We're coming to the end of a very eventful year in both social media and sports marketing. From emerging platforms to new technology to a multitude of memes, we've come a long way since our predictions for 2012. Let's take a look back at this past year in sports social media.
[typography font="Lobster" size="26"][dropcap]E[/dropcap][/typography] veryone loves a good scavenger hunt, especially when they don't have to leave their computers! To promote the 3D re-release of its 2003 animated hit Finding Nemo, Pixar is challenging fans to a digital scavenger hunt across multiple Facebook pages. While Facebook Timeline scavenger hunts are not a new concept in social media marketing, Finding Nemo 3D has taken it to a new level.
The hunt started on August 21st with an announcement on the Finding NemoFacebook page. Hosted on an Facebook application, fans are given a clue to find a character from the movie on one of the related Facebook pages. For example, to find Bruce, the fish-friendly shark, fans had to go to Disney Pixar's Timeline and find the date that Pixar was founded. To find the other characters, fans were driven to the Facebook Timelines of Dory, Crush, Squirt, and others.
Once fans find the character, they are redirected back to the app and rewarded with a video of one of the character's classic moments. Below you can see Crush's clip (one of my favorites).
Pixar is releasing characters in small groups of four each week until the film's release September 14. After finding all the characters for that period, fans are entered into a sweepstakes for sweet Finding Nemo swag, such as a Finding Nemo plush toy, Finding Nemo 3D glasses, and a poster signed by the director of the movie.
Overall, this is a great way to get fans excited for the upcoming re-release by sharing classic clips from the movie. It also creatively drives traffic to the film's multiple Facebook properties. And it's just super cute.
The Social Media Mashup is here with the top stories from last week including Google Drive's launch, the New York Rangers use star Instagraphers to document NHL Playoffs, fan growth after the switch to the Timeline, and StumbleUpon reaches a milestone.
Google Drive Finally Launches
After months and weeks of speculations, leaks and rumors, Google officially launched Google Drive, its cloud storage service. Google Drive is integrated with Google Docs allowing you to access files from anywhere and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations with others in real time. You can easily share files with colleagues, comment on 30 types of files and receive notifications when someone has commented on an item you have shared.
A couple features that make Google Drive stand out are smart tagging, image recognition and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Smart tagging allows you to tag items that you have saved on your drive to easily find them when you search later on. The image recognition feature will find photos through a search of places you've visited if you drag and drop photos from a recent vacation. OCR technology will recognize text in scan documents which will then allow you to search for key words.
Google is offering users 5GB of storage for free. If you need more space, you can upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or 1TB for $49.99/month. Check out the video below to learn more.
NY Rangers Use Star Instagraphers During NHL Playoffs
Last week the NHL's New York Rangers tapped Instagram's top users to help them document the pivotal game between the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden.Six of the platforms top photographers were brought in with a bit of twist. They were given prime time vantage points and corners that even members of the national media didn't get to shoot from.
The photographers were not paid or required to take branded shots. The only thing asked was to shoot the game as thoroughly and creatively as they could for the team's social networks. The photographers were hosted by Delta Air Lines, Madison Square Garden's corporate arm and sponsor. Mauricio Parise, Delta's U.S. manager of brand marketing communications said this is evidence of how social media has changed traditional sponsorship.
Just having the sponsorship is not enough — we need to make sure we bring it to life, and social channels are allowing us to do that in ways we haven’t been able to in the past.
Executive vice president of sales and marketing at Madison Square Garden, Howard Jacobs, says that Instagram is a natural fit for sports teams,
These photos tell great stories and Madison Square Garden and Rangers games are about a story and the excitement of being in the stands and being at the Garden.
To see some of the shots of the game from the well known Instagraphers search #NYRDelta on Instagram or take a look at the albums on the Rangers Facebook Page and blueshirtsunited.com.
Fan Growth Slowed Slightly After Brands Switched to Facebook Timeline
It's been about six weeks since brands started switching to the Timeline page format, and the fan reaction has been mixed. Facebook hasn't released any kind of analysis of brand pages after the switch the Timeline, but Wildfire Interactive has studied 67 brands that have adopted the new format. The report analyzed the pages's performance before and after the switch during a nine-week period.
Here are the results:
Likes are up an average of 22% per post
People Talking About This rose 25%
Comments are down 6.5% per post
Fan growth was "slowed slightly" for all brands on average, but brands with more than 1 million fans experienced twice the sluggishness of smaller brands.
