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Volume 25 No. 111
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Social Studies: Hawks Digital Content Manager Jaryd Wilson On Connecting With Fans

Hawks Digital Content Manager Jaryd Wilson manages the team's social media accounts, most notably on Twitter (@ATLHawks), where the posts can be far from ordinary. Wilson said, "It's kind of our social media, which is to be the voice of the fan. As we work toward that mission statement and toward being more engaging, the fans are going to relate more to the voice we've taken on opposed to the corporate, bland, kind of boring voice. For us, with the voice we have, the kind of engaging, authentic, sarcastic tone that we take, we've probably seen more fan engagement and we've probably built more brand affinity that way. We've really seen a good response from it, and frankly, it's more fun.

SOCIAL SNAPSHOT:

Favorite App: Untapped. I really like seeing what other people are saying about beer. I've used it several times at a bar when I'm torn between beers.
Must-Follow: Marc Stein at ESPN is one I really like. Adrian Wojnarowski is also really good. I like Deadspin. Their social voice isn't great, but their writing is great.
Average time spent on social media per day: It's my job, so all day.

Responding to criticism and praise for posts:
The criticism is an easy thing to ignore if it's impulsive and obnoxious. Usually 95% of it doesn't warrant a response because you are going to end up engaging in an unwinnable fight. Most of it, from the user perspective, we kind of ignore it, let it go. There is some stuff that we will respond to if it's constructive criticism or a question that a fan is looking for an answer to. The praise, we generally try to respond to as much as we can to let fans know we are not only listening to them but want to thank them for acknowledging us. By responding to more of the positive stuff and focusing less on the negative, we hopefully build the idea that the more positive stuff you say about us the more we're going to respond to you.

On social media being part of the Hawks' identity:
It's probably one of our larger marketing initiatives than just social media. One of the things we're try to do is be trend setters in the industry. We want to be relevant with our fans, we want to target millennials, kind of lead the way in being different being unique and being bold. As we think of that as a whole with our marketing department -- and social media is part of that -- social media is an easier part than other marketing avenues to identify that and create that voice and execute on it. Our social media voice aligns with the bigger picture.

Growing the Hawks brand locally and worldwide:
It's tricky because we are trying to grow Atlanta first. We always try to think about Atlanta first, but we also have to think about the fans outside of Atlanta. We setup a Weibo account, which is kind of the Chinese Twitter equivalent, because we know how big basketball is in Asia and China, and we want to connect with that audience. We know that only about 20% of our social media audience is in Atlanta, so while we are obviously targeting the Atlanta area with what we do in social and in other areas, we recognize that the majority of fans who are following us are not in our area. That 80% are probably not coming to a game unless they are making a trip or something. In all likelihood they won't be shopping in our store, so we have to think about that as we're posting. Some things that we post may not be sales-related messages or ticket-driving messages but rather engagement messages.

What teams can do better on social media:
I would like to see more conversation among teams and I would like to see more teams take on that casual, first-person voice. There are some teams who do it better than others, not only in the NBA but across all sports. It's tricky with some of the parameters that are in place at the team level that they can and can't do. The engagement is the biggest thing. Not only engaging with your fans, but engaging with other brands, other teams and just that casual native of what social media is -- it's social -- and it should be treated that way. Generally speaking, teams are getting better at it.

Social media account you admire:
I follow a lot of sports teams to see what they are up to. Within our league, I really like what the Sixers do. I think their stuff is really, really good. The Bucks do a really good job, the Suns do a really good job, the Warriors do a good job. In baseball, I like what the Cubs do; their voice is really good. In the NFL, the Patriots come to mind as a team that has a fun voice. Obviously the Kings in the NHL are really good. If we're talking about individuals, I really like Ellen (DeGeneres). She has a good following and is really good at it. Also, Arby's. Outside of the sports industry, they are one of the best.


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