What companies can learn from Major League Baseball’s social media game

To stay on par with the increasingly popular NFL and NBA, Major League Baseball (MLB) is undergoing a robust and thoughtful social media outreach and engagement strategy that is helping them keep current fans excited while reaching new ones. Here are four ways your company can do the same:

Make it ridiculously easy to find all of your social media channels. To access any of MLB’s social media accounts you only have to visit the Social Media Clubhouse on mlb.com. From there you can visit any of MLB’s digital channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and many others. There is also a roster that allows visitors to click on all of MLB’s Twitter handles, including @MLB_PR for journalists and @MLBNetwork for television viewers. It seems obvious, but many companies don’t think to link to all their digital channels in spaces that make sense, such as your company’s Press or About pages. This makes it much easier for consumers and industry experts to gain valuable information about your company.

Sometimes an old standby can pay off. During the winter, MLB uses Twitter to provide fans with the opportunity to win free merchandise and tickets to watch their favorite teams in the spring and summer. With paid products that offer precision targeting and click-to-download functions, a sweepstakes seems almost old-fashioned, but old tricks can still work if they’re done right.

Engaging new audiences takes research and investment. According to Nielsen, the median age for viewers of nationally televised games in 2013 was 54 years old. MLB is aware of this and has expanded their Advanced Media group to focus on digital outreach. From the creation of the At Bat app, which is the highest-selling sports apps since 2008 to the MLB Fan Cave in a Manhattan storefront, baseball is using social media to target the digital demographic. Brands that strategically use social media to target desired audiences will ensure that their messages gain traction. By purchasing Twitter ads and paid promotions on Facebook you are tapping into a new space and new market. MLB isn’t just wishing for younger fans, it is investing in efforts to reach and retain them.

Put a human face in the digital space. Sports fans want access to their favorite athletes and Twitter provides a great venue for individual players to interact with fans. Teams and players are also posting game pictures to their Instagram accounts. Whether it’s outfielder Hunter Pence doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge or MVP Andrew McCutchen hanging out with a fan in the dugout, social media is allowing players to communicate without the filter of beat reporters and columnists. Companies should take note and make sure human faces are communicating through their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube presence. Whether it is a CEO or secretary talking about new projects or community involvement, people are more likely to interact with other people online.

Social media is a market place for ideas on how companies can communicate well. A financial services company or restaurant chain can borrow strategies from an organization such as Major League Baseball to strengthen their social channels. During my summer at GSG, I’ve learned that taking the time to see what companies across different industries are doing on social media can pay off.

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