There is no doubting the impact social media has in our lives today. It dictates topical discussion, can elevate brands and can share news stories the instant they break. Social Media hubs like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pintrest, Instagram, Reddit and Digg have grown tremendously over the past decade. During that growth they have legitimately challenged search engines as the preferred search query outlet people use.
Twitter has experienced a growth spurt in it’s social media impact. In 2012, revenue, driven largely by advertising, almost tripled to $316.9 million. In the first half of 2013, it posted revenue of $253.6 million but also had a loss of $69.3 million. According to ComScore, Twitter had roughly 36 million unique visitors in August 2013 and SEC.gov reports Twitter has 200,000,000+ monthly active users and 500,000,000+ tweets daily.
Twitter revealed in it’s synopsis of 2012 that sports was one of the most popular discussion topics users engaged in on the social media site. The Social Media Revolution is here and with brands like Facebook & Twitter going public, they legitimized themselves as a long-term fixture in our every day lives both personally and professionally. Over 90% of marketers rely on social media.
But one industry that has embraced and intertwined social media into the fabric of their culture has been sports media. Sports talk almost regularly dominates trending discussions multiple times every single day. This makes social media platforms like Twitter critical to anyone currently involved in or aspiring to make a career in sports media. The question is no longer; Do You Use Social Media? The question is now; How Well Do You Use Social Media?
Since launching SportsRants in 2011 i have utilized social media to build an image for my brand and myself. Without a degree in broadcasting, sports media or journalism I have been able to garner recognition for my work and my brand. I have created viability, respect and have positioned my brand to place us in a place of authority and value. This didn’t happen by “luck”, in fact I had an advantage before i even purchased my domain. It’s because I have been an SEO for close to 10 years. I have worked alongside some of the top SEO’s, directed campaigns for Fortune 500 and 100 companies and I have been able to improve my craft every year. The ability to support the growth of SportsRants with my own SEO company Elite Rank Media has expedited my growth.
An acumen in Search Engine Optimization in Social Media has been the main catalyst of my growth. It’s the reason why i have been viable in online radio and on Twitter.
Sure, I believe I have talent in talking about sports but it’s my Social Media & SEO knowledge that gets my brand and work out there. It’s executing a sound strategy, similar to what i do for my clients and have done for the aforementioned Fortune companies, that accelerates whatever I or my contributors do on SportsRants.
The truth is nowadays, more sports media brands are relying on social media platforms like Twitter to recruit new talent. It can be said that your activity on Social Media can be a living, constantly-evolving and fluid resume. ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Fox, CBS, NBC and other major media outlets do more talent fishing on social media than you think. Even major blog-structured outlets like Bleacher Report, SB Nation, Deadspin and even our own SportsRants do a majority of their recruitment using Twitter and other social media outlets.
Chances are if you’re reading this you are currently working in or aspiring to work in Sports Media. Whether it be in blogging, broadcasting, television or journalism you’re here because you understand the viability of social media particularly in your industry.
So if you don’t have the experience in SEO or are an “expert” in social media where do you go? How do you know if you are utilizing social media the right way to get your brand and/or work out there?
There are so many outlets that discuss SEO, but where do you find valuable information directly related to the Sports Media Industry?
I’ve had the honor of collecting some talent to offer insight in conjunction with mine on this very topic: Sports Media + Social Media
We will be discussing the Why Social Media is Key to Your Current & Future Success, Tips on Using Social Media the Right Way & How to Conduct Yourself Properly on Social Media Websites.
We will have input from both the SEO side of things and the sports media side. We also have perspective from major markets including the West Coast, East Coast, Down South, North and Midwest.
Contributing to this discussion:
- Emmy award winning sports reporter Jen Royle from the Boston Herald
- The first woman to host prime-time sport talk radio in California and host of “Buehler’s Day Off” on Team 1010 KXPS, Julie Buehler
- Sports talk show host on 680 The Fan in Atlanta & CBS Sports Radio Network, John Kincade
- Radio Host on SportsRants Radio and Cherry Creek Radio in Montrose, Colorado, Katy Mitchel
- Anthony DiMoro (me) Creator of SportsRants, Online Radio host and Blogger for SportsRants, SEO & Internet Marketing Expert at Elite Rank Media
- Shawn Rosko, the Digital Marketing Director for Overit, a full service marketing firm in Albany, New York
- Andrea Ocampo-Haley – Arena Host for Florida Panthers, TV host for Fox Sports & CBS4, former Miami Dolphins cheerleader
Why Social Media is Key to Your Current & Future Success
As I alluded to before and multiple times in the past, social media can make or break your career in media. Regardless if you are blogging, podcasting, hosting a radio show or covering a sport or team it’s crucial to not only grasp social media but also diligently work at building your presence the right way.
