The Evolution of Redskins’ Social Media Day (Customer Spotlight)July 13, 2017
NFL fans are famously some of the most voracious social media users. While games offer natural fuel for engagement, many other opportunities await teams who want to expand their territories online.
The Washington Redskins have long prioritized a strong social presence. With initiatives like GameTime.com, Redskins Salute, and Women of Washington (WOW), the team has been cultivating a fan community that’s vocal, energetic, and social online and #IRL.
Training Day for Athletes and Social Media Influencers
Social Media Day, est. 2013, is the brainchild of the Redskins. This annual celebration ramp ups excitement at the beginning of each football season, treating social-savvy fans to an exclusive event at the Redskins’ training grounds.
Fans can apply for free VIP admission to training camp and a chance to meet their favorite players face-to-face.
Aside from a close-up view of the practice field (plus other VIP perks, like an exclusive lounge and free catered food), #RedskinsSocialDay promises (Facebook) live Q&A sessions and prizes for members who engage most with event hashtags.
— Jennifer Harter (@jenniferharter) August 14, 2016
Earlier Challenges with Hashtag Branding
While the Redskins drove lots of attention to its handle and hashtags with Social Media Day, earlier years were met with unwelcome “hashtag spamming.”
Non-attendees caught wind of #RedskinsSocialDay and started posting the hashtag to nab prizes.
Content around the hashtag was largely uninspiring—subpar in quality though high in frequency, as users simply posted to increase their chances of winning.
When the Redskins started working with Zoomph—their new official social media providers at the time—they were determined to reenergize Social Media Day.
The Redskins digital team were challenged with improving the quality of user-generate content (UGC) from the event and gamifying social media engagement.
The Zoomph team introduced their ZPoints influence-scoring algorithm, which can rank social content or influencers in any given social conversation.
With ZPoints, the Redskins could identify posts with actual value and stickiness. They could also generate a real-time leaderboard of influencers at their event.
This sparked a creative competition. During #RedskinsSocialDay 2016, attendees competed for a spot in the top three on Zoomph’s influencer leaderboard.
Since ranking relied on a high ZPoints score, which, in turn, relied on high-quality content that earned engagement online, fans got more creative with their posts than in prior years.
— Kia (@iSimplyKia) August 14, 2016
— Maurice Hawkins, Jr. (@HawkDiesel1906) August 14, 2016
Last year’s Social Day produced over 1,700 posts with the hashtag #RedskinSocialDay—many of which the Redskins could reuse in their UGC marketing across their digital properties.
Bingo Lights Up Social Media
To get creative juices flowing, the Redskins and Zoomph coordinated social media bingo.
Attendees engaged with the team online and completed various missions for a chance to win BINGO—a.k.a. two tickets to a pre-season game against the Buffalo Bills.
As with the ZPoints leaderboard contest, bingo inspired attendees to produce interesting, Redskins-related content all across social media (read: free PR and marketing for the team).
Positive Feedback All Around
Diehard Redskins’ fan and University of Louisville professor, Karen Freberg, recounted a memorable experience at #RedskinsSocialDay 2016.
“How would I rate my experience at #RedskinsSocialDay? I had a FABULOUS time!” she writes. “This type of event really brings forth a sense of community and allows you to engage both virtually AND in person to create stories, memories, and experiences to share with everyone. Well done, Washington Redskins!”
Fans of the #RedskinsTweetTeam, a group formed organically by fans wanting to connect with other fans across the globe, also caught up at Social Media Day.
— C. W. Barr (@RCRedskins) August 14, 2016