Sports and Social Media: The ConnectionDate: July 8, 2019
By Madi Travisano
Ten years ago, this job didn’t exist. Five years ago, it was rare if a team had this position, and now, in 2019, you won’t see any sports team or organization without one of these. This job requires that you know everything that is changing in the world of media and your resume is found through your Instagram captions and your Twitter feed. The title for that job: Head of the Social Media Department.
Nowadays, sports teams are looking for someone that will create an atmosphere for their fans on social media that goes beyond what they see on T.V. or in person at a stadium. Fans are looking for exclusive content of their favorite players on their favorite teams and that’s the responsibility of a team’s social media department. Take, for example, the head of the Los Angeles Dodgers social media, Sue Jo.
Jo stated in many recent interviews that her job is to make sure the guys on the team look good and to make sure that the fans always know what is happening with the Dodgers. Even though she runs the social media for a major league baseball team, most of the content that she delivers is tailored to what she believes the fans want to see. She decides what the captions are going to be for a post (and has been recognized as the “caption queen”) and comes up with new and creative ways for players to reach out to the fans on social media.
However, when thinking about the rapidly changing world of social media and the fast-paced world of sports, Jo’s job never stops. She, like many other social media departments leaders, are tweeting and posting about every game on multiple platforms as well as giving constant score updates on Twitter and posting highlights on Instagram a few moments after the incident happened.
Along with the growth of social media in general, the importance certain teams place on not only their social media departments, but their presence on the different social media platforms is also huge. Take the top ten best teams in baseball right now: Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, and the Milwaukee Brewers. Each of these teams have a very heavy following on both Instagram and Twitter, but the content on platforms can be very different.
When it comes to Twitter, social media heads must be quick with constant score updates, strikeouts, or a hit. Most teams twitter accounts give play-by-plays of most outs during the game depending on how crucial the game is for that team. Usually any tweet is accompanied with a video or gif. If a player gets a big hit then the tweet will say their name accompanied by a gif with them celebrating. This could also be why seven out of the top ten teams have a Twitter following of at least one million. Whereas out of the same teams, only four out of the ten have an Instagram following of 1 million or more.
During one baseball game, the Los Angeles Dodgers had around 25 tweets, which does not include retweets from other accounts or tweets replying to fans. During that same game, they had about ten posts on Instagram, showcasing the biggest highlights from the game. While that seems like a drastic difference in posts, the Instagram stories for teams are heavy utilized. Similar to Instagram where you think about the layout and content of the story, it is also meant to be quick. So, a team might only have a few posts but at least 10 stories on their Instagram.
In today’s sports world, Twitter notifications from your favorite sports teams will at most times come faster to your phone than ESPN. Everyone expects the highlights and updates to always be there regardless of the time or day. Think about how long you spend thinking of the right filter or a caption for an Instagram post. Some people might take a long time to find the right caption to fit their picture. Meanwhile, the person running your favorite team’s social media account doesn’t have the time to think about that, because the next big play can happen at any moment. That goes to show how tough of a job social media manager currently is, and it possibly could get tougher as time goes on and technology advances.
Madi Travisano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.