If you haven’t embraced Twitter, Facebook or Google+ you’re already behind the times and certainly steps behind your competition.
Anthony DiMoro – Seeing Twitter and Facebook go public solidifies their viability. In fact, i think Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for example are so deeply entrenched and interwoven in our society that it would be nearly impossible for it to go away anytime soon.
But understanding the impact social media can have and really immersing yourself and your brand in it is vital. I have always stressed consistency and engagement. Your social media presence is an extension of your brand and of you, so dumping it off to any sort of automation or abandoning it for chunks of time can and will hurt your initiative.
In the sports media industry you can build a powerful audience and connect with power players in your industry across the country and the world. Remember, that the first thing companies and potential employers do when researching a brand or applicant is checking up on them in search engines and social media.
If you need help motivating yourself to participate in social media always keep in mind: Your competition is already doing it —
Shawn Rosko – I think it is a good thing to see Twitter & Facebook go public because it is forcing people and brands to realize that social media is important and is not going away anytime soon. A few years back many people didn’t embrace social because they thought it was a trend that wouldn’t last, but now it is easy to see that is completely wrong as social media keeps growing and is now publicly traded.
I do not think it has hit a growth curve, people have been saying that it has for years but we keep seeing new trends popping up. Most recently we have seen photo/video rise up with platforms like vine, Pinterest, and Instagram. I think the future we will see some of the current popular platforms die off and new ones take their place. I think real time group video chats will start to become mainstream soon, that is a trend that we already see rising.
I think we will see Google+ become more popular as well, especially for brands since more people are realizing that the platform has a direct impact on authority and rankings. All of the other platforms combined help with them 2 things since Google watches social signals, but none have the direct impact that G+ has. ( http://moz.com/blog/google-
Another trend I see getting extremely popular is user generated news outlets, it is already gaining popularity but before too long it is going to take over mainstream news outlets
The worst practice I currently see is brands using their social media channels as a billboard, they are just talking at their customers and not to them. If you look at the most successful brands they are using their channels to engage with their customers which is how it should be —
Andrea Ocampo-Haley – I can attribute a lot of my success to social media. I feel that social media has been essential to my success and has allowed me to grow my fan base in ways that I would of never imagined. I use social media before, during and after my projects. It keeps me very busy. —
Conducting Yourself Properly: Negativity on Social Media
Everyone faces it on social media, almost every day. Negativity.
It’s easy for anyone to insult, bully or harass someone on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media outlet. But the key isn’t learning how to avoid social media negativity, but possessing the skills to deal with it properly. In some platforms there are little to no consequences for negative behavior on social media, therefore it is key to understand how to properly deal with these actions or comments.
As a media brand or personality it’s important to understand the consequences of your actions and reactions on Twitter. More often than not, regardless of the action or comment towards a particular individual, media and athletes are spotlighted for their reaction. Consider the fallout that Amy’s Baking Company had when reacting harshly to negative criticism regarding their brand. How about this gem? Think that hurt their business?
While this may seem unfair in some instances consider the fact that you are operating in this industry and it’s key to your current or future success to get it right.
Julie Buehler – I call Twitter “a landfill of language.” Most of it’s garbage and you have to wade through a lot of crap before finding some gems. But, I also understand that most people, fans and those who are just living out their daily lives are entirely engrossed in their own perspective.
Being in journalism, we’re trained to look at other perspectives, research fact and discover information to illuminate how different perspectives affect a certain situation. Fans are NOT trained to do that. They have their mindset and that’s it. So you just have to understand that.
The negativity I see makes me sad for the person sending it, but it’s doesn’t impact me at all, even the personal attacks and especially the gender attacks. If someone is lashing out 140 characters at time, that’s an indication to me their world is very small. I sincerely hope they continue to follow me, that per adventure, they come to realize the world is much larger than their concept. —
Jen Royle – Well first, you have to consider the sources. Anyone who makes a sports debate personal has clearly taken things way too seriously and is not in the right frame of mind. Second, I don’t have anyone in my life that treats me poorly or insults me so I just remind myself, “these people have no affect on my life,” and I do my best to erase it from my mind.
People who tweet me and call me ugly or stupid and tell me to kill myself, or even threaten to kill my dog undeniably have anger and/or mental issues. I don’t give it a second thought.
