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Volume 25 No. 235
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Social Studies: MLS Senior Dir of Social Media Amanda Vandervort

MLS Senior Dir of Social Media Amanda Vandervort (@vandey01) made the move from coaching at NYU to earning a Master's degree in educational technology, which led to her current role. "The shift that happened in me when I left coaching was I found that I could teach people how to leverage digital and social to drive their initiatives." Here she discusses what makes MLS stand out in social media and establishing the brand's social authenticity.

Apps that didn’t transition well for professional purposes:
We were early adopters on a lot of platforms; there isn’t one we didn’t like. We try a lot of platforms and don’t bring them over to the MLS side until we have a significant user base and can prove the value of growth and reach on those platforms.

How long until a platform is suitable for MLS:
I don’t know that time is a factor; it’s the growth of the platform itself. Snapchat grew pretty quickly. Last year we launched our Snapchat in conjunction with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and we hired an influencer on the Snapchat platform named Shonduras, and we leveraged his influence and reach to help build our initial following.

Introducing fans to MLS’ social media accounts:
We do a lot of cross-network promotion. If we do a Snapchat campaign, we’ll promote it on Twitter. We find that is an effective way to inform fans who may not have known about opportunities that existed before. We also work with our clubs. We use our reach to try to drive followers to our clubs.

SOCIAL SNAPSHOT:

Favorite apps: Facebook Pages, Twitter
Must-Follow: Sporting KC F Dom Dwyer is so clever and funny.
Describe MLS’ social media presence: Creative. Innovators. Fun.
Time on Twitter per day: 6-8 hours

Social media inspirations:
I’m inspired by creators, I’m inspired by innovators and users on platforms who push and stretch the application in ways that maybe I didn’t think about or ways that we haven’t seen before. Not just in sports, but in the landscape of digital and social media.

Challenges in getting MLS to stand out in social media space:
At the very heart of it, our main challenge is scale. We’re just about to cross a million fans on Twitter, we’re just about two million fans on Facebook. That’s incredible for us. But our challenge is our great benefit; we can do really creative activation and really engage fans on a really personal level not only in our content and asking them questions and developing user-generated content, but we can also really personalize customer service for our fans.

Establishing MLS’ social media authenticity:
It’s part of our brand guideline. So what we do is have a framework for anyone who is posting or working on our accounts that includes voice and tone and brands that they can adhere to every time they are posting and publishing content. It comes through in the words that we use, the creative and the photos all having the brand values at the heart of the content. Through that you give the brand of MLS a face.

If you know anyone who should be featured for their use of social media, send their name to us at jperez@sportsbusinessdaily.com