Engagement, Social Rewards and Monetization Webinar recap
This afternoon, National Sports Forum held a free webinar discussing social media engagement, rewards and monetization in sports. Miss the webinar for a meeting in which you got nothing accomplished anyways? Have no fear! We took some notes for you to learn about best practices in the social media space.
Jordan Maleh, Director of Digital Marketing at the University of Michigan led the first part of the discussion as he shared how Michigan operates their social media channels:
- Each of the 27 varsity sports has their own Facebook and Twitter accounts (some are grouped together) instead of one general Michigan Athletics page. Their reasoning for giving each sport their own account is so they can establish a brand identity of their own and to inundate the fan’s timeline or newsfeed with sports they don’t care about. This way a Michigan softball fan doesn’t need to have their timeline flooded with swimming updates if they have no interest in that sport.
- Photos are the key to successful sharing.
- The monetization of social media is greater than you think! In 2011, Michigan made $376,478 in revenue from Facebook referrals. Take that social media naysayers!
- Another key is to understand what your users are interacting with. That’s why tools like Google Analytics are so important as it shows what people get their information from and therefore you can focus you efforts on those channels that are proving to be effective.
Jason Cole, Co-Founder of row27, took over the conversation from here focusing on social rewards in sports:
- To drive fan engagement, the platform must be entertaining, interactive and incentivized. (See Minnesota Vikings, West Virginia “Ultimate Mountaineer Fan” contest examples).
- Reward and loyalty programs should deepen brand relationships, drive interactivity and increase the virality of messaging. The Baylor Bold rewards program is a perfect example of accomplishing all of these things as it has generated over 22 million social media impressions over the course of a year.
- The Baylor Bold rewards program uses points to reward fans for spreading official team content to their social media followers. To have a successful rewards platform such as Baylor’s, the program needs to include accumulation of points as building points is a stronger motivator than an immediate reward. The program needs to keep users engaged and be transparent with clear rules and redemption policies. Also, evidence has shown that experiential prizes like trips to an away game, stadium tours or team meet & greets are far better then tangible prizes like clothing or knick knacks.
Finishing the webinar was Craig Ricks, Senior Marketing Manager for Paciolan, shed light on social media best practices:
- In-Game Experience: University of Cincinnati painting on hashtags onto field, Cal using gigapixel panoramic pictures where fans can find themselves and tag on Facebook (can also sell panoramic pictures from that), Philadelphia Wings using Twitter handles on jerseys.
- Using a call to action is the best way to drive interaction. For example, when fans are explicitly asked to “like” a post, there is a 3x higher “like” rate than when not asked to do so. Same goes for “shares” as fans are 7x more likely when asked to share, photo posts receive interaction rate 39% higher than average.
- “Engage fans first and then sprinkle in monetization opportunities”.
- A new trend in social media sales is “retargeting”. Retargeting drives site abandoners back to your website to buy tickets which is important because you’re targeting customers who have already shown interest in your product. Some athletic departments that have been early adopters of this new practice have been Michigan State University and USC. The Spartans have seen a return of $43 for every $1 they have spent on retargeting for basketball while USC football season ticket retargeting has seen a return of $39. Clearly a worth while practice.