Likes per post on brands with 1 million-plus fans jumped 10.9% while People Talking About This was up 11.9% and comments per post fell 7.4%.
Why the decrease in comments? Well, Wildfire CEO Victoria Ransom believes,
"It's much more difficult to see users' comments, both on a brand's wall and in the newsfeed.. [Also] comments from other fans don't show up in brands' posts on users' newsfeeds and because Timeline is now so visual with so much real estate taken up by pictures and videos, comments are quickly collapse. This encourages likes and shares more than comments."
Does this mean the Timeline has failed? It's too soon to tell.
StumbleUpon Hits 25 Million Users -- And Is Gaining 1 Million a Month
Last week, StumbleUpon passed the 25 million user mark, which means it has gained 1 million users a month since October, when it announced it reached 20 million users.
The discovery engine has existed since 2001, but has grown at a surprising rate since it became independent from eBay in 2009. It has nearly quadrupling its userbase in three years.
StumbleUpon's VP of Business Development and Marketing Marc Leibowitz had credited the launch of web-based service and mobile apps as contributing to the site's growth in the past few years. Previously it had only been available through a browser extension. Today, about 20% of the 1.2 billion Stumbles made per month are made on mobile phones.
Although it is not close to the mainstream networks (Twitter's 140 million accounts and Facebook's 901 million users), it may be on its way to mainstream recognition at its current growth. StumbleUpon is already responsible for being a major source of referral traffic to websites and has more than 75,000 advertisers. On average, its users spend about seven hours every month stumbling. "I think StumbleUpon is often the source of content that goes viral on otherso networks," Leibowitz says.
So, do you Stumble?
Other social media articles from last week that you may enjoy:
The most clicked stories from this week's #Sports e-newsletter include: 9 social networks for sports fans, MLB's opening day social media experience, the athletes who helped make instagram, NHL Stanley Cup social media makeover and 10 ways sports utilize Facebook Timeline cover photos.For these stories and more, read below and subscribe to #Sports.
Twitter may host the most sports chatter, but it’s not the only place online where sports fans can connect and conversate. Some sites are dedicated to supporters of specific teams, like I Am a Trailblazers Fan and Broncos Country, for example. Others are virtual gathering places for followers of a certain sport. The web is home to a robust and growing number of social networks for sports fans...
Yesterday, as the 2012 season officially began, Major League Baseball turned to various forms of social media to reach their fans, creating a social media blitz that could possibly set the precedent in the way that fans view and participate in their favorite sports from now on. With fourteen teams taking part in the 2012 Opening Day ceremonies yesterday, MLB turned to Twitter, Tumblr, and Pintrest to get fans involved in the festivities...
What do LeBron James’s Easter dinner, Kevin Durant’s ice bath and Carmelo Anthony’s new wristwatch have in common? They were all photographed and shared on Instagram, the mobile service bought by Facebook Monday for a cool $1 billion in cash and stock. On Instagram, as it turns out, the world’s most public athletes are just like us...
When the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs start Wednesday evening, the on-ice action will have more social complements than ever before. An official Facebook page for the iconic Stanley Cup trophy, an app that lets fans grow virtual “playoff beards” and a crowd-sourced photo project are all among the digital initiatives the league will roll out between now and the final championship series in two months...
Moving from the traditional look of the simple box icon to the more dynamic Facebook Timeline, which features a large cover photo, allowed business page operators and social media specialists to think outside the box and brand through visuals...
Other articles that you may enjoy:
We are working to make the #Sports e-newsletter and community among the best in class in the sports marketing industry. If you have any feedback or constructive criticism that will improve the #Sports experience, share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and of course, please subscribe below if you haven't already!
The Monday#SoMashis here with the following social media stories from last week, including killer Facebook brand pages, an answer to your question about whether you should use Pinterest for your business, UNC's social media movement, Google Analytics new social media marketing tool and MTV's new "Artists" platform.
4 Brands with Killer Facebook Pages
Since the rollout of the Facebook Timeline for pages two weeks ago, brands have been experimenting with the new format. Below is a sampling of brands that are using the Timeline in creative and innovative ways.
Fanta created a game using the Timeline's cover photo. New visitors see missing characters in the image and are sent on a scavenger hunt throughout the Timeline to find them. Each character requires a certain amount of Likes to be found and once found, more Likes are necessary to bring the character back to the present. Fanta displays the amount of Likes needed to bring back a character once it's been found, but so far, only one has made it back.
