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The NBA and Social Media - A case study

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The NBA and Social Media - A case study

  1. 1. A Case StudySocial Media and Sport Summit (London)“Maximising opportunity and minimizing risk”15 July 2010<br />
  2. 2. Outline<br />In Action<br />Aims<br />Takeaways<br />About<br />
  3. 3. About<br />
  4. 4. About @AdamVincenzini<br />Worked in both Australia and the UK<br />Started out in ‘traditional’ PR<br />More recently, social media marketing has been the focus<br />Currently advising Vodafone UK, Coca-Cola (Europe) and Marston’s on social / digital strategy<br />More at:<br />
  5. 5. Recent work...<br />Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton for Vodafone<br />2 min 40 sec video of the drivers rebuilding an F1 car without their team<br />Nearly 600,000 views in 3 weeks<br />All seeding was editorially driven<br />Existing community relationships integral<br />More at<br />
  6. 6. Aims<br />
  7. 7. Aiming for...<br />“A better understanding of why the NBA is arguably the world’s biggest (and best) brand in social media.”<br />
  8. 8. And...<br />“What can we learn from the NBA’s social media activity that can be applied to brands / organisations of any size.”<br />
  9. 9. In Action<br />
  10. 10. In Action<br />Q1<br />Q2<br />Social media numbers<br />History of the brand<br />Q3<br />Q4<br />Organic vs ‘created’<br />Who’s doing what<br />
  11. 11. History of the brand<br />Q1<br />
  12. 12. Where social media happens...<br />Can brands become overnight social media success stories?<br />Sure (kind of).<br />Does it help to be historically engaging?<br />Definitely.<br />Q1<br />
  13. 13. Through the years<br />Q1<br />
  14. 14. Defining attribute: Intimacy<br />Jeremy Piven NBA Playoffs Promo<br />Q1<br />
  15. 15. Scoreboard<br />Q2<br />
  16. 16. Numbers<br />1<br />YouTube (420 million views since its debut in 2007) – one of the most popular of all-time<br />More than 17 million fans on Facebook (league, teams, players and partners)<br />Number one sports league in the world on Twitter (2 million followers)<br />More YouTube subscribers than any other sport / brand in the world<br />Overall, the official NBA pages, all 30 NBA team pages, and NBA player pages have accumulated more than 38 million followers and fans across both Facebook and Twitter. <br />3<br />Q2<br />
  17. 17. NBA Finals on TV<br />Q2<br />
  18. 18. Most recent NBA finals<br />On a normal day, Twitter users generate 65 million tweets, or two billion in a single month. That translates to an average of 750 tweets per second.<br />Group stages of the World Cup – 2700 Tweets per second.<br />Twitter recorded 3,085 tweets per second during NBA Finals Game 7 - more than 185,000 tweets every minute.<br />Q2<br />
  19. 19. Organic vs ‘created’ noise<br />Q3<br />
  20. 20. The answer...<br />*C<br />Both.<br />(But the foundations need to be in place to amplify the opportunity)<br />Q3<br />
  21. 21. Social media lifecycle<br />?<br />Inactive<br />Reinforce and maintain<br />Semi-active<br />Active and growing<br />*Exit Strategy<br />Q3<br />
  22. 22. The NBA’s digital mantra<br />“NBA Digital’s mantra is to provide fans with the content they want, when and where they want it, so we always start by asking: how will this enhance the fan’s experience, what are their needs? Where do they want content? <br />Once we answer these questions we can determine our plan. There are a lot of opportunities that may seem cool, but if there is no use for it or it does not solve a need it won’t go anywhere.”<br />Bryan Perez, SVP and GM for NBA Digital<br />Q3<br />
  23. 23. The NBA way<br />YouTube<br />Amplify <br />‘Be’ present <br /><br />(The Hub)<br />Twitter<br />Facebook<br />Deliver <br />Connect<br />Other platforms<br />Q3<br />
  24. 24. What do they do well?<br />Q4<br />
  25. 25. Key pillars<br />Integration<br />Interaction<br />Innovation<br />* And a lot of common sense<br />The foundation for a truly international footprint for the brand<br />
  26. 26. Consistency across properties<br />Integration<br />
  27. 27. Twitter push / pull<br /><br />Integration<br />