I can’t always say I’ve felt this way: it took me a good couple of years to #1 accept that there are people like this out there and #2 learn how to deal with it. Its not something you can get used to over night. I feel sorry for such hateful people.
Some negatively toned people/tweeters are still sports fans. I debate to a certain extent and I have to say, I have changed a lot of people’s opinions. Some say, “you know what, Jen, I hated you five minutes ago. Now I like you.” Or “Hey Jen, I didn’t look at it that way, good point.” If it gets out of line, I block them. If they use insults, I block them.
I usually RT (retweet) insults to expose ignorance… sometimes kill them with sarcasm. I zing them with “my dog has more follower than you,” “don’t quit your day job to try to be a sports reporter,” etc. If somebody calls me ugly I’ll say, “I’m a solid 6 when I wash my hair on Tuesdays.” Stuff like that. It’s entertaining for my followers and shows I don’t take it very seriously. —
John Kincade – I try to engage these tweeps unless the language is foul. I promise that sometimes just engaging in the debate will earn respect and maybe a listener for the future! In my job, a lot of hosts are very thin skinned. That always amuses me. Considering that we take shots for a living! —
Anthony DiMoro – It’s easier to be negative on social media than to be positive. Sports is a hot-button issue which can bring together differing opinions from all walks of life. Someone telling me “you don’t know sports” always gets me to laugh but you have to learn to have a sense of humor and not take yourself too seriously on Twitter.
I do enjoy debating with people and weighing my position against an opposing point of view. But if you’re getting upset because you think Peyton Manning will throw for 7 touchdowns again while someone else thinks he won’t ever do that again, you’re losing focus.
The best debates are those that are intelligent, respectful and most of all, supported by stats. After all, most if not every aspect of media has an angle or a tone of opinion, so framing your opinion with supportive stats and facts goes a long way in any debate.
I think the most important thing is to set guidelines for yourself. Only engage in debates that have interesting and intelligent points of view. Remember that responding negatively to someone’s negative tweets makes you look bad but it also promotes their Twitter page on your timeline. Don’t validate it.
Most importantly, remember that you have the most powerful weapon in any Twitter battle: the Block button —
Katy Mitchel – Typically, I try and stay away from negative feeds. When I’m on Twitter or Facebook I try and look for the factual posts that give me information vs. the person’s opinion. Especially in a sports forum, opinions typically start debates and there’s always that one person that takes it too far.
It’s not a very pro-active approach, but sometimes you really just need to ignore the negativity. —
Andrea Ocampo-Haley – We live in a society where behaving badly is celebrated. People expect instant gratification and social media allows you to do just that. Always think before you tweet. —
Rules to Live by in Social Media
It’s always better to have rules set in place as a road map for your activity on social media. It can be a bit unique in regards to the sports media industry but can be a fruitful endeavor. Building a name for yourself in sports talk is all about holding yourself to a high standard when engaging on Twitter.
But these rules shouldn’t be solely a code of ethics on social media but also a guide on how to find success in sports media. Brands like Twitter and Facebook are golden keys to exposure and your growth, but just like business, you are only as good as how you are structured. So structure yourself with a good foundation of social media practices (rules) and be consistent in following them.
Jen Royle – Think before you hit send. People take photos of your tweets so even if you delete what you’ve written, it’s still out there. There are consequences. If you are emotional about an issue, step away from the computer/phone and try to gather your thoughts and think about the consequences/results before you hit send. There are more people than you think watching you and judging you. And some of them matter.
For me, I talk about my family, my day, my dog, my nephew, etc. I think as a radio personality, especially a female, it’s important to let people know who you are as a person. They’re going to judge you regardless so you may as well tell them the truth. I’m not afraid of who I am so I don’t hold anything back. What you see is what you get with my twitter account. You either love me or hate me, no gray area. But there’s nothing fake about it. —
John Kincade – Be interactive during events that your target audience will be tuning into you to hear about later! It can create buzz. Don’t retweet a bunch of compliments you receive. I tend to retweet responses ripping on me for an opinion. Don’t take yourself too seriously either! You better step up and face the music when you are wrong. That is very powerful.
I’m selfish! First of all, I love interacting and it helps build my brand. We have a slogan that airs in show rejoins on the network that “the show never stops on a Twitter” One quality interaction can create a listener for life! —
Julie Buehler –#1 Know that what you say matters. Sometimes, it feels like spitting in the ocean, but your words on twitter DO matter and it’s important to think before tweeting.
