Published on May 17, 2022
Want to boost fan engagement at sporting events? Look no further than your favorite hashtag.
You could argue that professional wrestling has some of the most active fan engagement at sporting events, no matter what the sport. Twitter hashtags associated with the WWE offer a steady stream of comments and opinions from fans. In fact, the fan activity on WWE’s Twitter feed (comments, likes, retweets) is roughly equivalent to that of the NFL and the NBA (who have 14 million more followers and 17 million more followers, respectively). From a percentage standpoint, the WWE is absolutely rockin’ it.
To be fair, the WWE is almost as much a marketing operation as it is a sports operation, but is there truly a big difference in the two? Maybe not. According to an interview with Co-President Michelle Wilson, the WWE uses social media engagement as an essential data point in determining what programming fans want. And, of course, giving fans what they want leads to more engagement.
— WWE (@WWE) April 22, 2019
Keep fans informed and watch your branding efforts come to life with Everwall. For folks at home, you can even embed the feed on your team’s website. Start building your social wall today!
How to bump up your fan engagement at sporting events big and small
Professional wrestling is rich with drama, suspense, intrigue, plenty of special effects, big personalities, and big money. They know how to get their fans going. But what about smaller teams and organizations? Can you boost fan engagement at sporting events you’re hosting, even if you don’t have the budget and theatrical aspect of wrestling? Absolutely.
Before we leave the wrestling ring, take a look at the way they use @ and hashtags to reach their audience. There isn’t a lot of text in the Tweet above. Just four words: “Justice has been served.” Then they have the hashtag #ShieldsFinalChapter, followed by tagging the three wrestlers in the photo. This is just one Tweet from an entire marketing campaign, which included behind the scenes videos, and action shots from the match. But in case you aren’t following the hashtag, the WWE extended the reach of the Tweet by tagging the wrestlers, so any of the 3.7 million people following them also see the Tweet. And with 93 comments, 1,300 retweets, and 5,100 “likes” they’re clearly doing it right.
The lesson here? Use an event-specific hashtag in conjunction with tagging popular participants to expand reach.
In Jacksonville, Florida, NFL team the Jacksonville Jaguars are taking one hashtag to the next level. Jacksonville is in Duval County, and the county name is a rallying cry for fans. It’s so popular that the Jaguars have it as their name on Twitter, even though their handle is @Jaguars. Not only does the team use #DUUUVAL, but players, news stations, and fans use it, too.
The lesson? Tap into local pride and make the most of it.
Both of those examples work to engage fans inside and outside of specific events. But if you want to focus on making the event itself more engaging and exciting, you can’t ignore screens. Smartphones, iPads, and your displays around the venue are all prime real estate for interacting with fans. And don’t make the mistake of thinking people are just checking email between plays.
One recent survey found that 80% of sports viewers use a computer or smartphone to look up player stats, watch related videos, and message other fans. While that may be specific to fans watching an event on television, it’s not a stretch to think that the same thing is going on at your venue.
The Florida Gators track and field Twitter account is an excellent example of how that might look in action.
If you’ve been to a track and field competition, you know a lot is going on at any given time. It can be hard to keep up with the action, but the Gators keep their fans in the know. Along with live updates, they post highlight videos for individual athletes, team and individual rankings, statistics, and some behind-the-scenes pictures. And if that isn’t enough, fans can click links to Gators’ website where they can get even more detailed information about meets. And if you embed Everwall, they can even see all the latest Tweets from your hard-working social media team.
This takes some dedication and a knowledgeable group of people, but it’s not impossible to duplicate, and it’s an easy way for fans to feel more engaged and excited. You can even take it a step further by using digital signage around your venue. That way, fans don’t have to miss a thing when they run to the concession stand. Digital signage can broadcast each one of those Tweets and Instagram posts to anyone within eyesight.
The lesson? You don’t need a big budget or big team or even fancy effects to improve your fan engagement at sporting events. You just need an enthusiastic and hard-working social media team (or individual).
Increase in-person and offline engagement by creating a hashtag for your sports events and using Everwall to track and display them all! Start building your social wall today!
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