Sports Offers Social Success Templates

| January 8, 2013

By Holland Cooke
News/Talk/Sports Consultant

LAS VEGAS–Broadcasters scrambling to understand and exploit the unprecedented power of social media can benefit from success templates in the sports world.  A keynoter at the New Media Expo (the re-branded Blogworld conference) shared experiences and guidelines.

With nearly 1.3 million Twitter followers of her own, Amy Jo Martin knows whereof she speaks.  After three years managing social media for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, she founded Digital Royalty, Inc., whose clients include Shaquille O’Neal, the Chicago White Sox, and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).  She is the author of the New York Times best-seller “Renegades Write the Rules: How the Digital Royalty Use Social Media to Innovate.”

“Humans communicate with humans, not logos.”

Social tools can enable the engagement listeners now experience via new-tech media with which radio competes for attention and ad revenue. “Humanization leads to monetization.”

Radio’s plethora of slogans, positioning statements, and jingles can erect a wall between station and user.  And with radio suffering cutbacks in the local content workforce, we need to make the most of any touch point.

Martin explains that “social isn’t ‘media,’ it’s a dialogue.”  That can be awkward for broadcasters accustomed to call screening, seven-second delay, and other control mechanisms.

One of the fundamental adjustments broadcasters need to make to make the most of social media is to understand that tools like Facebook and Twitter aren’t just transmitters.  They’re conversations.

“Be willing to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” Martin urges.  And avoid what she calls “innovation allergies,” such as “we’ve never done that” or “that won’t work.”

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Generations have howled at the famous George Burns quote: “Sincerity — if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”  Tools like Facebook and Twitter enable we-behind-the-microphone to seem more authentic to listeners, by engaging with them as individuals, in full view of others.

Shaquille O’Neal announced his retirement via internet video, even before he told his team.  “19 seasons…we did it,” he grinned.  “Note: ‘WE did it,” Martin stressed.

Another “random act of Shaqness” she recalled was O’Neal responding to curiosity as to whether he himself was actually Tweeting, or was his social interaction being ghosted.  He quickly scotched that notion by Tweeting that he’d be at such-and-such an intersection in Boston…and there he was, chatting up fans and posing for pictures, which, of course, fans sent viral.

“When passion, purpose, and skill collide, that’s bliss,” smiled Martin, whose web site TheDigitalRoyalty.com offers case studies worth brainstorming at your station.

tbugkSee/hear/read more from consultant Holland Cooke at www.HollandCooke.com; and follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke.

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Category: Analysis