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Sports on social media: How fans talk tells you more than just how they feel

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There has been plenty of coverage around Monday night’s BCS Championship Game between Florida State and Auburn; everything from fan to brand reactions on Twitter. On the surface these tweets strike as funny, impassioned, angry, or incredulous– not unexpected reactions when it comes to something fans connect with as deeply as their favorite sports teams. Looking at how people talk about sports on social media like Twitter can tell us more than just which team they’re a fan of, however; it gives us insight into their actions and behaviors. And if you know what it is that a fan is doing with their spare time, then you have a better idea of how to approach them, and talk to them. For brands this is invaluable. As for fans, they get the chance of an individualized approach to putting things in front of them that they’ll want to connect with.

The Action: A favorite game gets rewatched like a favorite movie.

The Implication.

What’s the point in rewatching a sports game you already know the outcome of? It’s not that different from rewatching a favorite movie or television show, really: while you already know what’s going to happen, now you can watch to see how it happens, and gain a deeper understanding of the thing that you love. While you’re likely experiencing the same emotions of elation at a great play or sadness in a defeat, it’s also likely not as strong as when you watched the game live. It’s easier to spot a certain player’s motivations, or how a play completely unraveled, because you’re not sitting on the edge of your seat with your teeth clenched, or screaming at the ref.

For brands whose demographic includes sports fans, this is helpful information. People who save a game to rewatch it are exhibiting behavior that’s planned, thoughtful, and deeply engaging– and that’s the kind of approach any brand wanting to build a relationship with them should take when reaching out to them. That fan behavior shows the kind of loyalty companies are lucky to find in a customer. Reach out the right way, with understanding, and you stand to be rewarded.

The Action: Not holding back feelings about a new way to watch the game.

ESPN debuted their Megacast for the BCS Championship, and like all things on the Internet viewers were not shy about sharing their feelings.

The implication.

Sometimes it’s the simplest lessons that bear repeating: Listen to your audience. Obviously ESPN will never be able to make every single sports fan happy with a magical coverage design, but they can find ways to tweak their Megacast for future games by paying attention to the things their watchers are saying about it. This is also an opportunity to shine a spotlight on certain fans; if you incorporate their idea, highlight the tweet they shared it in on a future broadcast and say thank you. Nothing could spell out clearer that you do care what viewers have to say.

And some of their ideas are pretty entertaining.

Written by Sarah

January 9th, 2014 at 8:27 am

Posted in Events

Tagged with , , ,