The 2010-2011 Season Review: #NJDevils Expand Social Media Presence
Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media sites are quickly changing the way we follow our sports teams. It provides beat writers the chance to tweet quotes and news, allows fans to spout off opinions in under 150 characters and enables teams to reach the masses quickly. Some teams push their players to utilize social media as a way to draw fans in. The New Jersey Devils have been noticeably absent from the list. That is, until this season.
During the past year, the Devils organization dramatically improved their social media presence. For New Jersey, that’s a big deal. They are a largely private organization, rarely reaching out via Twitter or Facebook. But that all changed this season. It might have just been a marketing ploy or a focused public relations strategy, but it helped to engage fans and open the organization to an entire new side of the Devils.
The team took a three-pronged attack to expand their social media use. The first place we saw an expanded effort was on Twitter, with the Devils official Twitter feed (@NHLDevils). Every game was live-tweeted with in-game news and notes, something missing last season. The team also began a popular late season contest, called #DevilsFirstSong, where fans had the opportunity to submit what they thought should be the first song played at a game. I actually had a selection chosen, going with Van Halen’s “Running With The Devils”. When I found out I won it, I was pretty excited, and shared the news with friends. The team also posts the Twitter handle of the winner on the scoreboard during the game. It’s not free tickets or anything, but those little contests drew fans in.
Their second strategy came with their increased use of their Facebook page. The page already has over 150 thousand likes, and uses that to reach out to fans. This is primarily where the team sponsors give-aways, such as a suite for opening night. They also publish team news and notes and report on players during the offseason. They also publish a “fan of the week” feature. Once again, it’s nothing overly special, but it’s a great way for the organization to reach out to its fans.
The final prong of their expanded social media use came in the form of Devils Mission Control. The team launched the social media ubercenter in February, promising a unique experience found in no other arena. The center allows for a group of people, named “Devils Generals”, to monitor the social feeds and engage fans. They ran contests asking fans who would score the first goal and helping to plan tweetups. Fans could walk into Mission Control and use iPads to connect to Facebook and Twitter. It’s the first of it’s kind, and Mission Control presents an unlimited potential for social media use in the future.
The Devils aren’t as proactive as other organizations. Some give tickets away on their official feed and encourage players to tweet. For an organization that was slow to embrace it, the Devils improved their social media presence tremendously this season. It’ll be interesting to see if it continues to grow in future seasons.