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Los Angeles Teams Hit Social Media Jackpot During Playoffs

Social media has proven itself powerful in every possible industry, and the sports world is certainly no exception. Locally, teams that play at the Staples Center in Los Angeles – NBA teams the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, and NHL team the Los Angeles Kings – have all participated in various stages of their respective playoff series this year, a first for the Lakers, Clippers & Kings since making the Staples Center their collective home in 1999. Needless to say, all this post-season activity has opened up a variety of creative marketing opportunities for the teams, the leagues and even their ancillary businesses.

The NBA, for example, is capitalizing on social media opportunities for the 2012 playoffs by launching official Pinterest and Tumblr accounts, and encouraging fans from around the world to post photos of the baskets where they shoot hoops – both on these sites, and on Twitter. “In the playoffs, everything gets heightened on and off the court, including fan interest,” Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, the NBA’s vice president of marketing, recently told the popular website Mashable. “We want our social media feeds to follow suit.”

Tumblr and Pinterest Help Give NBA Teams a Solid SEO Boost

Tumblr in particular is an NBA favorite in terms of new social media platforms. “With Tumblr, we really admire the ease of photo sharing, and how photos are depicted on the platform,” she says. As for Pinterest, “We’ve been following Pinterest and what other brands are doing there for a while,” Brenner says. The NBA has identified two strategies for Pinterest: 1.) ecommerce, which will capitalize on fans’ obsession with all things vintage, including apparel, and 2.) photos of quirky characters, odd hairstyles, moments and events that make the NBA interesting to its fans. With thousands of fans descending on the Internet throughout the duration of the playoffs in search of fun images and products, the Lakers and Clippers are bound to experience a serious SEO boost during this time.

LA Kings Twitter: A Social Media Cinderella Story

As for a local NHL presence on social media, the Los Angeles Kings are also taking advantage of smart Internet marketing. The team has amassed a large Twitter following that has sung the praises of its social media prowess. The pair that runs the @LAKings Twitter feed, Dewayne Hankins and Pat Donahue, devised a social media strategy for the playoffs that included tweeting sarcastic, deliberately provocative messages mixed with the standard ticket sale information, in addition to minute-by-minute live during games. Examples of popular LA Kings tweets include:

  • It will indeed be us and NOT the 1993 #LAKings playing on Sunday at Noon as this graphic would suggest: (a reference to the outdated logo used)
  • To everyone in Canada outside of BC, you’re welcome (a dig at the Vancouver Canucks)
    #LAKings have outscored their opponents 37-17 in the #StanleyCup Playoffs (13-5 in the 1st, 13-4 in the 3rd). So there’s that.
  • Kings are just holding onto the puck in the offensive zone. 1:15 remaining (live tweet during game)

Since deploying this strategy, LA Kings Twitter followers jumped from 70,000 to 110,000.

Social Media=More Fun=More Fans

The 2012 playoffs are an exciting time for fans, with or without social media. But when teams give it their all on social media accounts, they can harness in enthusiastic fans tighter than ever; that devotion can extend into the off season and perhaps even sustain itself year-round. Additionally, teams that go to the playoffs often bring in new fans during that time; social media participation can only help that cause. The Internet makes fan culture more fun for everyone, and sports franchises who understand this can reap serious fan base benefits.

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