In addition to being a social media dork by day, I also throw myself into cheering wildly for my two favorite sports teams – the Iowa Hawkeyes and Pittsburgh Steelers (who happen to be playing a pretty big game later today).
Just ask my wife and kids – if I’m not watching the Hawks or Steelers (both conveniently don the black and gold, by the way), I’m reading or tweeting about them.
More recently – I’ve been doing BOTH. Sort of like that old Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup commmercial, I’ve discovered Twitter (and sometimes Face book) and live sports go well together. It was this past season when I really began to appreciate the melding of sports and Twitter.
Let me preface by saying this new fan activity is NOT part of any live game experience. So, no, I was not tweeting while in the stands at Kinnick Stadium. Wouldn’t think of it. And as a long-distance fan (I live in Wisconsin) of the Pittsburgh Steelers, social media engagment is a great way to connect with like-minded fans (some of whom also live in Wisconsin, belive it or not).
However, with all social media conversations – especially Twitter – you have to have a thick skin and be prepared to cut through the clutter to find your sweet spot. Live sports moves fast, and so does the fan conversation. Keep up, contribute or get left behind. Or worse – ignored.
Be patient, too. It takes time to find the fans you appreciate – and who appreciate you. There’s a ton of nonsense out there – from every team in every sport.
With that in mind, I offer these 5 tips to get started on your Twitter/fan experience:
- Create a follower list of your favorite sports teams: That includes fans, writers, coaches and players. Twitter lists are a great way to differentiate any other activities or passions you might share on Twitter.
- Don’t overdo the RT. Once you’ve joined a team’s following – large or small – you don’t have to RT everything about your team. It becomes downright ridiculous to read the same tweet 25 times.
- Use your team hashtags (#) when posting. This helps tell your followers – especially those who don’t follow your team – that this tweet is about the #Steelers or #SteelerNation.
- Send a quick disclaimer if you’re going to be in-game tweeting. Your non-sports followers might cut you some slack if you warn them ahead of the big game.
- Include a sentence about your team loyalty in your Twitter profile. This gives any potential follower the heads-up that, hey, you’re passionate about your team, and that your tweets will reflect that passion.
Got more tips? Add them in the comments below.
For now, I’m headed to the big screen to watch my Steelers play in Super Bowl XLV. You might even catch me tweeting about the action, too.
Thanks for being a fan.