Following last week’s very well-received “Twitter Report”, we thought we’d share our observations on our Vancouver Pro Teams’ leverage of Facebook.

For some comparisons among the teams and some context within their own leagues, we’ve charted their activity followed by some commentary on what we  read into this info.

Team Custom Landing Page
Fans (League Rank)
Extras Team Albums
Fan Photo Uploads
Canucks (NHL) Yes 282,684 (7) Mobile Gifts Links 129 4,000+
LIONS(CFL) No 21,114 (3) Events, YouTube Discussion 11 133
WHITECAPS FC (MLS) Yes 5,540 (19) Events Discussion Polls Links 45 ——–
GIANTS (WHL) No 5,015 (N/A) ——– 5 500+
CANADIANS (MiLB) Yes 747 (est 88) Events Tickets Schedule Video Audio Wallpaper 6 17

*data captured from Pat Coyle’s Sports Fan Graph ; WHL not tracked; C’s not listed but can be placed based on their #s

Facebook Leverage Analysis

While Facebook may look like a numbers racket (more fans =success), we all know that numbers alone won’t cut it.   It’s what you do with those eyeballs that count.   And like many qualitative things, there is no absolute ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ here but we can offer some observations on where things are done well, or where we see potential for each of our  ‘604’ teams to improve.

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Everyone loves them…on the ice and online

What they do well:

Numbers

Number One in town and in the NHL, so it stands to reason that should translate to FB- and it does.

Team Albums

Sharing loads of photos with fans provides extra value, encourages fans to share them further, there’s a great organization as well as quantity here.  (check out the Indy Colts

Interaction

With those numbers you’d expect to see the chatter and in fact you, do.  All the posts see lots of comments.

Custom Landing Page

Lots of features built-in, almost a micro-site and direct access to mobile apps, store and other most-often sought web info.  While it’s flashy & a bit busy, I think it’s in line with their audience and recognizes Facebook as many people’s de facto portal to the web.

What Could Improve:

Search

Search “Vancouver Canucks” and hit enter – you land on a blank page with a logo.  Pulling up the search results will get you the “official page’ as well as a dozen ‘knock-offs’ that run under the title Vancouver Canucks and use the official logo.  If I’m responsible for this brand, I’m not too happy about this clutter. I’d reach  out to these other ‘page owners’ and suggest they use an image for their page that demonstrates their passion in lieu of the official logo.

Photos

Wow! 4,000+ fans have posted photos to the Canucks site.  WHOA! Not too sure how the middle finger in front of the American flag and  “Rick Foreskin’s custom toilet seat covers” (even WITH a Canucks’ logo. ) go with the Canuck’s image.  We found quite a few “gems” among their page’s fan-posted photos just on page 1– perhaps a few minutes of editing each morning ?

 

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

New site for a new club, lots of potential to unlock.

What they do well:

Custom Landing Page

Nice look & feel to it – less busy than the Canucks with two key click-through buttons:  Merchandise & Tickets.

Numbers

Very respectable for a ‘new’ club.

They are working hard to drive the page.

Photos

45 Albums – that’s awesome .  Again, fans enjoy content and these albums provide this with breadth and depth.

What Could Improve:

Search

The Whitecaps Blog page comes up first with 9 friends – if I click on this first, I’m thinking the airspace here is quiet.

Content

Most of the posts seem to be coming out of a central feed and are “broadcast” in nature – in social media, the equivalent of monopolizing a conversation talking about yourself – should improve as team roster evolves and new ‘club identity’ emerges.

 

BC LIONS

King of the forest, king of the networks…..

What they do well:

Interaction

As noted in last week’s post on teams’ Twitter usage, the Leos are doing an outstanding job of talking to their fans.  It’s the off-season but there’s still great chatter.

Content

The posts are full of inside info, basics, extras and invites to fans to post.  Posts also have a nice conversational tone, so even those promoting tix or news feel more suited to the medium.

Numbers

For a franchise of their size and value the ‘fan base’ in FB is impressive.  Second to the Canucks in the “604” area code.

Albums & Video

Again – great use of FB.  And here a good mix of fans, team & field.   Really great of them to further leverage their investment in some fun TV spots by posting them all here for sharing.

Events

While a few other franchise posted their events, the Lions seem to use this quite a bit which provides a sense of “belonging” to this club.   For one suburban pub event, fans posted saying they would have come but the Friday date and the lack of proximity to a skytrain station kept them away – you likely wouldn’t get that kind of feedback anywhere else (or at least not as quickly and cheaply).

What Could Improve:

Extras

A few of the simple fan extras that other teams are using (schedule, audio & wallpapers) would be welcome, especially if they are ‘exclusive’ to Facebook fans.  Incorporating their team gift shop could add something here, given that the main team store is fairly far away, and it may be well appreciated given the passion of the fan base.  Check out the posts around Christmas gifts — and they aren’t even in-season!

The Lions are ready to take it to the next level.  There are some terrific FB apps, games and ways to support their charities & causes that can be incorporated here.   Things that reward existing fan engagement and maybe entice tech-savvy Vancouverites to become Lions fans.

 

VANCOUVER GIANTS

What they aren’t doing on Twitter they are making up for in Facebook.  In spades.

