NFL Jets Senior VP/Communications & Content Eric Gelfand (@NYJets) is in his third season with the team, and just over a year ago began overseeing content related to social media, digital and broadcasting. In that time, the Jets have placed a greater emphasis on video -- particularly on Instagram -- where the club increased video posting by 25%. As a result, they have seen a 70% year-over-year increase in average use on the platform. Another feather in their cap has been the launch of the One Jets Drive video series. Initially intended as a preseason series reflective of “Hard Knocks," it has now been extended into the regular season and has seven million total views. Gelfand said, “It was so clear that it was resonating with our fans and it was performing so well on our Facebook Watch page. It was a success. The second piece is we had the access to the team that we just said we would double down, we would go through training camp and see how that goes. We had a lot of momentum. It continued to do well so we said, 'Why stop here?' We built a really nice brand. Our fans are yearning for this content and we plan on doing it next season as well.”
Evolution of Jets social media:
Ownership saw the benefit of social media and pushed us to engage and it really spring-boarded us from the initial phases to where we are now. Since I have been here, we really took a fine-tooth comb to each one of the platforms and how we should activate and engage our fans. After this past season, we did a deep dive and looked at everything we did from a content standpoint and how it impacted our engagement on social platforms. We looked at our top 30 and bottom 30 pieces of content and it gave us a broad vision of what we should be doing going forward. The things at the bottom we either got rid of or re-imagined them. The things at the top -- we decided to lean into them more.
Working with players:
They understand what we are looking to get and sometimes we capture moments that are opportunistic. We had a moment with Jamal Adams on report day when we were capturing people on the first day of work. Jamal tried to get in the building and his code wasn’t working. It was funny. In that instance, we held it and posted it a week or two later on a Monday -- tying it into the beginning of the work week. The players engage with us and we also provide them content for their own social media. We made the decision a few years ago to hire a full-time photographer. What we do is provide the players with photos and they use them for their platforms. What it does is create a deeper relationship with the team so when we need them to do some things, it makes things a lot easier.
New for ’18:
We knew that music was a really big part of our videos. We felt we had an opportunity to take things to another level, so we created a partnership with Def Jam Recordings. The idea was we would have access to their library to license some songs that we would use for our amp-up videos. We decided to use them just for home games -- so eight videos, eight songs. We’ve seen those songs and videos -- compared to the ones that have generic license music -- do 40% better from an engagement standpoint.
An example of what we have been doing the last two years is we have what we call influencer dates. We do two a year and invite social media influencers from across different spectrums like food, travel and parenting. We have them come out and experience a game day from start to finish. We take them around the stadium, put them on the field and in the tunnel and have a food tasting. What we do is encourage them to post throughout the game. What we’ve seen is a crazy amount of engagement. Impressions for the previous five were 20 million impressions to an audience we don’t normally talk to.
Balancing games, news, off-field and sponsor-related content:
Twitter is the main source of news and on game day it is our main traffic platform. We work closely with our partners and found in the last few years their desire to be represented on social and digital platforms has increased. We try be as collaborative as we possibly can and present content worthy of not just the sponsor, but our fans.
Concern over team’s social media rankings:
We definitely pay attention to it, but it doesn’t impact our day-to-day work because we have a straightforward vision for what we think works for us and our fans. That really drives us.
If you know anyone who should be featured for their use of social media, send their name to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.