Why your team’s Twitter account needs to be more like the LA Kings’ Twitter account
Unless you’re currently trapped in a mine in Siberia, you’ve probably heard about the LA Kings’ tweet and the ensuing controversy.
Here’s the tweet:
To everyone in Canada outside of BC, you're welcome.—
LA Kings (@LAKings) April 12, 2012
Not only that, but it blatantly ignores my advice to Canucks fans from yesterday, which has me all pouty now.
This wasn’t a comment about Kesler’s diving, it wasn’t a tweet editorializing about Bitz’s injurious hit on Kyle Clifford, and it wasn’t a comment about what happened in last years Stanley Cup Finals. This was a harmless joke about the – frankly indisputable – fact that the LA Kings have picked up some news fans this week who will root for the team at least through this series.
Look, if you manage the social media for a certain product, you’re not going to be sitting around impartially tweeting that your product is exactly equal to your competitor’s product, are you? You’re going to be all “yay us!” all the time.
And if you manage the social media for a sports team especially, you’re not going to tweet “all teams are equal, I hope everybody shares the championship!” Everything about your brand has to be “go us!”
Thinking that any sports team’s PR should be impartial is like saying the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders should cheer for the visiting team for half the game. It just doesn’t work that way.
Besides, I am among the many, many intertubes-dwellers that wish more accounts were like the LA Kings account, or the equally entertaining Columbus Blue Jackets account.
If you cheer for a big market team, chances are your team’s Twitter account is dull at best, or horribly annoying at worst ^BISH.
Take the sinfully boring Montreal Canadiens Twitter account, for example. It tweets links to the site, updates during a game, news about equipment sales or charity events, and the first line of a press release when someone gets fired. That’s it. They rarely encourage interaction or do giveaways, which has long bothered me not because I want free stuff (unless you have some to give me right now) but because it’s a sign that they take their fans for granted and reeks of arrogance and elitism. They’re also stingy with post-game quotes from the players, which I’ve decided is lazy because they know 5873408573 journalists are doing their job for them.
The Toronto Maple Leafs account, on the other hand, is the epitome of annoying. They took one pillar of marketing strategy, the encouragement of fan participation and interaction, and turned it into a three-times-a-week headdesk-fest. If you aren’t familiar (again, if you’re trapped at the bottom of a mine in Siberia), at some point this season, the Leafs marketing people decided that they would give a jersey or prize pack or tickets or something (of value, which should be noted), to the fan who posted a “tweet of the night.” You’re eligible if you use the #TMLTalk hashtag.
Sounds good, right?
I’ve often described #TMLTalk as “every Leafs fan you don’t follow for a reason being shoved into your timeline against your will.” They take the most inane tweets and retweet them, then pick the worst-spelled, silliest tweet and give its author a $200 jersey (is that fair, I ask you?). Now, you can use Twitter filters for that hashtag, but some of them always get through. They always find a way to get through.
A couple of other big-market team accounts, such as the New York Rangers one or the Philadelphia Flyers one, will sometimes retweet things fans say, but they usually waive the requirement for it to be the stupidest tweet in the world before doing so. They’ll also do fun stuff (the Vancouver Canucks do this too) like “guess where this is [picture], be the first to come here, and get two free playoff tickets.” But for the most part, they’re pretty boring.
Why not? They don’t have to be interesting or entertaining at all. I mean, I still follow the Canadiens account even though I hate it, because I love the Canadiens.
When you’re a small-market team like the Blue Jackets or a tiny-market-team-in-a-gigantic-market like the LA Kings, however, it doesn’t hurt to be entertaining. Again, from Drance’s piece:
The LA Kings Twitter account got more play out of riling up overly sensitive Canucks fans tonight, than it has probably ever generated at any point in its existence. They’ve made “news”, they’ve driven conversation, and they’ve taken on a manageable level of negative attention to do so. It’s ballsy, but effective, and I applaud them for going beyond the pablum most official team accounts more regularly serve up.
This is why the LA Kings account trolling the Vancouver Canucks fanbase was a smart, not stupid thing to do.