Twitter done right: Dallas Stars keep fans, public updated on Rich Peverley’s condition

Standard
Dallas Stars logo

In the scary minutes and hours following Rich Peverley’s collapse, the Dallas Stars used Twitter the way it was intended: To be a trusted source during a breaking news event.

The NHL’s Dallas Stars didn’t have to do this.

A tweet or two would have sufficed. But realizing the value — and the power — of social media, the team used Twitter in one of the better ways I’ve seen a professional sports team do so in awhile.

Maybe you heard about it on Twitter, too?

The Stars forward, Rich Peverley, collapsed on the bench in the first period of Monday’s (March 10) game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Immediately, the team turned to Twitter to keep fans updated.

Even early on, the Stars were in the dark as to what exactly happened.

According to later reports, doctors treated Peverley for a cardiac event, using oxygen, chest compressions and a defibillator.

This was not your typical night at the rink for Peverley, his teammates — or the Stars’ social media team.

But the Stars used this emotional and downright scary situation to calmly keep fans in the loop. And they did so in a timely, professional — and accurate manner.

As the team — and fans in the arena — knelt in collective prayer, the decision to continue the game was still undecided. Eventually, the game was postponed, and that’s when the Stars could have easily ended their night on Twitter.

Instead, the team turned its Twitter account into a live news source for fans, the media — and the nation — interested in Peverley’s condition. In a time when Twitter gets panned for its inaccuracies during breaking news, the Stars shined and shared timely and trustworthy information.

This was not your typical night for the Stars — or anyone who followed along via social media. Word quickly spread, and a virtual prayer chain began moving through Twitter. And #PrayersForPeverley quickly brought people together.

https://twitter.com/HkyWives/status/443202994956296193

And the nation turned to the Stars, who continued to use Twitter to update fans and the media. Fortunately, news was encouraging about its star forward, and the team shared insight from Peverley’s doctor and Coach Lindy Ruff.

It was an opportunity to reassure fans Peverley was in good hands and show a real human side to the team — not only from Coach Ruff, but from Peverley himself.

No one could have had this kind of access — media, fans in the stands, even fellow players. And the Stars should be applauded for using Twitter so well, during such a difficult and emotional time.

It’s one of the best uses of Twitter during breaking sports news I’ve seen in awhile. Maybe ever.

Bravo, Dallas Stars. And get well soon, Rich Peverley. 

Thanks for being a fan.

NHL Goes Low-Tech, High Engagement on Facebook

Standard

I'm short on hockey jargon... so let's just say the NHL knows how to do Facebook.

The National Hockey League’s official Facebook page is pure simplicity, and I love it.

Fancy apps, tabs, polls and widgets. Who needs ’em?

I’m barely a casual hockey fan – especially professional hockey. But you don’t have to know blue lines from red lines to see what the NHL does on Facebook works. Posts average hundreds – if not thousands – of fan interactions (likes and comments). And 1.3 million-plus “likes” is a good effort for a pro league, comparable to the NFL (2.6 million “likes”) and miles ahead of the fancier MLB site (280,000 “likes”).

My favorite feature on the NHL page has to be polling. These aren’t tricked-out, Flash-based polls requiring a lot of heavy lifting by visitors. No apps to install. Nope. Just a thumbs up/down image with a question: Like or dislike ________ (insert topic).

The NHL's polling feature is so simple, it's brilliant.

The simplicity is awesome, lightweight and easy to use. And that’s the way it should be.

Big brands spend big bucks trying way too hard to make fancy polling apps that fail to get the desired results: people answering the damn question. Facebook users end up spending so much time and effort installing an app or navigating through a tab, they forget the question. The NHL polling option cuts through all that clutter AND gets results.

Other quick hitters on the NHL’s Facebook page:  

  • Heavy use of its extensive video library of highlights and interviews.
  • Allowing fans to post directly to the Wall (although fan feeds are separate from the main NHL feed).
  • Alternating profile picture to promote its product.

That last tactic is something not too many brands implement. Most corporate-run Facebook pages are stuck with a logo or other boring image that doesn’t do anything to advance their social efforts. The NHL uses the available profile picture space well, promoting the day’s games with a call to watch the action on TV.

If you haven’t already, you’ll start seeing other brand pages doing the same. There’s a lot of real estate available in that profile picture, so why not put it to use? I’ve just started doing the same with the brand I manage on Facebook, and the results have been positive.

There is one downside to 1.3 million fans and an open attitude about who gets to post what: You get bombarded with a lot of junk. Thankfully, the NHL does differentiate its posts from those of its fans. However, if I was administering this page, the biggest area of concern would be the inappropriate pictures uploaded to the NHL site.

While they’re not readily visible to the everyday fan, they are still there. I’d suggest a little house-cleaning for the NHL admin at some point, to get rid of that off-brand, user-generated content.

Even if you’re not a huge hockey fan – take a minute to check out what the NHL is doing differently on Facebook.

Thanks for being a fan.