Staying Socially Relevant With Sports Fans During The Off Season
James Royer: Head of Digital @ Tampa Bay Lightning
In this episode recorded on location at Social Fresh East 2014, I interviewed James Royer. James is the Director of Digital & Social for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. We’re publishing this episode in the middle of the NHL season. I sat down with James in July to record this interview. He discusses strategies and tactics to stay socially relevant during the Lightning’s off season…..Consider the equivalent of the “off season” in your business.
Posting Relevant Content Off Season
James shares that since the Tampa Bay Lightning’s playing season is not 12 months long, it’s a challenge to post socially relevant content throughout the year. During the season, fans know when the games are; they know when to tune in and when the content is going to come out via the Lightning’s social channels.
During the off season, James and his team of digital ninjas are not able to leverage the games to carry content. He focuses on using more evergreen, more engaging content to interact with fans and keep fan engagement at a high level off season by posting content around concerts, player birthdays, player highlight videos, holidays, etc. A great example of this he shares is using player numbers – #91 Steven Stamkos – to countdown 91 days until the season opener game.
Another great example he shares is how one of their off season posts on Pi Day received 33 times more engagement than any other post they’ve shared via social.
Social Captain Program
James also discusses the success of the Lightning’s Social Captain Program. He brings in influencers to share their in-game experience. James invites the influencer out to the game, gives him/her four seats in the premium Chase Club section and a VIP experience. All he asks for in return is to share their in-game experience via social. Influencers brought in to partake as a Social Captain include WWE’s Chris Jericho, Baltimore Oriole’s Adam Jones, blogger & social media consultant Kim Garst, as well as yours truly, to name a few.
The Social Captain Program has produced tremendous results for them in just one year. In-game mentions are up 26% and an estimated 3.5 million people have been reached through this program.
Catch the entire interview with James Royer for more insights into how to engage an audience in the “off season” in the video above.