  28. 28. Live Facebook content<br />Facebook, TNT and the NBA teamed up to live stream the NBA All-Star Game online and pull in fan conversations in the same page via Facebook Connect. <br />Fans could watch the activities last night live on TNT’s website and choose from any of the four different camera angles available. While they were watching online, all the conversations from Facebook from the other people who were watching were pulled in to the page on the right side. <br />Fans could see the conversations as a whole, or just what their friends were saying. Fans could also vote on which players they wanted to see via the Player Cams.<br />Integration<br />Additional reporting from Mashable<br />
  29. 29. Partner integration – State Farm<br />Charity Challenge<br />4 players / causes<br />Video ‘pitches’<br />Public vote<br />Player / cause with most votes ‘won’ largest % of the funds available<br />Winner - Pau Gasol (38%)<br />Integration<br />Via The NBA<br />
  30. 30. State Farm (cont)<br />Impressions, likes and comments<br />Integration<br />
  31. 31. Twitter – not an RSS feed<br />@THE_REAL_SHAQ: 63% of Tweets are ‘replies’<br />Adidas created a section for fans to follow Dwight Howard during the All-Star Game. Here they could find YouTube videos, his posts on Twitter and pictures from Flickr, which were updated in real-time via RSS feeds. <br />Adidas did a good job promoting this  section–they branded their YouTube channel with Dwight Howard imagery and encouraged people to follow Dwight live on their website. <br />(Superman and Superman)<br /><br />Interaction<br />
  32. 32. Innovative aggregation...<br />Tweets about the eight NBA playoff teams are shown in real-time, in what amounts to a huge bar chart. You can read the tweets as they're posted, but the more tweets a team is getting, the larger its tile appears.<br />There's even a bracket, throwing all the teams currently playing against each other in a battle for Twitter supremacy.<br />Via FastCompany<br />Innovation<br />
  33. 33. Mike Mosaic<br />For the NBA All-Star weekend this year, Nike wanted to do something big to celebrate 25 years of working with Michael Jordan.  To do so, they created a social mosaic focused exclusively on Jordan, and turned it into a massive, interactive touch-screen, Through online social promotion, more than 100,000 fans participated in the creation the Jumpman 23 Mosaic. <br />Via EngineWorks<br />Innovation<br />
  34. 34. Pay what?<br />It’s already fairly impossible to escape hearing about basketball star LeBron James these days. It seems that no matter what TV channel you put on, what website you read, or what social media site you’re on, talk of him is rampant as the world awaits his decision on which team he’ll sign with. That’s why it’s a little odd that the NBA decided they needed to pay Twitter to promote James a bit more. Yes, he’s the latest Promoted Trending Topic on the service.<br />If you look at the right hand column on, you’ll see LeBron James’ name at the bottom of the Trending Topics section highlighted by a big yellow “Promoted” icon. At first, I thought James himself may be paying for the promotion (which would be kind of funny in the ultimate vanity kind of way), or that perhaps his main sponsor Nike was doing it. But no, it’s actually the NBA itself which is paying Twitter to promote James’ name — as you can see when you hover over his name.<br />So why on Earth is the NBA paying to promote just one player? Well, if you click on the topic, you’ll see the tweet they’re also paying for along the top. “For all your LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and other NBA Free Agency updates check out Decision 2010 on” which is then followed by a link to<br />It’s actually a pretty savvy move by the NBA. Had they just promoted something like “NBA Free Agency,” I doubt as many people would click on the trending topic (and subsequent link). But LeBron James draws crowds both in real life and virtually. So the NBA is piggybacking off of the name of their biggest star. Smart.<br />Via TechCrunch<br />Innovation<br />
  35. 35. NBA Finals – The opportunity<br />“Expanding our role in social media increases the ways our fans can interact and experience The Finals and is the perfect complement to our comprehensive coverage on” <br />Our fans are active on multiple social media networks and we want to continue to communicate with them directly and provide them with NBA content in their favorite spaces.” <br />Melissa Brenner,NBA Vice President of Marketing.<br />Innovation<br />
