happen?
According to Kings vice-president, communications and broadcasting, Michael Altieri, “”We encourage our digital team to be creative, interactive and to apply a sense of humor whenever possible, to anyone who found it offensive we sincerely apologize.”
Altieri may have apologized but he didn’t exactly storm down the hall firing everyone who was on HootSuite. The Kings social media team went right back to their creative ways, poking and prodding where necessary, and gathering followers by the boatload.
The tweet was on the edge, but it was harmless, and it created something the NHL has needed badly – buzz. Isn’t that what social media promotion is really about? Getting people talking about your product?
The great part is Kings have shown an ability to laugh at themselves. After losing in this years Stanley Cup playoffs they sent off this tweet to fellow conference championship loser, the Pittsburgh Penguins:
We’ve all read stodgy press releases carefully crafted by a public relations executive, and listened to canned answers from athletes that bored us to tears. Finally, we the fan base, are getting something different from the social voice of the teams we love.
Other teams have taken note, and are gaining publicity for their creative banter on twitter:
Nice bit of trash-talking after taking over first place from the Red Sox…who responded:
Oh snap! Nice comeback.
Forgetting for a second how enjoyable and refreshing these are to read, lets bring this back to business and publicity. Do you want to know who was talking about this exchange?:
- Bleacher Report
- Huffington Post
- USA Today
- NY Post
- Washington Post
- Sports Illustrated
..and countless more media outlets.
It’s simple and creative exchanges like this that become talking points on media outlets and bring a team to the forefront of the audience’s consciousness. And I’m sure it makes it easier to ride the wave of press with advertisers, ticket sales and sponsorship opportunities.
The Indians and Reds had another great exchange a few months back, regarding the “Ohio Trophy” given to the winner of their interleague play match-up:
To which the Reds had the perfect response, just minutes later:
The media isn’t immune to some social media smack talk either:
Not taking the bait (sorry, it was either that or a Tara Reid reference), the Sharks deftly responded:
The gloves are coming off, teams are loosening their belts, taking off the ties and finally realizing sports and trash talk go together like Greg Hardy and a parole officer.
But there is something very important to note here, all of these tweets resisted the urge to be personal, or sexist, or anything that would make them later claim they were hacked. They all toe the line gracefully, making creative and entertaining points while still being able to represent a team and sponsors.
So what are the skills necessary for today’s social media jobs in the sports industry? Creativity, wit, and enough common sense to know how to converse while still positively representing your employer.
Easier said that done for some: