SBD/September 25, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business With Sabres Social Media Manager Craig Kanalley



Kanalley left the Huffington Post to return to his native soil in Buffalo
Going from the Huffington Post to the Sabres may seem an unlikely career trajectory. But CRAIG KANALLEY did just that when he returned to his hometown in June to become the team's Social Media Manager, and he brought his 22,000 Twitter followers with him. He called leaving behind his Senior Editor title to work for his favorite team a "no-brainer," and now finds his days dominated by what happens on the ice, not the news on Capitol Hill. Kanalley recently spoke to THE DAILY about the Sabres' strategy with Twitter and Facebook, how the social media landscape is evolving, and shared ancient wisdom from a grade-school teacher.

Biggest change in my day-to-day...
A different pace. It’s obviously very busy times -- especially around the games -- and I’m used to those from media where it was breaking news, but it has a different flow to it. You know when the games are, and you can kind of plan a head a little bit, where in the breaking news business, you never know if something is going to happen. I’m able now to focus on one thing, which is hockey, whereas with my old job I was covering literally everything from every section -- tech, politics, sports. This job is classified in the marketing department, and a lot of the infrastructure was already in place when I joined. 

Most of my time at work is spent thinking about...
A lot of it goes back to the games and goes back to the hockey side, thinking about interesting things we can do or try that maybe teams haven’t done. I’m a big believer in experimenting and trying new things and seeing how people react to it, so I think about things we can do that haven’t been done before.

Which news to break on social media...
It’s something we always have to talk about and kind of think through. It’s a little bit tricky because there are a lot of pieces involved with contracts and a lot of people involved, but we want to be cutting-edge and doing things that other teams aren't doing and when we have the opportunity to break news through our social media channels, we’d like to do that.

Staying on top of an industry in flux...
The social media industry is constantly changing, and it has been for the last five years or more. The key is to constantly be up on the latest trends and the latest features and the latest tools as they’re always changing. It’s a very crowded, very competitive space right now in terms of analytics and monitoring platforms. I’m always pulling together metrics. I’m actually very analytics-focused through my background and previous employer, who were very analytics-focused. I’m constantly looking at numbers, and relaying them on.

Apps I'm using the most...
I turn to Twitter first thing in the morning. It’s the first thing I’ll check to see what happened overnight and what’s going on. Also, Facebook and Instagram. I use ESPN's ScoreCenter app to check scores. Most of my go-to apps involve sports.

Best advice I've ever received...
My third grade teacher once told me, “Always do a little extra. Never do the minimum of what’s required, always go beyond that.” 

How I relax...
Turning everything off and going into the outdoors, whether it be a park or going for a walk or a run. Things like that are important.
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