Let’s learn a little fan engagement lesson from NASCAR. In the Bleacher Report article NASCAR Drivers, Wives and Twitter: Is NASCAR the Most Active Sport on Twitter?, the writer notes about the relatively extensive level of access that NASCAR fans have to drivers – in everything from pit road access to autograph signings to the use of Twitter.
We’ve done enough research with our pro sports clients to know that a certain percentage of season ticket holders (STHs) have a strong desire for that engagement with or proximity to the athletes. But why do they want it? That’s a question to ask.
You can’t setup too many 1-on-1 dinners with your Dwight Howard and one of your season ticket holders. You can’t setup too many Putt-Putt competition between one of your long-term STHs and your Jason Verlander. You can’t have your Aaron Rodgers sit-in on too many STH book clubs.
So back to the question – why do STHs want access? If you can understand the STH’s goal, maybe there are some alternatives you can suggest.
To many STHs, the “why” is about the experience, it’s about relationship, it’s about feeling like you’re in-the-know or part of something special.
Social media can help with this. It’s not the direct 1-on-1 relationship they might desire, but it’s much more of a direct interaction than a fan reading a journalist’s article or a marketing e-mail from the team. So, use social media to accomplish at least two relationship-building objectives.
First, provide more direct/personal insights from your players and executives. Getting to know these individuals as being more “real” helps to foster relationship-building. That’s why the husband/wife aspect of the NASCAR Twitter approach has such great appeal.
Second, use Social Media to track key STHs, monitoring what is going on in their world, their lives. You can use this to identify ways to be proactive with them, sending them a congratulatory note to strengthen the relationship (if they changed jobs) or asking a question to enhance your STH-intelligence (if they mention they’ve moved) or sharing an offer to increase sales (if they say they have friends coming into town during a time where there’s a home game).
Use Social Media to build STH relationships by letting them into your world and by learning a little more about theirs.
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