They say there's romance in sports. But as I'm already finding out with my Detroit Tigers (yes, the worst record in all of baseball), the game can be heartbreaking. And it certainly can be boring, even when you're at the ballpark with someone you're fond of.
Now imagine you're broadcasting a full 162 game regular season, those meaningless pre-season contests, and if you're lucky, playoff games and maybe even the World Series. But as they say, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. So, everyone has to do their best to pass the time, especially as games drone on for four hours with little drama on the field.
But there are always the stands where many fans put on a show within a show. Aside from the weirdly dressed and the kitschy signs, it has become fashionable to stage your marriage proposal in between innings on the big scoreboard. Even with just a few thousand fans at most games, those antics provide a cheery distraction.
Now that social media is in the mix, there's a whole new dynamic. Smart teams are “on it” – using a social media manager or admin to monitor the game, the tweets, the social “noise,” and perhaps to start a little action themselves.
It's amazing what simple acknowledgment can do to lighten up an otherwise boring game – and to build a baseball team's brand. That's what happened during an otherwise insignificant baseball contest between the Arizona Diamondbacks and their visitors, the Seattle Mariners.
Like many of these interactions, it starts out as innocently as this:
Hey @Dbacks my roommate is on a date 6 rows above home plate. Any chance we could tell the camera man to zoom out a bit so I can see how it’s going???
— BuckArmy (@BuckArmy) May 2, 2021
So now, it's that moment of truth – the inflection point as Lori Lewis calls it, when someone from the D-Backs steps up and responds OR like what happens most of the time, lets the moment fade into the giant Twitter stream.
Fortunately, the team's social media manager did more than acknowledge or provide a simple “like” response. He/she leaned into the moment. And that's where the magic can happen.
Before it was all over, the TV network (Bally's) got in on the act, as did the opposing team, the Seattle Mariners. These are the times when the intersection of content, timing, and social media come together to create something special.
But it starts with recognition and acknowledgment.
And just like that, your brand(s) has gone viral, you've created indelible memories, and you've built more social equity. And all because someone in the DBacks organization was on it – awake, engaged, and ready to respond.
Lori Lewis wrote about the ongoing acknowledgement gap last week in her “Merge” column that appears in All Access. After all, she came up with the simple agree/disagree question we've been asking in Techsurvey the past several years:
“I find myself listening more to radio stations that interact with me socially.”
As we've learned, roughly a third of core radio listeners respond positively to the idea of a radio station engaging with them in the social space. And as you can see, the demographics tell a deeper story. Women, progressively younger people, and fans of specific formats – the Urbans, CHR, and Hot AC among them – are even more likely to spend more time with a radio brand that is paying attention socially.
At a time when budgets are understandably tight and most communities are still very much feeling the powerful emotional aftershocks of COVID, simple gestures can go a long way. And be remembered – always.
As Lori commented when she saw this social baseball thread, “I love this so much. This is the essence of social – why does it happen so little? Think of all the people that brands have the opportunity to touch in a cool, fun, memorable way.”
Lori calls it the “A word” and it ought to be in every radio station's strategic vocabulary. It won't make a bad radio station sound good or a mediocre baseball club suddenly start winning.
But it can simply, inexpensively, and effectively add a few more bricks to your brand's social foundation. Do it often enough, and your fans will create more than playlists, prep sheet topics, and talk show debates.
Every radio station has the power to shine the spotlight on a listener by putting her in centerfield.
Register now for our free Techsurvey 2021 webinar: “Radio in the Year of COVID.” It's loaded with insights like these for everyone in radio, especially as we emerge from the pandemic. It's this Thursday, May 6 at 2pm ET. Registration is here.
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