Sports and Social Media

We talk a lot about the fabric that is sports and how it is weaved throughout the daily routine of our lives. Whether we like it or not, we all have some type of passing interest in sports and our communities. Either on a local, regional, national, or international level. Face it, if sports didn’t mean anything it wouldn’t be a section of the newspaper. It wouldn’t have it’s own segment on the local nightly news and it wouldn’t dominate our attention every  four years, or every sunday in the fall.

But how has social media changed the landscape of how we view or participate in sports? Here are some sites and examples that have already or seem to be elevating how we use social media with sports.

Ballhype is a social news site that’s sole focus is on sports, but it uses sports content/news as an entry point to encourage more interaction amongst its users.

Sports-focused social media company Citizen Sports recently acquired a few social media application developers: Sportacular, Sport Interactiva, and FantasyBook.  Citizen Sports launched its first fantasy football app on Facebook in July, and the acquisitions of Sport Interactiva and FantasyBook add new fantasy sports content to the roster, as well as securing  Citizen Sports a coveted spot in mobile, as Sportacular has a leading sports application of the same name for the iPhone.

Yardbarker breaks down traditional barriers, allowing fans and athletes to debate sports, read and write articles, and watch videos. It also features thousands of sports websites and blogs,

Pat Coyle runs a site called sports marketing 2.o that is related to all things web 2.0 and sports. Pat is obviously understand the effect that social media is having on sports, as he also created the NING group, Sports Marketing 2.0

The Sports Business Journal recently mentioned the 5 people that you need to know in social media-

Open Sports Led by Mike Levy, the founder of CBS this site is a comprehensive platform of products and services that brings together breaking sports news, social media tools, user generated content, fantasy sports games and multimedia applications.

Want to see a professional athlete who has leveraged his blog to a degree that journalists and fans use it for his latest sound bite? Look no further than the baseball player Curt Schilling

Then we have XOS technologies a leading technology partner for maximizing the value of content, commerce and services for sports organizations and fans.Whether it’s a coach assessing recruiting content, a video coordinator creating game-video highlights, a team streaming a press conference online or a fan engaging in interactive content.

Jason Peck uses his blog as a platform for sports, business and social media. In fact, Jason provides a great resource in his 50 sports social networking sites, which is a must bookmark blog post. Along the lines of citizen journalism in sports, look no further than Deadspin.

Mashable, the great provider of all things social media list related chimes in with it’s own 20 sports social networks, though it is a year old.

MVP Spot is an online community that provides amateur athletes the ability to showcase their talents to the world.

And SportMates is a global sports social network founded by a group of passionate sports fans who have created and managed some of the largest sports communities on the Internet over the last eight years. They have created an environment where fans and athletes from all cultures and geographical locations can share their passion for sports with likeminded fans.

The point of this post was really to show you that sports is permeating every thing at every level, related to sports. From fan blog sites, to communities devoted to teams and activities, to Facebook groups devoted to teams and athletes, to teams reaching out by creating social networks devoted to their most ardent of fans. and to  professional athletes themselves blogging.

Sports and social media are at the cross roads of fan participation like we have not seen at any other point in time sports. Look for it to continue to escalate with even more user generated content and platforms created to showcase that content. With that being said, look for the voice of the fan to become more and more prominent in the industry of sports.

What has been your “Ah-Ha” moment for 2008?


As we fall forward and 2009 approaches, I was reading a blog post in which the reader talked about her Ah-Ha moment in twitter and I started thinking about what was my “Ah-Ha” moment for 2008. Was it a connection? Was it one of those seminal moments with a client? A conversation? A conference? An e-mail? A tweet? A blog post that took the conversation to another level?

I’m curious as to what it might have been for you.

Given that 2008 might have been lean for some on certain levels, I’m sure you can still point to some thing or some moment in 2008 that might have either helped make the light bulb above your head brighter or just enriched you on a level that you never thought possible. What was it?

I’ve had many moments that were game changers this year but the one that stands out is the effect that Twitter has had on me professionally. In short, not only has it allowed me to connect with my peers but it has connected me to information and resources quicker than if I would have done the search myself. It has kept me dialed in to what matters in my industry and from a networking standpoint, there is no comparison. So to the 500 or so people that I follow, I want to thank you for providing me with my “Ah-Ha” moment in 2008.

Talk with them…

I’m learning as much as you right now. If you are a marketer or an advertiser then you need to be talking with your customers and not at them. We have been talking about that for a while now.  IDC just came out with a report that says that advertisers are failing miserably at communicating with social net users. Why? Because they are used to pushing shoving? their info and their product down people’s throats. According to IDC:

There are four major reasons why consumers use SNS: to connect and communicate; in response to peer-pressure; for entertainment; and for work-related purposes. Advertising does not factor into consumer motivations.

