Twitter is the best thing ever because everyone has a platform to express their opinions. Twitter is also the worst thing ever because of those very same reasons.
Social media has turned those conversations that used to be confined to watercooler chats into all day, every day affairs, making standing out in the sports community as difficult as ever. So how does an aspiring journalist, an engaged fan or someone involved in the sports industry set themselves apart from the echo chamber that is Twitter?
It’s not an exact science, but based on my analysis of the most popular sports-related accounts and my professional experience running social media accounts for some of the biggest companies in the country, I was able to pinpoint three best practices you can follow to make a name for yourself in the world of #sportstwitter.
Why do you follow the Twitter accounts that you do? Chances are it’s because those individuals and brands provide some sort of value to you.
Are you into analytics and data visualization? Then following someone like Mara Averick is a must since she regularly shares the most interesting studies on data in sports.
— Mara Averick (@dataandme) December 19, 2016
— Mara Averick (@dataandme) December 13, 2016
Is staying up to date on the latest trends in sports technology critical to your job? Giving SportTechie and Taylor Bloom a follow will cut down on the time you have to spend finding the news most relevant to you.
— Taylor Bloom (@taylorhbloom) December 20, 2016
— SportTechie (@SportTechie) December 26, 2016
To jump start your brand building efforts, you need to constantly provide value to your audience. Your followers will be more likely to engage with your content if you serve them content that educates, motivates or entertains them.
Additionally, remember that less can sometimes be more when it comes to posting content. Valuing quality over quantity is never a bad thing, so think about balancing your stream of consciousness style with well-thought out tweets that provide useful content for your followers.
What type of value can you provide to your audience?
Engage with Your Audience
If you’re a sports fan, you probably know who Jim Weber is. And if you follow him, it’s probably because of one of three reasons:
- You loved Lost Letterman
- You’re a die-hard Michigan fan
- His Twitter content entices you to interact with him
Jim didn’t accumulate a following of nearly 100,000 Twitter followers by serving up one-way content. He made a concerted effort to interact with his audience and serve up content the sports community wanted to respond to.
Gonna have to poll this: Cris Collinsworth as a color analyst is:
— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) December 26, 2016
Richard Jefferson needs a nickname beyond RJ.
The Warrior Killer? Old Man River? The Runaway Groom? Old Man Runaway Killer? 🤔
— College Sports Only (@OfficialCSO) December 25, 2016
POD: In honor of today's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, which ex-Rams DE, 4-time Pro Bowler + Super Bowl 40 champion am I??? pic.twitter.com/1QgEa5Wvlj
— Jim Weber (@JimMWeber) December 22, 2016
As you can see, Jim likes to post content that is both relevant to current events and requires interaction from his followers. Although his follower base is fairly large, Jim tries his hardest to respond to the majority of his Twitter mentions as this may entice new people to follow him and build his network outside of social media.
As I mentioned earlier, Twitter can be a full-blown echo chamber at times, so posting quality content from a unique perspective or lens is a surefire way to set your persona apart from the rest.
Is Richard Jefferson old? Yep, but instead of saying just that, @DragonflyJonez provided some more color to that fact that also showcases his basketball knowledge:
RJ played with Luke Walton at Arizona. Luke has retired, had two assistant gigs, and is a head coach now. https://t.co/mOSOWxpSqE
— Larry Beyince (@DragonflyJonez) December 25, 2016
In addition to providing a unique spin to trending topics in sports, Mr. Jonez combines his hip-hop interests, historical knowledge and quick-wit humor with his sports awareness to craft a unique experience for his followers.
I thought he might be an alien when he threw that no look towel that knocked the cup of water out of Draymond's hand but this confirms it https://t.co/oXtODuLXBY
— Larry Beyince (@DragonflyJonez) December 23, 2016
We owe so much to the idiots who Naismith found who were down to play a sport where you throw a volleyball in a peach basket
— Larry Beyince (@DragonflyJonez) December 21, 2016
Teanna is really incorporating her hands now. This is like when MJ came back from retirement and started posting defenders up.
— Larry Beyince (@DragonflyJonez) December 16, 2016
What can you provide to the conversation that is unique?
Gaining followers and building a social media persona don’t have to be mutually exclusive. By taking time to curate your tweets and to develop a posting strategy that hits on the best practices listed in this blog, you can expand your Twitter network and craft an online persona that is both genuine and distinct.
Which sports-related Twitter accounts are you a fan of? What tips do you have for building your personal brand? Hit us up in the comments section and let us know.