As excitement builds for the Brooklyn Nets first home game on November 1 and the borough prepares to welcome its first professional sports team since 1957, the Nets are hard at work rolling out digital content to engage Brooklynites, Nets fans and basketball fans in general.
With a presence on eight networks – including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, Socialcam and Youtube – and a range of content, from #HelloBrooklyn hashtags to find-the-Brooklyn-neighborhood word searches, the Nets’ presence on social media is growing rapidly. And this is before they have even played a single regular season game in their new home. From the end of last season, the Nets have grown their Twitter followers from 93,000 to 163,000 and their Facebook fans from 208,000 to 573,000.
Jayne Bussman-Wise, digital director for the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, says the brand switched all of its social accounts to the Brooklyn Nets with the new brand and logo launch on April 30. The team has had Twitter and Facebook accounts since 2009 and a Tumblr account since 2011. All other platforms launched in 2012 with the team’s Brooklyn brand launch.
The point of these initiatives is to engage fans, to provide fun and engaging content and to build the Nets’ fan base, she says.
“We also want to surprise and delight our fans whenever possible,” Bussman-Wise adds.
Ian Schafer, chief executive of digital agency Deep Focus, says an interesting aspect of the Nets social growth is that it is highly celebrity-driven by owner Jay Z, who himself is not particularly active on social media. With 904,000 followers, @JayZ follows 12 Twitter users and has 825 tweets. The account says it is maintained by Roc Nation, an entertainment company created through a partnership between Jay Z and Live Nation in 2008.
Schafer says growth is also attributable to the “inherent connectedness of downtown Brooklyn.”
The Nets say they are seeing the most traction so far on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Socialcam. Indeed, the Nets already have over one million followers on Socialcam, the video-sharing service, where they post videos like highlights from training camp or nutrition tips from the Nets’ strength and conditioning coach.
According to Schafer, the Nets probably don’t need to be on Pinterest as fans are more likely to be on Instagram because the latter caters to a younger crowd. The Nets have just 492 followers on Pinterest.Schafer says the reason the Nets are likely seeing traction on Facebook, Twitter and Socialcam is also because they are where the Nets’ audience is interacting online. Instagram, for example, is a great medium for entertainment brands because it is so visual, making it a natural fit for the Nets, he says.
Twitter, too, is great for a sports team as it has an inherent urgency that lends itself to breaking news like injuries and scores. In addition, the Nets are using Twitter to post videos, photos, promos and calls to share content, among others.
“I would always say pick the platforms wisely and then grow deep within them rather than trying to spread yourself across everything,” Schafer says. “So for [the Nets], they could be everywhere, but it’s probably not wise to do everything.”
Even professional athletes who play other sports are getting into the excitement. On October 10, Nino Niederreiter of the New York Islanders tweeted:
— nino niederreiter (@thelnino25) October 11, 2012
As Schafer sees it, excitement will only continue to build.
“The really interesting stuff is in following the guys on the team – they’re young and into social media,” he says. “These players were previously buried in New Jersey. Now they’re in the media and social media spotlight. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes.”