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Volume 27 No. 30
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Social Studies: Steiner Sports' Ben Zettler Talks Changing Company's Voice, Driving Sales

Steiner Sports Dir of Social Media Ben Zettler (@SteinerSports) joined the memorabilia company just over three years ago, becoming the first employee at the company focused solely on the social space. Zettler said, "Steiner Sports was in position when I started where it was looked at as a customer service tool; a way to connect with people when they had problems. It was used inconsistently over the course of a day, a week or a month. When I started, we had Facebook, Twitter and uploaded content to a YouTube account. We had 55,000 followers.” Today, Steiner Sports has over 700,000 followers across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Zettler: "We’re posting consistent content on a consistent basis. We’re focused on engaging with sports fans and potential collectors of sports memorabilia. But we are also using social media as a lead-generating tool.” Zettler also collaborates with company Founder Brandon Steiner on the content that goes out on his personal social media accounts.

Must-follow: Gary Vaynerchuk, I pay a lot of attention to the stuff he puts out there.
Favorite app: Map My Run. I just a ran a half marathon a few months ago, so that helped.
Average time per day on social media: A majority of my day is related to social media, but I’m not just sitting there waiting to respond to tweets.

Feedback affecting Steiner Sports' offerings:
We try to listen to our followers as much as possible. We've put out polls that may be specific to the channel or we've gotten deeper. That can be asking fans what types of content do you like? Where do you like to consume it best? How were you introduced to Steiner Sports? Are you a customer?

Social media driving sales:
That was a challenge right from the beginning. There was the typical skepticism that you expect in an office where people are used to the traditional way of selling, especially in our industry. People are more used to building that one-on-one relationship with people in person or over the phone. Today, it's a much different tune. All the groups in our office are focused on utilizing social media as a means of getting a message out there with whatever initiative they have going on.

Getting athletes involved:
A way that has changed is that athlete involvement is spelled out in the athlete agreements. A few years ago, that was beyond an afterthought. It wasn’t even on the table. Now, it’s actually a focus, whether that’s promoting signings or events we may do with them. We had Kristaps Porzingis having fun in the office and created a nice piece of snackable content that people can engage with.

Developing the company's voice:
It's the success of the content. The last 18 months or so, that was the point where there was a more significant change in the voice in our messaging. It was a hard sell. It was very pitchy, for lack of a better term. It became tiresome for our followers and engagement wasn’t high. It was not fun to consume. I would try to do an assessment by going on my own pages and viewing our content from an outsider's perspective. I didn’t feel it was our best work, so we changed to that casual sports voice that is also deeply knowledgeable about memorabilia, but also a more excited voice as opposed to a selling voice.

Combining sales, marketing and PR:
I consider myself a digital unicorn almost where I have a distinct understanding of each business element that we operate on. I always try to strategize how we can best showcase each element of our business. At the same time, I have a solid understanding of how the different tools, different platforms in the social space works.

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