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Volume 24 No. 117
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'13 Social Media & Sports Series: Social Trends Impacting Consumer Engagement

The evolution of data on social media usage and how brands can use it to better connect with consumers was a major topic during the final panel of the '13 CSE Social Media & Sports Series. During a session titled “Social Trends Impacting Consumer Engagement,” MediaLink Senior VP Eric Fernandez said the challenge is, “How do you take first-party data that you have on your customer and start to match that up with what’s happening on a third-party basis, and using a social conversation?” He added, “You can take all the social conversations out there and you can ingest that data, and if you've got the right platform and right technology that can overlay that, you can start to pull out the right nuggets that are going to help you as a brand on the planning side.” Turner Sports VP/Marketing Jeff Mirman said the company is constantly monitoring the behavior of its consumers on social media, because by “understanding what they like, or don’t like, for that matter, we can make better content.” CSE Senior VP/Strategy John Mitchell echoed that sentiment, saying, “As marketers our job is to make good content and cut down on the noise. ... If you’re putting it out there, make sure it’s something people are wanting.” The panel saw social media as a way to create something of a loyalty program, because fans are able to choose who they follow and engage with. Along the same lines, they felt it was important that those fans be rewarded with unique content. Mirman said, “You have to give content and great access and things that you might not get if you weren't a fan. It’s a unique opportunity to connect.”

EXPANDING REACH AND CONVERSATION: The panelists agreed that it was important not to spend too much time focused on one specific social platform, but to have a hand in all the different mediums to expand reach and further conversations. Mitchell said, “You want to be on all these different platforms because you have different consumers consuming the different stories across all those. ... What’s important when you have a big event is to make sure you are everywhere socially. You have to start the conversation on all these different platforms.” Mirman added, “We try to look at what is right for the moment and what’s right for the fan or brand. So we try to spread as much of this stuff as we can to try to get a better net and get as many different impressions as we can.”

Mitchell emphasized the importance of presence
on multiple social platforms for big events
WHICH SPORTS PROPERTY IS ON THE RISE? Mitchell said, "There’s a lot of fascination around boxing and Ultimate Fighting and things like that, even WWE to a standpoint, and how people really get passionate about that. As long as there are people out there talking about it, brands have to be aware of it." Fernandez added, "The UFC. From the perspective of a digital standpoint, they don’t view themselves as a sporting entity, they view themselves as a content company. As such, they’re very progressive in how they go about distributing that content. They’re really creative and I think they had a chip on their shoulder right from the get-go." Mirman: "I always appreciate Red Bull and the way they view content and use it in the social space. I think they’re always pushing the envelope and they’re doing new things all the time. Everything they do has such a huge effect on the press and the media space.

KEEPING AN EYE ON IN THE NEXT YEAR? Mirman: "It’s all about understanding data. It’s the Wild West right now." Mitchell: "It’s also the context, and how brands start responding to that (data). That’s going to be something that’s going to be very powerful that brands haven’t completely attacked yet. What brands haven’t fully tapped yet is this ability to reach out and reward people all the time." Fernandez: "Vine is 6-8 months old and that caused Instagram to come up with video. ... What’s going to be the next device or what’s going to be the next platform that people really gravitate towards?"