I’ve had a passion for social media and sports for as long as I can remember. So when I heard the Kansas City Royals were having a Social Media Night on August 1, I knew I had to be there.
Professional sports teams have been using social media to really engage with their fans the last few years, and though several teams have held Social Media Nights before, this was a first time event for the Royals.
It was a lot of fun to see social media integrated into the classic ballpark experience. Since the Royals dedicated an entire night to it, I wanted to highlight the best parts of the night and suggest ideas to make next year’s Social Media Night even more social and even more of an experience.
The Royals sold a Social Media Night ticket package for $35 that included:
- A pre-game social hour on the Budweiser Party Deck
- A Q&A session with Royals pitcher Danny Duffy via Twitter
- A ticket in the Outfield Box seating section
- A @Royals t-shirt
- $10 voucher for concession or merchandise purchases
The package was a pretty great deal, and attendance at the game offered chances to win contests and compete for prizes through the @Royals Twitter account.
One of the neatest features of the night was the chance to get a tweet that included the #SocialMediaNight hashtag featured on the scoreboards throughout the stadium. I felt pretty cool when I saw my name, my Twitter handle (@andrewgrojean), and my tweet beside Billy Butler’s name in Kauffman Stadium.
There were a lot of contests run through Twitter as well, including a seat upgrade contest, trivia contests, entries into an ice cream eating contest and chances to win signed gear. Here’s an example of one of the giveaways.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) August 2, 2012
I missed out on some of the contests because I was watching the game, but there were enough that I didn’t feel like I missed out on too many while I was enjoying it. I found that in between innings and during pitching changes were the best times to refresh the feeds, enter the contests, and tweet super clever Royals commentary.
How Social Was Social Media Night?
The Royals have active Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+ accounts, but only Twitter was used for the night’s contests and giveaways. The team should have called it Royals Twitter Night, but it’s not as appealing or marketable as Social Media Night. Twitter was used well, but there was a lot more the team could have done to engage with fans at the game with other social networks.
How Else Can Social Media Be Used?
- Let fans submit photos for the Jumbotron. People like to see massive versions of themselves on big screens. That’s a scientific fact. If the team monitored for pictures on Instagram or Twitter with the #SocialMediaNight tag, they could display the best ones on the big screen in between innings. The pictures could be anything from fans’ views from their seats to fans in their jerseys to creative poses with Royals bobbleheads.
- Organize a scavenger hunt using multiple social networks. If the team already has people monitoring and posting to other social platforms, why not use them on the big night? Organize a scavenger hunt with clues from a board on Pinterest, an album from Google+, or from milestones from a Facebook Timeline. People interested in social media will be familiar with the platforms and will enjoy the challenge.
- Check in for prizes. I’ve never been a huge fan of checking in on Foursquare or other location-based services because I haven’t found a platform yet that’s offered enough incentive for me to do so. The only reason I use Foursquare now is to maintain the title of Mayor of my office in case my boss ever lets me put the title on my business card. It makes sense for the Royals to want their fans to check in, because it increases their brand awareness and reach to their fans’ friends. Offering a free t-shirt or $5 concession voucher to the first 50 people to check in to the Royals’ app of choice would do the trick.
- Be social for the entire season. Don’t only utilize social media on Social Media Night. I know the team briefly flashes a tweet or two on the scoreboard for normal games, but that seems like the only time it is involved. If by chance the Royals marketing team is reading this now, think about keeping the rotating tweets feature and occasional in-game Twitter contests. Those of us passionate about social media at the game really enjoyed both.
I’m glad the Royals decided to organize Social Media Night because it was a lot of fun. I’ll be looking to see some of these suggestions become a reality soon, and you can bet that I’ll be tweeting from the seats again during next year’s event.