  36. 36. NBA Finals – The activity<br />Facebook<br />Gowalla<br /> on Facebook – Facebook shop featuring products for every NBAteam as well as merchandise for The Finals. The new store will allow users to complete a purchase without leaving Facebook, marking the first professional sports league to offer the technology. <br />Gowalla - The location-based social networking platform will label every Finals game as an “event” on the official Gowalla page. Any fan who checks in at an NBA arena during a game will receive a special passport stamp featuring the home team's logo<br />Say Now<br />Foursquare<br />SayNow - A social networking platform that allows fans to interact via voice messaging, will provideNBA players with an opportunity to communicate directly with fans through personal voice messages recorded during The Finals. The personal voice messages can be accessed by fans across the league’s official Twitter, Facebook and SayNow pages. The NBA launched its SayNow page in April, and has engaged fans by asking them to provide commentary about a variety of NBA topics.<br />Foursquare – Throughout The Finals, the NBA will work with Foursquare, the popular location-based social networking platform, to allow fans to officially check in from where they are watching The Finals. On Foursquare, during games fans will have ability to check-in once they arrive at the arena, receive specially designed Finals badges by “shouting” about the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics, and socialize with other fans.<br />Innovation<br />Via 9 Elements<br />
  37. 37. European shaping – Facebook<br />Local listening and content<br />Fan pages for each major market<br />250,000 fans in Turkey <br />3,000 ‘likes’ in last 7 days<br />Active ‘wall’ content<br />Note: NBA Globally has 3,000,000+ fans (more than any other sport in the world)<br />International<br />
  38. 38. Is every bit great?<br />The NBA’s Social Media Policy (via Mashable)<br />
  39. 39. Setting an example...<br />£7,500 fine for ‘in-game’ tweeting.<br />“Riots in LA after title win”<br />Drugs caught on TwitPic?<br />Car jump stunt leads to parent outrage<br />
  40. 40. Takeaways<br />
  41. 41. Takeaways<br />The balance between being where customers are and having something useful to share / provide<br />What are you trying to achieve via Social Media – the NBA’s strategy is clear – make at domestic sport as global as possible.<br />Be true to you / your brand – use your assets, not someone else’s<br />Consistency – this is something that any brand / organisation can do<br />The three I’s: Integrate, Interact and Innovate – and apply common sense<br />Develop polices that strike the balance between access and a framework for protecting the brand / reputation<br />Get the balance right between foundation activity and campaign activity – I often think the phrase ‘social media campaign’ is an oxymoron – once in, and once you’ve done the hard work, don’t drop off the planet again<br />
  42. 42. Takeaways<br />Be proactive and engage at all times – the more constant the flow of positive / engaging content, the less impact negative buzz will have (it’ll get drowned out quicker) <br />Get your partners / stakeholders aligned – or at least keep them abreast of your activity and look for opportunities to work together<br />Think outside the square when it comes to assets / tactics<br />Don’t be afraid to relinquish ‘control’ – let’s be honest, you never really had it anyway – but have the processes in place to deal with things when they do get challenging<br />Finally – listen, listen, listen – I didn’t touch on this subject much in this presentation but 99% of the answers you have to your social media questions are usually being served up by your audience every day<br />
  43. 43. Practical stuff for tomorrow based on NBA<br />Look at your properties / audit – are you being consistent, interactive etc<br />Do some manual listening – the fancy tools are great but no-one judges sentiment better than a human<br />Try things – you won’t know what works for your audience unless you test the waters first<br />Be patient – engaging audiences takes time, but once the tipping point arrives, you are in a great place<br />
  44. 44. Contact information<br />Adam Vincenzini<br />Paratus Communications<br />Tel: 020 7404 6691<br />Mob: 07932 082 124<br />W:<br />B:<br />T: @AdamVincenzini<br />F:<br />
  45. 45. Bonus link:<br />Kings set trend with social media<br />