Verizon's 30 Tablets in 30 Days photo contest invites fans to submit their best city or landscape photos taken with their Verizon phone or tablet. Individuals are then entered to win a tablet and the winner's photo will be featured as the cover photo on Verizon's page. Verizon has found a creative way to build fan engagement and mix it with product promotion.
Timeline emphasizes the importance of storytelling. It gives brands the opportunity to highlight important moments and share experiences with fans. Some companies are using "Milestones" to mark the launch of a new product. Captain Morgan, however, has chronicled the fictional captain's life on the high seas. While it may not offer an real results in terms of sale, it helps humanize the brand.
Whie ABF U-Pack Moving may not have the most exciting Timeline, it does utilizes its features in a practical way. The cover photo is inviting and informative and takes advantage of the icons on the navigation bar. This makes it easier for customers to find important information.
Should Your Business Be On Pinterest?
With all of the buzz surrounding Pintrest, you may be wondering if the site is right for your business. Well lucky for you, a new infographic-style flowchart can help you answer this question. Only five options lead to exploring Pinterest, which shows that Pinterest isn't for every business. But is it right for yours? Find out below.
When UNC point guard Kendall Marshall was diagnosed with a broken wrist last Sunday, many people thought that was the end of UNC's quest for a national title. Despite the doubts, Marshall had a successful surgery. After his dad texted a message of hopes, one unnamed UNC student started a movement.
The PassFir5t movement encouraged fans to write the number 5 on your right wrist -- Marshall's jersey number and the wrist he injured. A Facebook page and Twitter account later and hundreds of fans started posting pictures of their tributes to their point guard. Kendall Marshall noticed and tweeted his message of thanks.
Thanks to everyone supporting the #PassFir5t Movement. You guys don't realize how much it means to me.
— Kendall Marshall (@KButter5) March 20, 2012
Three days into the movement, over 600 pictures were sent. As of last night, the Twitter account had over 2,900 followers and its Facebook page had over 3,100 Likes.
Google Analytics announced new features last week to help answer the age old social media question, "What's the ROI on social marketing?" Unlike most social analytics products, Google's new reports will not just stop at "listening" (counting retweets, mentions, reach, analyzing sentiment, etc.). Instead, the reports will help you understand how your social marketing contributes to your bottom line.
You start by inputting a goal such as purchases made, registered users or clicks on a page. Google will then compute how many of the visits to your site are coming from social networks (and which ones) and let you know how many of those visits converted with that goal. The new tool will also examine the impact that social networks have on the "upper funnel," or the cases where there is not a direct conversion, but may contribute indirectly. For instance, Google will keep track of someone who visits your site through a link on Twitter and then returns a week later to buy something.
From there, Google has the ability to assign a dollar value to both "last interaction" and "assisted" conversions helping you determine whether the social marketing campaign you are investing in is actually paying off. Look for the new Google Analytics features to roll out in the coming weeks.
MTV Launches New "Artists" Platform
MTV is launching Artists.MTV for both mainstream and indie artists to interact with their fans online. Much like MySpace, artists can upload music, videos, photos and sync their social media accounts to the new fan pages. Music's biggest stars will already have pages made for them that they can claim. Van Toffler, Viacom's Music Group president said,
There is infinite choice out there, but with this artist platform, we want to provide a meaningful road map for consumers to weed through the chaos, and discover the musical gems that should break through.
The fan pages will increase MTV's current database of 10,000 artist pages by adding emerging and lesser-known musicians. On May 1, the site will open up a private beta for artists expanding the website to over 1 million pages. Each month MTV plans on featuring one artist in different shows on MTV, VH1 and other spinoffs in a showcase called "Full Frontal."
Musicians will be able to promote themselves on their pages and open up new revenue streams with music downloads, merchandising, ticket sales and a tip jar.
Other social media articles from last week that you may enjoy:
Happy Presidents' Day! Monday’s#SoMash is back with the following stories for you: NBC Universal to measure Olympics second screen consumption, Facebook's Timeline for brands coming soon, Penguin uses Twitter for unique book club experience, and Roush Fenway Racing joins Google+.
We hope everyone had a great weekend! Monday’s#SoMash is back with the following stories: Phoenix Suns issue Android tablets to players, do "Likes" equal brand loyalty, the "App Economy" has created nearly half a million jobs since 2007, how Pinterest is quietly generating revenue by modifying user submitted pins, and an infographic showing that the Facebook Timeline is disliked by the masses.