With the 2016 NFL regular season officially kicking off today, one thing is for sure — social media has been a key player when it comes to engaging with fanbases.
The NFL has both a challenge and an opportunity — the challenge being that each of the 32 teams in the NFL only have 16 regular season games, and the opportunity being how they can utilize social media to build excitement around that week’s game day.
The teams in the NFL understand that their fans are paying attention — and rallying around a location for a team that they support. Because of that, teams have turned to social media to repay them for the support they have shown throughout the years. Below are some ways NFL teams have kept their fans in the game through the use of social media:
For many, Twitter has become a go-to for keeping up with content while it’s happening, whether it be following along in their feed, or with the event hashtag.
As a result of Twitter becoming a source for content sharing, in April Twitter and the NFL struck a deal to stream Thursday night football games. The two have been partners since 2013, and the Thursday night streaming will be free, live, and will be available on mobile phones, PCs, TVs, and tablets.
Many teams have turned to Twitter to hold giveaway competitions for their fans. For example, the New England Patriots used Twitter to encourage their fans to retweet them — resulting in signed memorabilia. Twitter followers simply need to follow the official Patriots account, and use team messages with hashtags such as #TomTuesday or #LetsGo.
The day before the 2016 regular season started, Twitter launched NFL hashtag emojis, which appear once a Twitter user uses that specific team hashtag.
But not all fans loved the chosen hashtags for their beloved team. In fact, the Chicago Bears’ hashtag #FeedDaBears was ranked 31 out of 32 for hashtags by SB Nation, and their fans aren’t reacting as the Bears might have hoped, either.
With Snapchat getting 10 billion video views per day, NFL teams realize that they have a major opportunity to connect with their fans within the app. Teams now have the opportunity to give their fans an “inside look” via the app by sharing videos from practice and scenes from the locker room.
Recently Snapchat and the NFL announced an extension to their partnership, allowing the NFL to become the first sports league to have a presence on the “Discover” platform. In addition, Snapchat Live Stories will be produced for every NFL game along with custom geofilters to be used in stadium and around the stadium vicinity. Many teams like to have fun with their filters — for example the Philadelphia Eagles show their comical side on Snapchat by showing day-to-day player routines with the use of different emojis intertwined. Additionally, many teams chose to reveal their schedules in the past.
Why It Matters
As NFL fans, people want to feel like they are part of the team. With teams taking advantage of interacting with their fans every day of the week, people don’t need to wait until Thursday or Sunday to see what their favorite players are up to.
Each game day for the NFL is an event — and businesses can take note on how to promote events prior to the actual day, gain momentum with winning content, and build connections with a fanbase.