Haven’t quite satisfied your American Football cravings after Super Bowl weekend? We had a quick chat with Morgan Andrew, Social Media Coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, to find out what it takes to stay on top of the social media circus that is the NFL.
After coming out of the University of Georgia with a degree in Advertising, Morgan Andrew has risen up the social media ranks within the Atlanta Falcons organisation before taking on her current role as Social Media Coordinator. With a reach of 284,000 followers on Twitter and over 1 Million likes on Facebook, the Atlanta Falcons are a social media juggernaut within the NFL and provide us with some great examples of savvy campaigning and best social media practice.
1. How important are social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for engaging with the Falcons fans?
It’s extremely important. That’s where our fans are 24/7. We are able to reach them quickly, effectively and without any constraints as to where they are located in the world.
And if you were limited to just one social media channel, which one would you choose and why?
Facebook. Just due to the sheer number of fans we are able to reach there and the variety of content we can provide. I don’t think Facebook is going anywhere any time soon.
2. What do the Falcons mainly use Social Media for? Listening, Word of mouth, Testing, Qualitative research…
I focus primarily on engaging with our fans through social media.
3. A lot of the players are very active in Twitter, for example Tony Gonzalez (Tight End, Falcons) has well over 200,000 followers. How far do you go in monitoring these accounts to protect the Falcons brand?
Our players are awesome on social and really engage with their fans on Twitter. We work closely with our public relations department to monitor any pitfalls we may come across. We also do a presentation to our rookies each year with best practices on social media. Ultimately, it’s their account, we just do our best to show them what works best.
4. Social media mediums are rapidly evolving with video taking prominence with Snapchat, Vine and now Instagram video. Have the Falcons planned on utilising these platforms?
We currently utilize Vine and Instagram video, although I am going to focus on this a lot more in 2014. Video is growing dramatically – fans love it.
5. Is there any sport in the world that has the edge in social media – not just in followers, but in producing quality content and campaigns that make the most of social media?
There’s so many great teams and organizations that really “get” social media and do it well. I don’t think anyone necessarily has the “edge” right now when it comes to content and campaigns.
6. What do you think has been your best piece of social media or PR for the Falcons since you have been there?
The promotion and push of the #RiseUp hashtag. It’s grown so large that fans simply know to use it with all their Falcons tweets. We even had t-shirts made with #RISEUP on them, and fans love them.
7. What has been your favorite instance of fan interaction over social media and what has been your worst?
We do something called “Random Acts of Rise Up” in which we randomly surprise a fan with a prize – just because they like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. I love to see the reactions from fans and it’s got to be one of my favorite things we’ve done. Any time I can make someone’s day just by sending them a prize to say “thanks” is a win. I can’t really say I have a worst instance!
8. How do you measure the success of your social media activity? Do you judge success by engagement or by say increased ticket sales or merchandise sales?
It should be judged by a mixture of the above. Engagement is very high on the list for me, but if you aren’t selling the tickets or merchandise, is it really resonating with fans? It’s about engaging with the fans, and getting them excited about the brand, so they want to buy those tickets to be at a game and a part of what they’ve seen on social.
9. How do you manage fans reactions to great wins or bad losses?
Understanding them. When we win a big game, being excited with them. When we lose, it’s showing them that we understand – we aren’t happy either.
10. Time to get personal, who has the best Twitter account out of the Falcons team and who has the worst?
Harry Douglas is great with Twitter. He’s always inviting fans to dinner with him, or giving away tickets, etc. He really gets it.
11. The NFL International Series over here in the UK has been a step towards connecting with NFL fans from across the globe. How do the Falcons use social media to engage with fans internationally, as opposed the just Americans?
This is why social media is so great. We are able to reach those international fans easily and quickly. I am looking forward to the game this coming season in which we will be able to connect with some of those fans personally that have been following us on social media for so long.
Keep your eyes peeled for further insights into social media practice amongst the greatest sports teams in the UK and beyond, as we will be releasing further interviews with leading figures in the digital sports industry in the near future.
To see our interview with Adam Hulme, Multi Media Officer for Queens Park Rangers F.C, click here.
To see our interview with Imogen Gaunt, Media and PR Manager for Harlequins R.F.C, click here.
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