Social Studies: Eagles Digital Platforms Manager Samantha Wood On Strategy
Eagles Digital Platforms Manager Samantha Wood (@Eagles) is in her second season with the franchise after three seasons with the Flyers. During her stint with the NHL club, Wood was the only person managing the team’s social media, but with the Eagles, she has a staff that includes video producers and graphic designers. Wood: “At the Flyers, I don’t think I saw a movie in a movie theater because I was so frantic about if somebody got traded or if there was news. Now, I’m not the person who leaves the phone out at dinner, because I know I have a team behind me that can handle any emergencies.” Digital growth also has been strong for the Eagles since Wood arrived. Wood: "For 15 straight weeks during the offseason, we were the No. 1-growing Twitter account in the NFL.” In addition to her staff, Wood credits the Eagles' avid fan base for being invested.
New for this season:
We’ve taken a more strategic approach. An example of that is our Instagram. Before, we were really mirroring more of what you would see across other social media platforms. You would see similar content across Facebook and Twitter, but without really a thought of what the Instagram audience looks like and what works the best there. About six months ago, we changed our entire approach. We worked closely with a staff photographer who is super talented and took the leash off. We considered that branding is important and having a consistent look is important. With Instagram, it was more important to be artistic and creative. It’s OK to post the photo that doesn’t look like anything else that we’ve ever posted as long as it looks cool. It’s connection versus coverage.
Facebook is our biggest with over three million fans. Twitter is our fastest growing at well over two million. But we want to widen the lens and include those fans who are more comfortable on Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat or whatever it may be. We want to make sure we are speaking to those fans, because that is where we are growing the game and growing the team.
Approach to covering the '17 NFL Draft, which was in Philly:
That was a really amazing event. We went in with a divide and conquer approach. We split our crew at the Art Museum and had half at the NovaCare Complex. We had a content plan, like live streaming. But we had to be flexible. There were a lot of things we didn’t anticipate, like the scope of how many people would show up or all the little fun moments that happened here and at the Draft itself. I was happy we built in flexibility into our content plan. We weren’t so structured and stiff that we had something scheduled and couldn't adjust. We were able to do it on the fly, which is scar,y because there are no guarantees. But as a result, you end up with the best content. Despite being the hometown team, logistically, there really wasn’t an advantage, because we more or less had to plan as if we were going to a different city. But it was an advantage that 90% of the people who were there were Eagles fans, which looked great.
Using electronic football on Twitter after league restricted use of highlights:
We are always trying to do something creative and have a built-in flexibility to say "I have a great idea -- let’s do it." We didn’t know how far this was going to go. It was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but also an example of being creative and not being afraid to be a little kooky and a little unusual and a little weird. It’s a business, but it’s also a game and it’s fun. It was a nice moment where we all came together. We shot a lot of them. There were many on my computer that never saw the light of day. I’m happy that it went as far as it did. It really energized my group.
Determining what's too weird or unusual:
There’s always a line. It’s definitely dotted. It’s one of those things you know when you see it. We have tried many, many times to define what is or is not OK. It’s useful to go through that exercise, but I don’t think we’re under any delusions that we’re going to get to a perfect three-bullet list.