What’s Going Well:

Interaction

Every time they post they’re looking at double-digit response rates from their fans.  It’s easy to hit the “like” button while you’re checking the page, but often the comments well outweigh the likes.  Giants fans are taking the time to engage – even on the most standard posts:

This is also apparent in the fan photo uploads at a very respectable 500+, and all of them suitable for the family to see.

Numbers

Again, great digits for this market and relative to their franchise age and fan base in this market.

What Could Improve:

Extras

Like the Leos, I think they have some great upside to exploit given the activity and visit frequency they have in this space.  There’s merit in keeping the page simple (as the Lions have done), and focusing on the strength of Facebook – interaction and sharing – but as a team with passionate fans you want to make sure you’re using any ready-avenue to foster & fuel that, and this is a fantastic, COST-effective medium to do that.

Search

As with the Canucks, there are several pages that pop up titled “Vancouver Giants” and using the official team logo.  As the team is using a special 10th anniversary logo this year, that can make it a bit trickier for fans to land on the right page the first time.  May be worth looking into as noted above for the Canucks.

 

VANCOUVER CANADIANS

New affiliation, new social media agreement with MiLB, so time to rev up the engines.

What’s working here:

Custom Landing Page

The custom landing page is simple and gets right on the call to action, requesting you to ‘like’ the page AND indicating what’s in it for you, exclusive offers– it’s surprising to us that a lot of consumer-oriented pages still miss this important element.

Extras

The C’s have done a nice job of providing the key elements that fans would frequent on their web site, and replicating them here in a clean and simple interface

The video and audio are nice elements, as are the wallpapers and schedule at a glance.

Look and Feel

I think they’ve done a nice job here of carrying over the C’s identity without overwhelming the FB space.

What could be better:

Numbers

These are pretty low at this point relative to the other franchises in town (Canucks aside), so hopefully a bit of a campaign will get them there.  (pssstt….see Whitecaps post above)

Lower numbers mean fewer fans ‘liking’, sharing and commenting on posts.  Staff can rev this up by pushing out through their own networks and again, running a bit of a campaign with the fans they do have.  Have “Joe Fan” send a note out to 10-20 friends encouraging them to “like” the page and send in the comment “Joe Fan” sent me.  For every 20 friends he brings, send him a ticket or buy him a beer.

Interaction

This should follow the numbers and the content, but bears repeating……the medium demands —- and rewards —- two-way conversations, so as you build keep this at the forefront of your thoughts.  MiLB is built on the foundation of promotions and baseball on the foundation of passion for every nuance of the game (who else creates stats for the sake of stats?), so even with the current small numbers there is opportunity to engage in highly interactive dialogue.

Content

For the moment, the content is more “broadcast” and promo in nature given the light numbers and interaction.  Until those build, I’d recommend more “fun”, “insider peeks” and FB-exclusives to reward those that are visiting the page and incent others to have a look.

Video clips could work harder for them (think clips that have better viral-appeal, or seem less ‘produced’)

 

Our 5T (Five Thoughts) on Vancouver’s Pro Teams’ Facebook Pages

Our Teams Are “On It”

The 604 is a pretty tech-savvy town, and our sports teams are out in front of many others. They have devoted the manpower and have clearly embraced social media as an important element of the marketing and communications.  Though it’s hard to believe there are still quite a few folks in the sports world who aren’t convinced or who are present but just dialing it in.

Build It and They Will Come …. ..And Talk, And Post Photos and Give Feedback

The Giants and Lions are just killing it in terms of fan conversations.  The Whitecaps have done a pretty good job of getting their peeps over to the ‘new club page’ in a short amount of time and are doing some nice promos in the space.

The Canucks have done a terrific job of providing photos and extras through their page, and the C’s have a nice framework built and the extras on FB are fan-centric, so hopefully as the numbers fill in they will see similar action.

All 5 teams have a good grasp of the features and have made some clear choices about how they want to put Facebook to work for them – sales tool, fan engagement, profile builder.  As with all marketing it’s fluid, and luckily as a medium, inexpensively so.

What More Can They Do?

Dial-Up the “Exclusives”

Reward fans for using Facebook (and Twitter) to connect with your property.  These are the hyper-engaged fans who seek out and consume info in the off-season.  Rabidly passionate fans recruit their friends to their passion, give them the ammo.   A fundamental tenet of marketing is creating a sense of ‘belonging’ as in (exclusive) company, so keep a few promos inside this ‘clubhouse’ – no web, radio or other communication vehicle.

Incorporate Location-Based Social Media Games

It used to cost a good chunk of change to develop a mobile app, and with all the different phones and fans lukewarm to pay for the texts, not always a winning cost-value equation.   Mobile social media will continue to explode and tapping this adds a fantastic ‘fun’ factor and extend your franchise beyond the stadium.   Foursquare, Gowalla and QR Codes make scavenger hunts, promos for remote fans and sponsor integration fast, cheap and measureable (the holy trinity of promotion!).  Your wireless sponsors will thank you twice.

Wrap Your Causes in the Current Fashion

Times have certainly changed for causes – we care, we share that we care and now we can do it without getting up from our chair (click, done).  And to quote Zoolander, causes are ‘so hot right now’ – they’ve gone from a folding table on the stadium concourse to actually driving ticket sales for the team on their promo night.  Putting your cause front & center on Facebook gives you content mix,  dials up the activity on the page and builds the affinity between the team and cause in an incredibly strong way.  For more on this see our September blog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts.  Agree, disagree or add insights of your own.

 

Categories: Social Media

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