Social Media and Professional Sports

In Vancouver’s vibrant & rapidly growing Social Media industry, there are many experts. To facilitate networking and knowledge sharing within this community, HootSuite hosts #CMHootUp – a series of quarterly meet-ups for all who are part of the local social media scene.


#CMHootUp – Building Community Around Sports

The most recent installment of #CMHootUp at the HootSuite HQ featured speakers from the digital marketing teams of 2 well-loved local professional sports teams – the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Vancouver Canucks.

HootSuite’s Connor Meakin addresses the #CMHootUp crowd

[ Vancouver Whitecaps ]

Adam Rootman & Shaina Walker kicked off the night with their talk.

Vancouver Whitecaps’ Adam Rootman & Shaina Walker

The 5 main areas that Adam & Shaina talked about were:

  • Reach: Growing the community
  • Belonging: Being part of the community
  • Engagement: Generating conversation
  • Content: Responsive, sharable, topical and funny
  • Voice: Establishing personality

Some examples of their social media campaigns included a live fish cam for game tickets, a poutine eating contest, and a variety of other initiatives like Instagram takeovers (where their players post behind-the-scenes photos directly to the official Whitecaps Instagram account), and giveaways tied to other trending events like the Super Bowl.

With the current success of the Whitecaps on social media, it looks like their strategy of cheeky fun engagement is certainly a hit among their fans!

After the Whitecaps talk, there was a short break for food, drinks & networking. Edibles of the night were courtesy of HootSuite, RISE Kombucha, SPUD, and KIND snacks. It was a great opportunity to connect in-person with many of the social media rock stars I had been interacting with on Twitter!

[ Vancouver Canucks ]

Nicole van Zanten took to the stage as the second speaker of the night.

Vancouver Canucks’ Nicole van Zanten

She covered the following topics in her talk:

  • A day in the life of the Social Media Coordinator for the Canucks
  • Brand loyalty
  • Building the community
  • Corporate voice

She emphasized how important it was for a professional sports team to have a brand story. This is because long term performance of any sports team tends to be cyclical, and beyond the control of the Marketing team. Having a brand strategy that develops a conversation around personal relationships can help protect against such cycles.

Nicole shared 3 ‘rules’ she adheres to for her social media strategy:

  1. Content is King
  2. Engagement and Customer Service (24/7 approach)
  3. Analytics and Research to adapt to change

She also talked a little about developing the Vancouver Canucks’ corporate voice, citing “friendly and bold, not corporate and cold” as what their voice strives to be.

Overall, both speakers shared some really insightful social media success stories and tips. While the examples given were specific to the realm of professional sports, the lessons & key learnings they shared are definitely applicable to any brand, product, or service.

Thanks HootSuite for hosting a great #CMHootUp! 🙂


7 thoughts on “Social Media and Professional Sports

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