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Volume 26 No. 227
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Social Studies: Trail Blazers Keep All-Star Vote Campaigns Weird

Fan voting for NBA All-Star rosters began Christmas Day and wraps up next Monday, and like every team in the league, the Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) want to see some of their guys on the court in Charlotte. But unlike the other 29 clubs, the Blazers are bringing a unique Portland flavor to their efforts to get out the fan vote. Helping guide that effort is Dir of Content Aaron Grossman, who started with the team as an intern in '08. He said, "As someone who’s been in Portland most of my life, people who live here are proud of who they are, and if who they are is different from the person next door or in N.Y. or L.A., then that’s great. We like to think that our accounts can represent those fans who do things their way and who have a lot of fun with it."

Must-follows: Evan Turner. I’m kind of a sucker for animals, so Thoughts of Dog also.
Favorite apps: Slack is huge for us from a business perspective.
Average time per day on social media: I’m in and out all day, but in total I try to limit it to an hour or two.

Setting the tone on social:
We take the same approach to social that we take with interacting with our fans on every level. We try to be authentic and amplify what Portland is all about, and to speak to the fans like we’re a friend of theirs on the couch.

All-Star voting campaign takes shape:
We’re doing a series of videos with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum where they’re one-upping each other in terms of promoting the other guy. I hope the fans appreciate how much effort these guys put into it, (laughing) especially C.J. with the Napoleon Dynamite dance. For a campaign like this, we create a brief on our idea for what we want to create, then share that with the players to make sure they’re comfortable. When they’re all in, they are going to create their best performances. You can tell from how much fun they have in the videos that they are on board.

How much is too much pushing the All-Star vote?
We know our fans really want to support our players. You can vote every day, and there are five double-vote days. We don’t want to promote constantly, but it’s smart to take advantage of opportunities like great in-game performances, and like these videos. 

Players having their own voice on social:
Throughout the season, the team shares content with players frequently. But we also recognize that they have their own brands, and are establishing who they are on their own channels. We do what we do, and we support what they do. But we certainly don’t have an expectation that everything we do has to be consistent with what they’re doing.

Targeting an audience while live-tweeting games:
Some of the audience for the in-game tweets are people who cannot watch the game, either because they are out of market or don’t have access. But that second-screen experience is fascinating for us, too. A lot of people are using our feed to get involved in the conversation as they’re watching. That kind of goes back to the idea of us being a friend on the couch, one that you can talk to and learn from, hopefully.

What lies after All-Star:
The next big push will be the playoffs. We try to make the playoffs a special experience, change the creative and make it feel like it should, an opportunity that our team has earned. I’m speaking as if we’ll make it, and we prepare as though we will every season. Our creative services/content team is really nimble, so we could have a big video or a really great idea any day of the week and for any reason. Maybe based on a trend on social media, maybe based on something in the news. We’re not attached just to national holidays and NBA campaigns. Sometimes the best ideas come from places you don’t expect. 

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