As we all know, ESPN’s success is rapidly declining. Former viewers, readers, and subscribers are switching to different platforms that allow them to enjoy a greater variety of content for a much lower cost. One of the platforms that former ESPN fans are turning to is Twitter. Even though the social networking site is struggling as well as Facebook and Instagram gain popularity, one of its saving graces has been sports media coverage. Through Twitter, sports fans are able to access serious news and statistical analysis while also enjoying jokes, highlights, predictions, trash talk, and essentially anything else regarding the world of sports. In fact, Twitter has become so popular in the sports industry that a recent survey of sports media professionals found 67% turn to Twitter as their main source of news.
Many sports teams, or at least the clever ones, are taking advantage of this trend. Teams throughout the industry, regardless of the sport they are involved with, are making Twitter the heart of their fandom. Reaching fans who aren’t local can be a tough task, but Twitter makes it easy for teams to build a community with their fans from around the globe by giving them access to not only news about the teams, but also allowing them to interact the people behind the teams like staff and even the players. While almost every major sports team is using Twitter, a select few are doing an outstanding job at building their fan base through the platform. Here are 4 teams that are doing it best, in my opinion, for a varied reasons:
1. CLEMSON TIGERS
The popularity of Clemson Football’s Twitter page has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. Part of it is likely because of the recent success of the team, but it is also due to the unique perspective they offer fans and the pure skill of their social media team. Their goal for the platform is to give fans and potential recruits an inside look of what it’s like to be a Clemson Tiger by capturing special moments in the locker room and on the field during practices and games. Their success has been apparent through the national recognition that the social media team has received, like being named the #1 college football Twitter account to follow by Sports Illustrated. Some recruits have even mentioned that the team’s Twitter was part of the reason they decided to commit to Clemson.
2. CAROLINA PANTHERS
The Carolina Panthers have one of the fastest growing fan bases on Twitter for good reason. They have managed to find the perfect balance of humor and seriousness. Their profile features impressive, inspirational videos of their players spouting messages of strength and confidence. However, they also do things like slip in the lyrics to the entire Fresh Price of Bel-Air theme song using the first word of every tweet over a span of days. This combination allows the team’s account to engage fans of all types, and even attract new ones – the humor can attract less passionate fans or fans from other cities, while the serious, competitive tweets reassure more dedicated fans. Finding a good balance between two different images can be hard to do, but the Panther have not only done it, they have perfected it.
3. ORLANDO CITY SC
Orlando City has decided to use their Twitter for good, and fans around the country are responding to it positively. After the Pulse Nightclub shooting last year, Orlando City decided to show their support for their city by beginning the hashtag #OrlandoUnited, only posting in black and white, and doing no promotions for their game scheduled the following weekend. Other local sports clubs and people around Orlando caught on to the hashtag, and MLS teams, other soccer teams, and many influencers in the sports industry followed Orlando United in only posting in black and white. They used this attention and opportunity to fundraise for the One Orlando Fund. This campaign was immensely successful and memorable, and it also helped the team and their Twitter gain massive amounts of attention.
4. ATLANTA HAWKS
Last, but definitely not least, is the Atlanta Hawks’ Twitter. While their account first gained popularity because of the team’s amusing use of emojis to detail their season schedule and wins and loses, it has continued to succeed by being self-deprecating and flat out funny. The social media team follow trends and pop culture and uses this information in their tweets to keeps fans interested and engaged, and they clearly do not take themselves seriously . They most recently even played Connect 4 with fans using Twitter’s polling system. Atlanta sports teams have a notoriously flaky fan base, and many argue that the Hawk’s Twitter is helping the team’s uninterested fans involved by entertaining them.