#MLBmembersonly shows mixed results
Yesterday, Major League Baseball made their Twitter account private. Why you ask? Well, they made their account private for 6 hours, making it visible to their 2.4 million followers to reward their most “loyal” followers. They held sweepstakes throughout the day by telling fans to tweet a certain message and include the hashtag #MLBmembersonly and they would randomly draw a winner from tweets that contained the given message. They gave away everything to giftcards to MLB.com to World Series tickets. Cool idea right? It was actually garnered a mix bag of reaction as some people loved the idea whereas others thought it was horrible.
Russell Scibetti from The Business of Sports posted this on his blog:
In theory, any requests to follow the account at this time would need to be approved by hand. That causes two problems here. One is that I feel bad for the intern having to approve each request. But more importantly, this campaign isn’t as exclusive as it sounded at first. I felt that this was positioned not just to drive new followers before the “lockdown” began, but more importantly to give some unique value to their Twitter audience that was already following them. By taking on new followers during this six hour window, it’s really not much different than standard Twitter-based giveaways. According to topsy.com, it looks like the #mlbmembersonly hashtag had 4,160 mentions yesterday and the @MLB account itself was mentioned 5,376 times. I don’t know what their expectations were, so its hard to say if this would be considered successful or not, but I give them a lot of credit from trying a different approach.
Joe Lucia from Awful Announcing felt differently:
The MLB Twitter account has received a lot of attention, mostly negative, due to their lame puns, RT begging, and so on and so forth. But today, their ineptitude may have taken the cake. This is supposed to be a professional account covering a league. What if a major piece of news happens, like a star player breaking his leg and getting hurt? Is MLB going to ignore the news so they can continue to give away tickets and giftcards? And here’s another really irritating thing about this private nonsense: there are two weeks left in the season, and baseball is in the midst of an intense pennant race. There was seven games starting during the “private hours” with six of those seven games featuring potential playoff teams. No updates on those games during private hours? That’s cool.
It could be said that this initiative was a success given the fact that they gained 10,000 new followers, but there were many unhappy followers complaining that the same message was clogging up their timeline or that they weren’t providing game updates. Just shows that you can’t please everyone.