During the past two decades Social Media has evolved quite drastically both in how we utilize it and how prominent it is within our culture. From what was once chat rooms on AOL Instant Messaging on AIM and glittery profiles on MySpace is now 140 characters on Twitter categorizes by hashtags and personalized communities on Facebook. The Social Media landscape has evolved dramatically and is now woven deeply in our social culture.
The growth and evolution of Social Media has likely impacted your business or industry as well. I’ve worked in the Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry for over 10 years and the importance of a focus on Social Media has been in a rapid upswing for the past several years. So much so that if you are not minding your Social Media presence than you are not fully branding yourself.
Social Media can be the catalyst for success by empowering people and fueling ideas. We have all seen the good and the bad that can come from Social Media. But regardless if you are a casual user, have your mobile device attached to the hip so you can instantly access your social media profile(s) or don’t use social media at all, there is no denying the impact that Social Media has had on both our culture and on industries around the world.
The way that Social Media has impacted the Sports Industry has been profound. This year one fifth (20.5%) of internet users in the US are expected to have Twitter accounts. This number has grown from 15.2% in 2012, and is projected to rise to 24.2% by 2018. Over a third (37%) of Twitter users will buy from a brand they follow.
Almost every team, league and sports association has a social media profile on Twitter. From the pros to the minors and from the high school athlete to the retired athlete, social media has been a force in the sports industry landscape.
According to Navigate Research, sports fans are 67 percent more likely to use Twitter to enhance their viewing experience compared to non-sports fans. Essentially, Twitter is the virtual sports bar that fans flock to before, during and after the games. So the behavior of a team or an athlete on Social Media can directly influence a fan’s perception of that team or athlete. While most of the fans who responded to my above poll indicated in their vote it did not influence their opinion of an athlete, many of them elaborated that there are conditions.
There are some teams and athletes that really excel at using Twitter. Some teams engage with fans and in some instances other teams.
And the influence of Twitter has been picking up momentum in the past few years. During 2013 50% of Tweets regarding TV in the United Stated, a total of 492 million Tweets were about sports events. Sports events comprised 12 of the Top 20 Most-Tweeted-About TV broadcasts during the year, according to Nielson.
The behavior of Twitter members when discussing sports is interesting, just have a look at the numbers.
A great example of the popularity of sports talk on Twitter would be NBA Free Agency, which kicked off on Wednesday. Most of the trending topics leading up to and gaining momentum after it’s official start has been NBA Free Agency. Throughout the day 3-4 of the Top 10 trending topics have been NBA-related and a simple search of the hashtag #NBAFreeAgency on Twitter will give you a perfect example of how popular the conversation is.
And just like NFL Free Agency, Pro League Drafts, Trade Deadlines and Playoff & Championship games, these trends have staying power.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs have been tagged with a popular #BecauseItstheCup hashtag the past few years and it has been almost a tradition for hockey fan discussion during the Playoffs and the Stanley Cup Final.
Almost every sports related show or event has a hashtag associated with it and it is displayed, on screen, during the event or show. It drives engagement and creates a relationship with the audience that had not been possible several years ago.
Social Media is a powerful vehicle that drives sports talk today and the way fans interact with teams, players, personalities and fellow fans. It’s a powerful source for getting news, engaging in topical discussions and empowering brands.
Social Media has impacted the Sports Industry and that impact will continue to evolve in the years to come.