Tag Archives: Instagram

3rd Down: NFL Uses Instagram to Better Understand Its Constituencies

The NFL knows how to use their fans. The organization isn’t manipulative, but encourages their fans to contribute user-generated content to their brand. The quintessential advertising design plan circulates around the idea of “paid media”. The NFL would pay an ad agency to create a print piece to put in magazines, newspapers, on billboards, etc. However, what the NFL does instead, is by having their fans and followers post their own content, the organization is able to extend their reach far beyond what is expected. The NFL uses their fans’ own personal networks to disseminate more information.

One of the platforms the organization uses very well to accomplish this is Instagram. Instagram, being a multimedia-sharing site with over 305 million total active monthly users, is a site where user-generated content can be used by individuals and companies to accomplish marketing goals.

The NFL has many ways of spreading news, getting fans involved, and marketing products. One way in which they do this is by using the universal “#hashtag”. Using the hashtag “#NFL” will take a follower to another page specifically designated to similar posts that also have the same hashtag. By doing this, fans are able to see related stories, make connections, and get updated on competitions.

The Washington Redskins decided to create a marketing competition for the best picture from a fan in the stadium on gameday. The team called it the “#FanoftheGame” and the account chose a photo that contained the hashtag and the winner was awarded a prize. This increases reach by allowing access to more followers and it also was able to promote the Redskins without any effort.

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Odell Beckham Jr. making an amazing catch, posted to his Instagram account.

Not only can the NFL as a whole and individual teams utilize this function. Most professional players use Instagram just as much to promote their own brands. The player is instantly connected with the community, their participation and support, and collaboration on major projects. The player can use his profile to raise awareness for supported causes, talk about himself, give information to his fans, and state his opinion on social issues. However, this can sometimes cause controversy. Athletes rely a great deal on their public image. By using these online profiles to self-represent themselves, they are able to form a connection and identity with their fans. This directly helps and sustains supporter-base for athletes in the NFL.

The NFL has an Instagram account as well where they upload breaking news, interesting stories and pictures, player interviews, and promotional videos.

Instagram allows for the organization to reach its constituencies by only creating an account. Again, this is a job that can be handled by a single person, which means the capital gain is enormous through the use of this channel.

Another key advantage to using Instagram as a social media platform is the idea that the NFL is now more capable of better understanding their constituencies. Every time a follower and/or “fan” engages with a campaign, the marketing team can then collect contact information and certain demographics to better structure their message to their audience. By using fan behavior to optimize the NFL’s ads, emails, and postings, the organization has a key understanding of where their fans are, what they are talking about, and when they are doing it.

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Preseason: How Does the NFL Remain so Popular?

In the following weeks, this blog will provide the “best practices” in social media utilized and created by the NFL to communicate with its various stakeholder groups: players, coaches, management, the nation, foreigners, lobbyists, the media, and most importantly the fans. With participation at its highest amongst users coupled with an ever-growing interactive population, the NFL has the opportunity to transform message delivery amongst its constituencies and align themselves with their needs and interests.

How powerful is the NFL? Considering they have franchised their own day of the week… looks like God has some competition on Sunday afternoons. The National Football Network has remained the most popular American sport for 30 consecutive years as of April 2015. With such a national and increasingly global reach, the organization has the ability to reach consumers through multiple mediums instantly and consistently. Social media plays a significant role in individual’s lives, nearly 1.2 billion people representing 82% of the online population over the world are connected. 64% of them doing so once a day.

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This week, the blog will focus on how the NFL has been able to garner the television industry even in its steady decline. Universally known “Monday Night Football” and “Sunday Night Football” bring males, females, teenagers, little kids, parents, grandparents; anyone with a cable connection to the screen to watch their team play. The NFL has also been able to partner with television companies such as CBS and Fox and have created a new channel for fans to reach the best games on Sundays through the use of NFL Red Zone. NFL Red Zone is a special game day-only channel owned and operated by NFL Network that broadcasts on Sundays during the regular season. It allows viewers “whip around” simulcast coverage of all Sunday afternoon games airing in-progress on CBS and Fox.

A section of the first blog post will be on the television series on HBO called Hard Knocks. Each season, (most recently with the Houston Texans) it follows an NFL team through its training camp and covers the team’s preparation for the upcoming football season. The fans are able to relate to players off the field and this provides the NFL with a more emotionally invested fan base.

The second blog post will cover the pivotal force that Twitter plays in today’s global web through the network’s use of embedded promo videos, the “Vote Live” aspect which encourages participation, and more comical videos such as “Bad Lip Reading”. According to NFL analysts, the prevalence of Twitter and Instagram competitions sparked the “NFL Total Access Video Wall” which is simply put a massive canvas on television in which the company uses to illustrate the biggest stories of the day through “curated social content”. Players are using their own Twitter accounts to market their own brands, which in turn helps the organization and its popularity.

Finally, the blog will mention the importance of Instagram and Snapchat and their utilization of hashtags to garner live photos for the NFL network and specific teams, and also competitions played out on this application.

Readers should expect a different perspective of the National Football League and how it uses social media vehicles and/or pre-existing media to increase participation, sales, and viewership amongst its varying constituencies.

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