LPGA puts an exclamation mark on the season with social media
Often expensive galas and charity fundraisers are called the “social events of the season” as you go to the event to be seen and rub shoulders with socialites and big wigs. The LPGA held their own social event of the season last weekend capping off the year at the CME group Titleholders in Naples, Florida. Only this social event was over social media.
While the LPGA gets air time on the Golf Channel and occasionally NBC, it’s often the forgotten sister of the PGA Tour. Therefore LPGA officials have to get more creative with their marketing campaigns (“See Why It’s Different”), and social media is no different. To bring the season to a close, the LPGA led a comprehensive social media activation plan surrounding the final tournament. Here were a few of the creative implementations:
- Twitter: For the first time in LPGA history, fans were able to create a grouping at an official Tour event. The top-three players with the most votes were in the “Featured Grouping Contest” and played together for Thursday’s first round and will be spotlighted throughout Golf Channel’s broadcast (Brittany Lincicome, Gerina Piller, and Stacy Lewis won the vote).
- A Twitter takeover of @LPGA by European Solheim Cup star Sandra Gal.
- Fan interaction during Golf Channel’s broadcast utilized the #LPGAonGC hashtag, with select questions or comments read on air. Since the #LPGAonGC hashtag was released on Monday through Wednesday, there have been more than 2.7 million impressions on Twitter, and more than 5,000 tweets using the hashtag. That’s some incredible stuff for growing the LPGA.
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) November 15, 2012
- @LPGA and @CMEGroupLPGA tweeted messages throughout the week asking fans to retweet in return for a 20% discount or “Tweetcount” at the CME Group Titleholders Merchandise Tent
- Facebook :”Instant Fan” Photos where “Social media caddies” managed a life-size polaroid cutout that fans were able to take ‘Instant Fan Photos‘ around the course (unlike the PGA) at TwinEagles Golf Club. Photos were be uploaded to the Tour’s Facebook and Pinterest pages.
- Instagram: Playing off the “See Why It’s Different Out Here” marketing campaign, the Tour gave fans a chance to show why the LPGA is unique. Fans were instructed to post pictures to their Instagram accounts and use the hashtag #LPGASeeWhy where the best one will win a prize.
- Foursquare: Fans could “check-in” at several designated locations on the grounds of TwinEagles Golf Club. The fan with the most check-ins for the week will be awarded a prize after the tournament. Check-in deals at the merchandise tent will also be offered and will be promoted on scoreboards.
- Pinterest: Fans were encouraged to create boards with pictures of their favorite LPGA players who competed in the CME Group Titleholders. Pinners used the hashtag #CMEGroupLPGA on each pin and posted a link to their board on the LPGA Facebook page to be entered into the contest. The winning “board” will receive a prize following the tournament.
“We are excited to bring this social media concept to one of our showcase events,” said LPGA Chief Communications Officer Kraig Kann. ”As we work to grow our ‘following,’ we need ideas like this that are worth following. Hopefully, this visible new forum for fan interaction provides another opportunity for people to ‘See Why It’s Different’ at the LPGA these days.”
Their “social event of the season” was the icing on the cake for LPGA’s emphasis on innovative social media practices this year. If you recall, they were the first league to put player’s Twitter handle on their caddies bibs in June during the Wegmans LPGA Championship. All of their press releases now include the player’s Twitter handle as well (after they mention their name it’s featured in parentheses). These initiatives have grown the LPGA’s following significantly as the caddie bib program, over the past year the Tour, its tournaments and its players have collectively seen an 81% increase in Twitter followers and Facebook fans.
This 360 degree social media platform needs to be incorporated at more events (perhaps the majors?) to really be a driving force in engagement. But this social media blitz is a great start to a robust digital strategy and is awesome to see the LPGA be innovative in their practices to gain new fans.