#3 Humor will always win. —
Anthony DiMoro – Never leave anything 100% to automation. Automation can sometimes equal laziness and laziness isn’t going to help you or your brand grow. I spent a lot of time constructing my audience and i value their insight into my work and their time, you should do the same. Therefore auto-dming them, hawking your content annoyingly to them or taking a “holier than thou” approach can backfire.
Removing your ego from tweets can go a long way. We can all be wrong from time to time so admitting you’re wrong when necessary can go a long way.
Keep in mind that people have unique opinions, so tread carefully when debating them. Stick to your guns but only if you are using the ammunition of intelligence, statistics, facts and a respectful tone. Don’t give people the ammunition to cast you in a negative light. So be mindful of when you tweet and how you interact with others.
Being real relates to people. Be human. Show emotion and show a side of you that is easy to relate to. Show there is more to you than your brand.
In regards to discussing a breaking story i try and adhere to this: Instead of Obsessing over being First, Obsess on being Right
Don’t obsess with numbers. As i have said in my posts at Elite Rank Media and here, its more beneficial to have 800 followers who are directly interested and engaged in your industry than 80,000 who mostly aren’t. —
Andrea Ocampo-Haley – Be authentic! Social media is time consuming but try to engage with everyone who reaches out to you. Hashtags are a must, especially if you want people to find you and building relationships with people in your industry is important.
I would say consistency has been the key. Even when things have been slow I always try to engage with fans, have brainstorming sessions with producers and productions staff, and always try to be five steps ahead working on my next project. —
Shawn Rosko – The 80/20 rule – when updating your brands social media channels make 80% of your updates non promotional with industry related news, jokes, and other content that will engage. The other 20% can be self promotional updates.
Hashtags – Most people should understand how important hashtags are at this point but seeing how many brands and people do not use them is surprising. They are the best way to have your updates seen by the right people, and not taking advantage of them is setting yourself up for failure. A great tool to find the most popular hashtags for any niche is hashtags.org. —
Understanding Your Market & That Every Market is Different
From the West to East Coast and from the North to the South and the Midwest, each market is different. Especially when it comes to sports talk & social media.
Even national or international brands need to understand how to engage and connect with each market. Some may not be as proactive as others, but the less proactive markets indicate opportunity and the more proactive markets can plop you in a crowd of influential people within your industry who can and will take notice.
Julie Buehler – Sometimes I feel like it’s a disadvantage because if I wake up at 7 am, it’s 10 am on the east coast and the world is already heavily engrossed in conversation… so for me to be a part of the mainstream, I feel like I should to be waking the roosters up on the west coast and rolling by 5 am. Not my style.
I do think there’s a more open look at sports, perhaps not so deeply entrenched in “old school” thinking and therefore, more likely to accept some “outside” voices, like a little blond gal with biceps hosting her own show. Not sure that’s going to happen in an emerging market in Alabama. —
Katy Mitchel – The markets I have been in (aside from Denver which is considered a major market) have not utilized social media to it’s full potential. I think there’s a few factors as to why, including lack of knowledge. If you are proficient at a certain skill than everyone relies on you rather than learn the product. In small markets we wear many different hats so it would really be just adding more to what we already do. It’s unfortunate because I feel the way social media SHOULD be used could compliment what I do greatly. —
John Kincade – I think a lot of the sports media just uses Twitter in a “reactionary” fashion. I do too, but I like to be proactive. I throw out my thoughts and rants daily and get things rolling before I ever sit behind a mic. I learn a lot from my tweeps too! —
Andrea Ocampo-Haley – I think South Florida’s multicultural society gives me the opportunity to interact with my fans in Spanish. I always have to be on top of my news in both English and in Spanish.It’s a wonderful opportunity to stay closely connected to my culture and living in South Florida allows me to do just that. —
Anthony DiMoro – Starting SportsRants in Albany, NY was tough. Honestly i found the level of sports media interest was underwhelming. While Albany isn’t necessarily a small demo, it lacks the passionate fan base that is hungry for sports media insight.
Most of any opportunities that could have been afforded to me weren’t simply because i was an “internet guy” who didn’t go the traditional road of a broadcast journalism degree nor did i cut my teeth working for a community station or paper. I never had an aspiration to do that. Mainly because I understand where my strengths lie. Anything I ever accomplished in the Capital Region was facilitated by my strengths and talents. I knew if I had a shot or opportunity I could produce something quality.
