Sacramento Kings' social media headquarters proves to be a cut above the rest
With a reported 90% of current NBA players on Twitter and the league committed to social media unlike any other in professional sport, it came as little surprise when one if its franchises established a social media headquarters courtside at their stadium.
The Sacramento Kings were said franchise and the Kings are dedicated to embracing social media as a way of engaging with fans and enhancing the all-round experience of NBA-lovers. "Kings Social Media Headquarters was developed to provide greater organisational transparency and to showcase the team’s commitment to its online initiatives," said Sacramento Kings Director of New Media Andrew Nicholson, "It also serves as a functional workstation that allows us to share superior in-game access and updates, as well as offers a space in which we can reward digitally savvy fans with a chance to get as close as possible to on-court action."
The Kings offer a number of initiatives through their social platforms including the chance for their most ardent social media fans to win the chance to watch their team from courtside and this assault on the digital world of sport is a conscious effort from the Kings to not only improve their fans' enjoyment of matches but also enhance the team's marketing opportunities through the reach of a number of social platforms. If you wanted further proof as to the Kings' seriousness towards digital media then look no further than the creation of their headquarters and dedicated five-man team of new media experts that include Nicholson.
"[The new media team's] collective skill sets complement one another so we are able to deliver information and content in a variety of interactive ways, ranging from dynamic creative and unparalleled video to vivid images and compelling storytelling. The integration of all Kings business and marketing initiatives into the bilateral conversation with our fans is essential because it delivers the most direct link between the organisation and its loyal supporters. It affords the greatest avenue in which the team can share emotionally-connective content in the variety of ways in which fans wish to receive it, as well as provides a way in which the team can engage in real-time customer support.
"Working in a field that constantly evolves, we are often inspired by fellow social media efforts, websites and organisations. At the same, we are dedicated to providing greater access, more unique content and new ways in which to engage with and enhance our loyal supporters’ Kings experience, so we are continuously exchanging ideas to advance our efforts," said Nicholson.
One look at their website's "Social Networks" section and you begin to realise the extent to which the Kings are willing to go to ensure fans are offered every available opportunity to share their favourite team's fortunes online. The dedicated page has links to the Twitter handles of all the players and staff as well as links to the Kings' various social platforms including Pintrest, Foursquare, Instagram, YouTube and Google+ amongst others. Compare this to the most socially savvy of the UK's various sports teams and you quickly realise that British clubs and leagues are left in the digital wake of their American counterparts.
While the UK market reacts somewhat tentatively towards the ever-increasing number of sports professionals on social media, largely down to perceived misuse of the sites from high profile names and a surprising lack of humour towards some of sport's heroes, the U.S. is given great encouragement by sports governing bodies to embrace social media albeit responsibly. Nicholson offered up some wise advice for those that tend not to think before they tweet and also believes that the likes of the NBA's attitude towards digital space helps to humanise a level of super stardom that often seems inconceivably inhuman for the mere mortals that can only dream of playing the sport they love in front of thousands of people and broadcast the world over.
"Much like the organisation’s effort to connect the Kings with their fans, we encourage Team Members to be active, authentic and positive participants in social media as a way to engage with their network – and its extension – to foster ambassadors of both the individual and team. One general piece of advice I often personally reference, and impart upon others, is a tip I gleaned from my former boss, Mitch Germann: Before posting a message or photo on any respective social media site, ask yourself the following question: “Are you comfortable with your name and business affiliation being associated with the content as the top story on a popular blog or in the newspaper?” If the answer is yes, it’s likely a positive thing to post. If you’re unsure of the answer, it’s likely best to consider withholding the post or reaching out to a supervisor for guidance.
"The NBA has fully embraced social media, and we feel fortunate to be a part of a league that puts all of its organisations in position to be innovative. Since its advent, social media has been a catalyst to humanising brands – including teams and players – as well as shaping new ways in which to experience and engage with the game – in the stands, online and in the community," added Nicholson.
You can follow Nicholson (@A_Nicholson) and the Kings (@SacramentoKings) on Twitter.