Tag Archives: Social Media Marketing

Social Media, Branding and Crisis Management with an NHL Team

What really goes on behind the scenes in handling social media accounts for big brands and sports teams? Find out about my great experience with the New Jersey Devils and how their branding efforts are top-notch in the sports world. Written by Juliet Rocco

P1100706The phone call: I remember the day I got the phone call from the head of HR offering me the internship. It was early August and I had traveled down from Rochester to interview in New Jersey just a few days prior.

This was something I had wanted so badly, I knew I would get it with my level of determination. Once I hung up the phone, I nearly broke down in tears of joy and couldn’t stop jumping around!

Smiles turn upside down: The talks of the lockout began getting more serious by the end of August and the pressure was mounting on the owners and players to reach some kind of agreement. I was seeing all of this from a frustrated fan’s point of view, and not necessarily a business one. That was going to change soon enough.

I worked in Mission Control from early September through the end of November. Mission Control is the epicenter of all things social media for the Devils and Prudential Center. For each work station, we have 3 monitors plus two TVs that usually aired ESPN or NHL Network. Our office was the envy of all of the other interns.

It was a job that needed constant monitorization and forced me to think more creatively since content was much more limited without any NHL hockey being played, plus we were under strict rules by the NHL of what we were allowed to post about. The scariest moment was definitely hitting the ‘Send’ button on my first Facebook post for the Devils. I probably proofread the copy about 10 times over!

Anger management: Fans used our social media platforms as a virtual punching bag on a daily basis once the lockout began. Of course, I never took any of it personally. Most of them probably didn’t realize that it’s just a few people gathered in a room staring at computer screens all day and generating content, with no control over negotiations (that would have been a nice added perk). We worked hard each day to come up with ways to keep fans engaged and numb them from the pain of the work stoppage.

As a Devils fan and a hockey player, it hurt to watch the days pass and the lockout continue. You could even tell around the office it was a much different environment than just a few months prior when the Devils were fighting for the Stanley Cup.

There’s a storm brewing: Just as we began getting into a groove for creating content, we were faced with a brand new challenge that would end up having an even greater impact on people’s lives. Hurricane Sandy had forced us into a completely new role: crisis management.

A call for help: People were without power for weeks, many suffered far worse with complete devastation of their homes, downed trees and contaminated water. Many people in the office were also personally affected. We began asking for help and crowdsourcing information to relay back to people in need. We told them where they could get water, a hot meal, shower and shelter if they hadn’t already.

We sent our mascot to multiple shelter locations to cook, hand out blankets and bring smiles to kids and stressed out parents. We also established a full page section of our main website that had everything Sandy Relief related. The phrase “Jersey Strong” had become known throughout the country.

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Takeaway: The last few weeks of my internship were much different than I had anticipated, but it was in an incredibly rewarding way. A lot of people I talk to tend to feel bad that I didn’t get to see any hockey and get that kind of experience, but I was given an opportunity to reach out to nearly half a million people and help those in need. What could be better than that?

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Devilish Ways on Twitter

NHL hockey is not synonymous with New Jersey. Larger fan bases surrounding the New York Metropolitan area also serve as stiff competition, but the Devils are trying to change that and become a true force with the use of social media. Written by Juliet Rocco

I’ve been an avid NJ Devils fan since a very young age. My parents began taking me to see games and I started falling in love with the sport. I could scream over any Rangers fan in the arena!

By the age of 13, I was on the ice learning how to skate and play the game. By 15, I was the only girl on my high school team and I also played on a girls’ travel team. Hockey became my life.

Leaving the land of the devils: Once I moved to Rochester, I was unable to go to the games on a frequent basis or watch them on TV (I was now in Buffalo Sabres territory, unfortunately).

By the beginning of the 2009-10 season, I would constantly check on the team website for up-to-date game info, but it was always minutes behind. This sport needed to be updated at the same speed it was being played!

Twitter to the rescue: Thank goodness for their Twitter page! Constant updates flooded my feed on a second by second basis. Following the team has never been easier and I can keep up with it no matter where I am since I have my awesome smartphone with me all the time.

Their page has over 44,000 followers (not bad for a team that’s only been around for about 30 years, but boasts 3 Stanley Cup wins!). It’s also used for promotions, contests, and sharing media.

Why so successful? One thing I would like to commend their social media marketers on is how engaged they keep the fans. It’s nice to see them responding to Tweets and mentions accordingly.

Takeaway: Given the plethora of social media options out there, I think Twitter is the perfect way of keeping sports fans up-to-date with live information during a high demand period. Also, being responsive to fans and their needs is important. It’s a lot easier to answer a question in a Tweet than sifting through countless e-mails!

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