Ouch. So essentially advertisers still don’t get it. Keep reading, it gets better. IDC continues,

One of the potential benefits of SNS that the advertising industry has discussed is whether peoples’ connections (i.e., whom a user knows or is linked to) could be used for advertising. For instance, publishers could show a car manufacturer’s ads to a user’s contacts because that user’s online behavior has indicated that she is interested in a particular brand of cars. Anecdotally, there has been some indication that this “social advertising” might be more effective than behavioral targeting. However, that idea is stillborn. Of all U.S. Internet users, only 3% would allow publishers to use contact information for advertising. For instance, publishers could show a car manufacturer’s ads to a user’s contacts because that user’s online behavior has indicated that she is interested in a particular brand of cars.

If you have been reading some of the thought leaders in the social media marketing space like a Jason Falls, like a Beth Harte or Amber Naslund or Valeria Maltoni or Paul Chaney– they have stressed the importance of brand champions and community influencers who can shape the decisions and actions of the group or community or social net-naturally.

IDC’s report says that “One of the potential benefits of Social networks is that the advertising industry has discussed is whether peoples’ connections (i.e., whom a user knows or is linked to) could be used for advertising.”

I’m not sure what to think. Should I admonish IDC for putting out a report in which this comes as to no surprise to a lot of us? Or should advertisers be ashamed for not listening to some of the people I mentioned above who so obviously “Get it”? and have been saying what was put out in the report for a long time? A LONG TIME. IDC and advertisers could have saved a lot of grief, time and money just by listening to what is being written and talked about every day online in blogs and on Twitter.

Advertisers need to start listening to the thought leaders in the social media space to start with.

Sensitive marketing. 11 simple questions for marketers


I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, but…

  1. Do marketers have any idea of of the level of pain and frustration and fear that envelopes the people that they are currently marketing to?
  2. How are they or you addressing it?
  3. What are they or you doing to change yours or their tactics? You cannot market the same way you did in the good times.
  4. Are you even asking the hard questions?
  5. Are you meeting your clients and prospects halfway?
  6. Is what you are marketing and selling, solving problems in any economy?
  7. Are they problems that are different now because of the current state of the economy? YES.
  8. So how are you adapting?
  9. Are you changing the way you market to them?
  10. Are you touting social media and social media marketing? You have a case. But
  11. How well are you wrapping that case and your argument around today’s problems?

Marketing in a poor economy is no doubt what we are faced with right now which means that you have to be sensitive not only to the challenges that you are going to face, but also of the people that you are talking to on a daily basis. Some might say that the timing is right for social media marketing to be the panacea for what is ailing a lot of companies right now, but that remains to be seen. In the meantime what might be needed is a brand of sensitive marketing.

You Think About It.

We need social media mentors not evangelists


Be a mentor.  this thought occurred to me while watching  a vid on Todd Adrilik’s blog titled, The dumbest generation, don’t trust anyone under 30. While it was a compelling piece about how anyone under 30 might be more inclined to be lazy and check on their social networks and do nothing else- I would like to think that there is a tremendous opportunity not only for them to lead us even further into the digital age but also for us, as digital marketers, to do the same. Lead them, and show them now, how to do it right.

You see, at some point all of that digital knowledge you have, those social media experiences in your head, needs to be transferred to others. Just telling people about how great it is, is one thing, but showing them, and taking people under your wing to guide and mentor, and to teach and explain, is something completely different and much more valuable.

Ok, so for those of us in the social media bubble, we get it. Now go out and instead of telling people how great social media is, show them how great it can be.

Put your social media mentor hat on and make an even bigger difference.

I don’t wanna be..Yes, yet another social media mantra

Gavin Degrew has a song that I’m sure you have heard before, if you haven’t, then I suggest you go to Youtube and check it out and listen to it. It’s called, “I don’t wanna be”. Not only is it a good song, but it has a  stanza that you should adopt as your social media mantra. Here it is.

I don’t want to be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately
All I have to do is think of me and have peace of mind
I’m tired of looking ’round rooms wondering what I gotta do
Or who I’m supposed to be
I don’t want to be anything other than me

Man that’s powerful. Pretty clear too, isn’t it? The reason I’ve been thinking about this lately, is I’ve been noticing Twitter becoming this personal marketing platform of late. The bio’s are becoming more “sales-ey” and the tweets more self serving. It’s not like I’m saying quit sending me the killer blog post you’ve just written, I’m merely saying that social media and twitter is as much about others as it is about you.

So even though I might be generalizing on the one hand when referring to a “social media” mantra, specifically, I’m referring, to a certain degree about Twitter. So let’s keep the personal branding to a minimum or at least on the back channel of Twitter and Gavins Lyrics in mind as you maneuver through your social networks.

What is Your Personal Social Media Strategy?


Depending on where you are in your social media life cycle, if we are to call it such. Are you just jumping in with no clear plan or strategy? Should you have a strategy? Chris Brogan has a post about what he would do if he started today, but does that apply to you?

I guess you have to ask yourself, why you want to jump in the sandbox with everyone else? Is it because you want to follow people on Twitter? Is it because you want to blog about ideas and pass them on to others? Is it because you want to share your great ideas with others on social nets? Is it because you want to learn? Be transparent to yourself first.

The reason I ask is simple. Look at it this way, you would not start any project with out a project plan, or a goal in mind. You wouldn’t get on a team without some end result or goal in mind. For example-20 wins, making the playoffs etc. So why not do the same for jumping into all things social media.

