From platforms to content to metrics — you can find all kinds of prognostications and opinions in your LinkedIn or Twitter feeds during December and early January. It’s what social media marketers and communicators do, and it’s the nature of the industry. We work in one of the fastest-moving and most dynamic areas — no matter the brand, product or customer.
I can’t — and won’t — predict what lies ahead for social media in 2014. As a social media leader at a large brand, I can — and have — made calculated, strategic decisions to be successful in this space in 2014. But those decisions are based on my brand and its social media maturity, my colleagues who support our program, and — most importantly — the communities we engage.
Yes, you can spot trends and prepare for what’s to come. You can jump on the newest social platforms. You can try to be nimble during real-time marketing opportunities. You can even try to beat the Facebook algorithm.
But after helping launch my brand’s social media presence five years ago, and in the blur of change since, I know it’s not a one-size-fits-all world. It’s true for sports, too, where one organization may aggressively claim success with a platform, idea or project, while others display reserved skepticism.
And both can be right, because social media must always be about connecting your organization, your team, your personal brand — whatever it may be — to people in the best ways possible. Social media can and should break down walls and grant access where it’s never been allowed before. And as I’ve preached at presentations, in personal conversations, and online — it’s not about you, it’s about them.
In 2014, keep making it about them, and you will win, whether it’s on Snapchat or Facebook or Twitter or Instagram — or whatever shiny, new tool or idea blossoms this year (because you know they will). And that’s what makes social media so vibrant.
It also makes the upcoming Q1 Sports Digital Sports Fan Engagement conference one of 2014’s most fascinating events for sports marketers and communicators. To preview the March 3-4 conference in Dallas, some of the smartest people in #smsports — this most interesting space at the intersection of sports and social media — shared ideas about the digital marketing/social media initiatives they’ll focus on in 2014. As a media partner for this event, I’m thrilled to add these (un)predictions to the discussion about what lies ahead for teams, leagues and their fans, in 2014.
What trends can you spot?
Tim Clark, optimization and programming senior director for NASCAR
We will always strive to provide a better experience for our fans – the feedback we gather from real-time analytics as well as from social media will dictate how we evolve in 2014 and beyond.
Craig Pintens, senior associate athletics director, marketing and public relations for the University of Oregon
We need to get better at analytics, focusing on what the best content is that will engage our fans the most.
Scott Burchett, marketing and communications vice president for the Frisco Roughriders
We’ll continue to build our social media initiatives around our core philosophies of quality entertainment, customer service and community involvement. Our goal is to get better and focus on the things that drive the conversations and reduce the “clutter” on items that don’t. We need to stretch our content and grow our followers with targeted contests, exclusive content and interactive opportunities.
Joan Malcheski, brand engagement director for the Green Bay Packers
Revamping and repositioning our mobile site will be a top goal for our group. Integrating organic sponsor opportunities with robust content for a user-friendly experience is our deliverable.
Laura Fragoso, marketing senior vice president for the Round Rock Express Baseball Club
Growing our reach and followers through “share-with-a-friend” contests (using code) and gaining more information about our followers.
Jaime Carlin, marketing director for Texas Motor Speedway
We are going to drill down beyond our known influencers to the next layer; those with influence but may not yet know they are fans.
Scott Garrett, associate athletics director, ticketing and fan strategies for Kansas State University
We are in a number of conversations to improve stadium connectivity and deliver in-venue digital applications. This is a critical step in our ability to keep young fans interested and entertained at our games.
What did you notice? Organizations will continue to fine-tune their social media programs around customers — the fans. This should be the theme upon which all social media programs are built. Make it about them, and everything else becomes clearer.
Have social media big ideas for 2014? Share them in the comments — then go and make it about them, not you. Find more information about the Q1 Digital Sports Fan Engagement Conference here.
Thanks for being a fan.
FourthAnd140.com gives readers a strategic view of how players, teams and leagues – professional and amateur – use social media to connect with today’s sports fans. Editor and publisher Tom Buchheim was one of the first bloggers covering the curious intersection of sports and social media, using his experience as a social media leader for a Fortune 300 brand (and a sports fan) to examine the trends – and characters behind them – in this rapidly-changing space.
About Q1 Productions
Q1 Productions designs and develops webinars, training courses, conference programs and forums aimed at specifically targeted audiences, including the life science and sports industries. Through a highly structured production process focused on research calls with end-users and key stakeholders in the industry, our team is able to understand the immediate business concerns of today’s leading executives. Whether focusing on new or pending legislative and health policy issues for the life science industry or upcoming marketing trends in the digital and mobile space for sports organizations, our programs provide solutions to the urgent educational and information needs of our attendees.