SBD/January 15, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business With LPGA Senior Dir Of Social Media Marketing Tina Barnes-Budd

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Barnes-Budd (r) enjoys the music of her songwriter cousin, Dave Barnes (l)
LPGA Senior Dir of Social Media Marketing TINA BARNES-BUDD is in her second stint with the organization, and this time around, the long-time sports marketer finds herself crossing over to the communications side of the business. After spending only about 10% of her time on social media efforts in years past, the rapid rise of Twitter, Facebook and other platforms led to a point where it was dominating her daily agenda, leading the LPGA to shift the league's social media duties from its marketing department to its communications branch. Barnes-Budd spent 10 years away from the LPGA, working with Roush Fenway Racing among others, but returned in '04 because she likes the challenge of working with a smaller budget than some of the other major sports enjoy. She says, "You learn to be creative and fight for everything, and when you do get those victories, it's all the more sweeter." Barnes-Budd spoke to THE DAILY this week about how the LPGA teaches players to interact with their fans, how to get noticed with a new employer, and why she might just be getting an invitation to this year's Grammy awards.

Growing all the time...
I work closely with everyone at the LPGA Tour, and Commissioner MIKE WHAN is a perfect example. We got him on Twitter almost a year ago, and he has embraced it 100 percent. He looks at it kind of like a focus group for the fans. They constantly tweet him and he's very quick in his response. The young players keep us in the loop on the latest trends too, so we just kind of take their lead on a lot of things. They're great at showcasing their lives on and off the course, like on Instagram for instance.

Strategy and development...
We recently hired an agency -- Digital Royalty with AMY JO MARTIN out of Las Vegas -- and part of the deal is that they are our social media strategists. They will be working with the players to help with their personal brand and help them understand the importance of social media and supporting the tour in that aspect. We started at the end of last year with a group we called the Social Six, who go through a training with Digital Royalty. That group included MICHELLE WIE, BEATRIZ RECARI, KARRIE WEBB and LIZETTE SALAS.

Bird's eye view...
We give the players a lot of autonomy. We do look at their feed constantly and monitor it, but they completely understand the importance of social media and that they are representing the LPGA when they are tweeting or posting to Instagram. We do suggest tweets to them weekly to help us promote our events and sponsors. We have about 90 percent of our players each week in the field that tweet, and the addition of the Twitter handles on the caddie bags helps connect the fan to the player.

Best advice...
If you really want to work somewhere, just get your foot in the door, keep your mouth shut and be a sponge. Just learn as much as you can, and then just put your head down and work hard and people will notice. CINDY SISSON was my first boss and she was a perfect example of someone who does that. She basically said do your job, do it well and then you will get noticed.

Morning media staple...
The first website I visit is Mashable, because it has all the latest trends in social.

Favorite app...
The new Flipgram is a good tool that you can use for a quick 15- to 30-second video, recapping an event while adding some music and making a slideshow.

Best bites in Daytona Beach...
Down the street is VINCE CARTER’s restaurant. Then the club at LPGA International, Malcolm's Bar & Grill is a good lunch spot as well.

Latest music download...
It's actually from my cousin, DAVE BARNES, his new single “GOOD.” He has a new album coming out next week. He's a singer/songwriter out of Nashville, and was Grammy-nominated last year for the song “GOD GAVE ME YOU” that BLAKE SHELTON recorded.

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