Don’ think you have to be everywhere to have a quality social media experience either. I would rather have you do a few things really well rather than be average in a lot of areas. Focus on the quality of your social media engagements

Should a small business owner care about Social media?

Every day I can either get my bad news from the nightly news, the internet, print publications or the radio. In fact, my new job or position is a direct result of what is happening globally, nationally and locally. We all know of all the massive lay-offs and closings, but what of the trickle down to the small business owners?  How can they keep it going?  What tools could they use?  What tactics can they employ? Is social media a viable option? Should they be using it, trying it?

Jennifer Leggio a few weeks ago, had written about a recent survey that showed that 55 percent of 120 surveyed small business owners believe that online social networking — such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook — can be beneficial to their businesses.

Only 55% believed it could benefit? So the other 45% think it won’t? Let me ask you, who do you think will succeed?

Ok lets try this: I go up to the SMB and I give you 2 doors. Behind door number one is every possible tool you could want that might drive traffic to your business or your site. Behind door number two, are only the tools that have worked in the past. Which would you choose?

My question to the small business owner? Why wouldn’t you try everything right now? Including social media? What is your reason for not trying it? The Risk?


Social Media and Sundry Quotes

This first quote actually was found due to a tweet from Chris Brogan and can be attributed to Rachel Rubin who was guest posting on Kyle James’s blog, did you follow that?

One of my biggest professional challenges is to find a credible, valuable way to assess the effectiveness of our electronic media. Using Web Analytics and calculated ROI for certain projects are great starts, but I think there’s more to it.

Joseph Jaffe goes off on the Big 3

Bottom line, they did not join the conversation. I can’t put it any differently. They never listened to their customers; they never listened to the market; they never listened to the industry.

Kyle Flaherty tells you what we’ve been saying for a while on Twitter and elsewhere, in this guest post on Jennifer Leggio’s ZDNet Blog:

Do NOT ask “How will the economy affect social media?”
DO ask “How can I prove and then improve how social media affects my business?”

Chris Brogan

it’s water…

Read this wonderful article by John Kotter in The Harvard Business Review

Real urgency is a belief that, yes, there are big hazards and big opportunities out there (not just the former). More importantly, true urgency is a set of emotions, a gut-level feeling that we need to get up every single day with total determination to do something to deal with those hazards and opportunities and make some progress, no matter how modest, and do so today.

Toby Bloomberg asks a very simple question:

In this overwhelming world what One – 1 – I thing would you just do?

We focus a lot on personal brands and Frank Martin writes a lively piece titled Personal Brands(again) in which he says:

You HAVE to focus on adding value first, not your shine

Fred Wilson “rocks it” on this blog post which asks, “Do you do any real work”?. Check out this blurb then go read it!

And that’s one of the main reasons I keep writing, commenting, discussing, and participating in blogs, tumblr, twitter, disqus, and the social media world at large. Its about the “realest” work I do

OK folks,  read them,share them and retweet them…

Social Media Pitch-Raise your hand if you understood anything I just said.

This is starting to become a recurring theme of late. I pitch a social media project and spend the majority of the time explaining my vision and my passion for what the possibilities might be, and I get the blank stare:


Except this time, they nodded their head as I was speaking. So the whole time I’m thinking.. “I’m building momentum”, but something tells me I better ask the following question just to make sure.

You guys know what social media is right?

Before they could answer, I though to say, “Better yet I said, Raise your hand if you understood anything I just said.” Now this is a group of fairly young, hip execs. 1 CEO, 1 CMO, 2 VP’s and 3 sales and marketing people. I got nothing.  So I had to scramble. I said the 50,000 foot view of social media is that of a MySpace or Facebook. They all nodded. I tried going deeper but it was futile. I might have used the term SEO but now that i think back, there is no way they knew what that meant. I did get this question though:

Can you get us ranked #1 for __________ in the whole country?

Uhhhh.. no I cannot, unless I worked for Google, I think I mumbled that. At the end of the day I walked away with a project but it’s not going to involve any social media components. I guess that’s the upside. Here’s the moral.

I need to to do a couple of things going forward. Here’s what they are:

  • I’m going to determine if social media even makes sense for the company I’m talking to.
  • If it does, I’m going to work backwards with any company or individual I deal with or talk to, and show them examples of companies that do what they do and how they use social media successfully.
  • I’m going to simplify my examples of social media and explain some tools that might make sense
  • I’m going to show the sizzle of social media
  • I’m going to show even more value and demonstrate the power of social media in regards to extending the conversation with their customers.

Now before you say I should have done this homework beforehand, perhaps I could have, but the homework I did do, was on what their business model was. And the potential it posessed for social media adoption.  My assumption was, “Every company has the potential” Maybe, maybe not. But as I head down this road even more, I’ll be able to determine if that is indeed possible.

You see, you have to understand, I’ve rolled out quite a few social media projects for my former company and it’s clients and their products, but now that I’m pitching the projects as well for my new company, all of a sudden it’s a whole different ballgame. One in which i was not completely prepared for.