Sports Teams on Twitter – A How To

Some passing advice to pro sports teams while I’m on my way out: if you’re looking to set up a real presence on Twitter, the time has come to splinter your audience.

One main account is no longer enough.

Primary Account: Engagement (or as it used to be referred to: customer service) needs to be a 24/7 feature now and you do need a full time, non-intern person with a communications background running your main account.

They need to be equiped to run contests and more importantly, answer a lot of different kinds of questions. They need to know everyone who works for their organization and everyone who works there needs to know them.

The end result of this ‘always on’ type of account will be a whole lot of engagement and multiple repeat tweets throughout the day. It is also intended for the casual Twitter user who does not keep up with their entire timeline. You have to hit the people who use their account occasionally throughout the day or who see content that is cross-published on your website via widget.

Breaking News: After your main account, you should have an account that is more for the serious followers of your team; such as reporters and die-hards. Much less engagement here (only so many times you can deny a rumor) and much more a place to break news. If you have a true beat writer, then this is probably the best place for them. You have to separate the message of ‘team Team’ – or depending on who your boss is, ‘the Brand’ – with the message of the individual. Beat writers may be given a little more freedom to discuss rumors and speculate on team news.

The main principle here is that there needs to be a hard news account for your team. Post links to press releases, features and also be a place for more on the ice/on the field discussion (who’s playing well, who’s playing where, etc).

Insider Access: Finally, you need to have your team’s PR guy run his/her own account. How this will end up looking will depend largely on the PR person’s willingness to engage and post but my opinion is to let them run it however they feel comfortable. It’s important to give a platform to someone who’s with the team each and every day and there is stuff that the PR person can do that no social media or digital media person within the organization can ever accomplish.

Dress Up: To top things off, you might as well give the team mascot an account. And if there’s a spirit squad of some kind… roll them in together to one account.

After you have everything in place, retweeting each other as needed will bring it all together for your audience. And while you’re at it, create a couple of Twitter Lists for them too. One with all of your team accounts and another with all of your players.

One example of a team who is using this structure is the Cleveland Indians:
https://twitter.com/#!/Indians
https://twitter.com/#!/tribeinsider
https://twitter.com/#!/https://twitter.com/#!/tribetalk
https://twitter.com/#!/SliderTheMascot

There’s not nearly enough engagement on their main account, but the beams are in place to build on that. The first step is to use your main account to talk directly with fans throughout the day. Everything after that will flow from that launching point.

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