I never steered away from my opinion, never suppressed my competitive nature or talent. I never let anyone tell me “you can’t“. In Albany, New York it’s a small media circle so if you’re not in the clique then you’re not relevant in their eyes. Typically these were folks in the “old guard” who refused to buy into the internet and social media wave I thrive in. Some media outlets were great to me and I did make good connections, but I feel there is a resistance to go outside the norm that exists there that doesn’t allow progression.
In South Florida it’s a little different only because there is a more “tech-savvy” feel here. A more youthful media community that understands social media. It also helps having pro sports teams here as I feel that was a major factor in the sports media culture of Albany, NY.
Staying your course while always evolving is key. Being confident in your ability and who you are as well. —
Sharing Your Content on Twitter – How Often Does Tweeting People Your Content Work?
We all get the tweets from time to time where someone asks you to read or retweet an article from their blog or website.
But how often does it work? Are you doing it the right way? Who actually takes your recommendation?
Shawn Rosko – They don’t annoy me when they are done in moderation, and many times I will check them out if I have time. If I see something interesting but don’t have time I will save to pocket (http://getpocket.com) to check out later. If I see someone just promoting something over and over with no other engaging updates I get annoyed and won’t check out their content and usually I will delete them. This is exactly where the 80/20 role mentioned above should be used. —
Julie Buehler – I have found about a 5-10% return rate on these type of tweets when I send them out. When others do it, they don’t annoy me, I usually click links of people I enjoy following and I think the best way to catch attention is with pictures and sending out a great headline with a link. These are things I’m still working on improving. —
Katy Mitchel – I try to listen to my friends shows, but once again time comes into play. If I can have it on in the background while I work that’s one thing. But I do have to say the majority of people I surround myself with are wonderful writers and I enjoy reading blogs and articles regarding sports. I think they are much more time-friendly and can be read in multiple sittings. The only tweets/invites that annoy me are the ones that are trying to sell something. If it’s to listen to your show or read your blog, I understand it’s all about branding. If I don’t want to read/listen I won’t. —
Anthony DiMoro – I try not to annoy people my mentioning them when tweeting an article or radio show. I always try and remember what i think when it’s done to me. I usually tune it out immediately, especially if i look at that person’s timeline and see that is all they are doing.
If you DM me, good luck getting a response. I think we are all trained to think almost every unsolicited DM is spam and more often than not, it is.
I really value organic interaction. If people like your work, they will naturally click on your links to access it. Bludgeoning anyone isn’t a good marketing tactic.
I also think the most powerful and under-utilized tool is the hashtag. Use relative hashtags and you could organically attract readers and new followers alike. —
What’s Next For Sports Talk in Social Media?
So what IS the next evolution of Sports Talk in Social Media? What would make it better?
Julie Buehler – From fans: a common understanding that sports is not life. Sports teaches us a lot about life, but there’s so much more. So they shouldn’t take it so seriously.
From media: to be more proactive in directing a conversation. Media is supposed to be trained, as I said before to procure information and disseminate it in hopes of advancing the conversation. If all the media does is REACT to the fans opinions and conversation points, we’ll get no where. Trained, intelligent media members should offer fans information, and help educate them in the reality of sports, not just hope for better ratings by feeding a fire of bad logic and frivolous ideas that come from despondent and overly dramatic fans —
Shawn Rosko – This is another area where I think group video can be huge, it can allow people from all over the country to get more involved in sports conversation. User engagement is key and video is the best way to get great user engagement. Engaging the general public on social media platforms is important in many ways, and hearing their thoughts about sports can take sports talk to another level. —
Katy Mitchel – If someone could create a site where only serious journalists could meet and discuss that would be fantastic. There’s no accountability in the media anymore because anyone can write a blog, but there’s no fact-check police to monitor it. It’s sad, too. When our society values first comment more than relevancy. Hopefully something is done about that soon.
Social Media is here to stay and so is sports talk. The evolution of both are now intertwined and more fluid than ever. —
As you can see, there are many ways that social media can be used, particularly on Twitter. Harnessing your talents and displaying them on Twitter is a calculated practice that can elevate your career in Sports Media. From SEO’s to Bloggers to Website owners and Sports Media, it’s critical to not only understand how to use these outlets well, but to use them in a way that casts the right light on your work.
Although this Roundtable discussion is complete we plan on having more in the future. But that’s not all the advice and tips we have for you regarding Social Media, Sports Media & SEO:
If you need SEO Services for your brand or business, make sure to visit Elite Rank Media