Thursday, January 19, 2017

Is Baseball Too Good at Social Media?

As described in “4 Ways Major League Baseball Hits a Home Run With Social Media”, the author Jay Hawkinson details his interpretation as to why Major League Baseball (MLB) has found so much success in its social media campaigns. First, the author explains baseball’s social media campaigns capture the best of baseball’s visual stimuli. One of the best parts of a baseball game is all the visual surrounding any person – player and fan alike. The excitement (and frustration) of a homerun or a strikeout, the dramatic break of a 12-6 curveball for a called strike-three, or even seeing over and over an inning-ending double play. Visuals at a baseball game are all over.

Secondly, MLB captures the personality of the game – through its players, but also through its fans. Baseball is played by people all over the world. When these people come together, either to play, or to watch, all of their personalities are on display. MLB captures the personalities of its players and fans on their social pages and encourages their fans to engage with them, which is MLB’s third strategy towards social media success.  Through outlets such as Twitter, fans are able to engage in conversation anytime – any place about Jose Reyes’ celebratory handshake with Asdrubul Cabrera.

Finally, MLB understand the importance of being on every social platform. For example, MLB recently partnered with Snapchat. Here, MLB creates stories highlighting the best of a ballpark experience – the fans, the food, and of course the game.  From a business perspective, by creating social campaigns with apparel partners, MLB can lend influence on its followers to buy pieces of apparel so that they can engage in the campaigns themselves. The author explains how MLB and New Era, the official cap of MLB, created the 2016 campaign #CapsOn. Here, fans were encouraged to celebrate the love of baseball by wearing their cap. Speaking from personal experience, by promoting #CapsOn using a team’s star player, who was wearing the team’s opening day NewEra cap, fans (me) were encouraged to buy the hat their favorite players would be wearing.

So, on one hand MLB’s social media success helps generate business. However, I could not help but wonder if MLB’s success on social encourages fans to get to the ballpark – therefore, spend money on a ticket, or If MLB’s storytelling is so good, do fans feel they get enough of what makes baseball great through the combination of watching the game on TV and then getting all the perks from Snapchat, or Twitter? Social Media allows a product to be advertised. In the case of baseball, how do they toe the line of giving just enough content that followers find themselves anxious to get to the ballpark and experience all of baseball’s charm in person?

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