When teams’ social media feeds got real, made friends and started beefing

December 2020

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Kelly Cohenspan.

What’s all the gossip and self-mockery and gossip all of a sudden? The social media accounts of your favorite team, of course.

The line is thin for bills, especially in 2020, but when they do, the magic of the Internet works. And in a year in which sports fans had to find a new way to keep their teams at bay, it makes sense that account managers had to dig deep into their creative brains to connect with their fans.

And Friday, with the start of the bowling season, the school football play-offs, the NFL coming out of the last week of the regular season and the NBA coming out of the second week of the season, is a great time for team accounts on social media.

You know, I think one of the most important things we do is read the piece. In our case, our space is our millions of fans and our fan base and what’s happening around the world, Rael Entin, senior director of social media for the Washington soccer team, told ESPN. More than 1.2 million people follow the team on Twitter. Another 900,000 on Instagram.

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1 Connected

So the best thing we can do is respond…. You know, you really should think about it and not make any rash decisions, he explained.

He and social media team leader Astacia Williams won on the left and right side during the 2020-21 NFL season. They were able to reach the play-offs with another victory in week 17 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tough day for Yankees fans pic.twitter.com/4cKdsrH7wX

– The Washington football team (@WashingtonNFL) on November 27, 2020.

W pic.twitter.com/DS07oKcri7

– Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) December 8, 2020

They are one of many examples of professional and university sports teams creating a voice and identity for themselves through their social media accounts.

Find your voice

Williams joined the Washington football team in February 2020, months after Ron Rivera was hired and weeks before Chase Young was drafted into Ohio State University’s NFL design.

Since then, Washington’s voice on social media has completely shifted to focus on the residents of the DMV (i.e. the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia for those who don’t know – but if you follow the team’s reports, you do) who have been fans of the team through defeats and off-court turmoil.

We have a new era ahead of us – we want to bring our social voice into line with that, says Williams. So in the beginning we did this sound test and tried out different slogans and words, talked to the fans and included them in the comments and answers to capture the mood of our fans. And we just took the results and used them.

Compared to last year, Williams said that the team focuses entirely on fun, references to pop culture, music and fashion and ensures that players are known for more than just what they do on the field.

This is something we want to keep doing, Williams said. And that’s what we want to do if we continue to build our brand.

So while Enten and Williams had to design a brand, Alyssa Girardi and Gordon Weigers had another task: building a new brand.

The Vegas Golden Knights were founded as an expansion team and started playing in the NHL season 2017-18, just three years ago. Communicating and communicating with fans who are likely new hockey fans while living in Las Vegas is something the team has always been committed to since its inception.

So it was an important point for us in our first season, simply because we came to town and didn’t know the basics of the sport. Bringing your sport to a new city that didn’t previously have an NHL team, Girardi, Senior Director of Communications and Content, told ESPN.

They have realised that pop culture has been a huge asset on their social channels since they started using Twitter in 2017 – meaning they refer to their old and new favourites wherever possible.

Our secret is we started a meme #DistractedBoyfriend. That’s where it all started with pic.twitter.com/5QJcFp7h3R.

– Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) 29 August 2017

WE SWIFTY !!!!!!!! https://t.co/i9rszOFEQy

– Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) 29 October 2018.

In December 2018, the Knights soon welcomed Seattle as a new expansion team, and the Knights’ account was finally able to broadcast a favorite tweet that had remained in the designs.

There hasn’t been so much westward expansion between us and Seattle since the purchase of Louisiana #NHLSeattle.

– Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) on 4 December 2018.

A specific answer defines why social media are so important to the team: The history teacher, who is not a hockey fan, twittered about the team and called it one of the best things on the internet in a long time.

Make friends…

The Golden Knights met a friend, the UMBC Retrievers, on social media in 2018. These two accounts are connected because during the March madness, it’s the Internet.

At the NCAA Spring Tournament, UMBC became the first seeded team to beat the Virginia Cavaliers, the number 1 of the tournament. During the race, the team’s Twitter account became a place to challenge the critics, confirm the story and then enjoy the moment.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who are you? https://t.co/XGp9MacmGb.

– UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) 17 March 2018.


– UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) 17 March 2018.

A month later, the Golden Knights had just won the Pacific Division title on their way to the Stanley Cup final. They surprised the NHL world and became best friends with a buddy in a completely different sport.

Welcome to

– UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) 2 April 2018.

Since he goes viral with his tweets in 2018, Zach Seidel is still responsible for the social media accounts of the UMBC – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. He always has fun, and always shows off his personality.

… It’s important to show you’re not just a robot, Mr. Seidel said. I think there’s a fine line between being mean to the other team and having fun. But I think it’s really great because now you see all the kids on social media posting funny things about it, and I think it’s really great that it shows the funny side and personality.

… And enemies

Needless to say, it’s a lot of fun. However, some teams do not get along in real life or on social media. The entertainment that determines the rivalry throughout the year is reflected in the teams’ digital avatars.

When the NFL program for 2019 was released, the Atlanta Falcons used their wideout to bring down their rival, the New Orleans Saints. The Saints had lost to Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship the previous season after a seemingly obvious passing fine was not awarded.

Watch the jump of the ram and eliminate a member of the group.

Soccer’s on.

Full list ➡️https://t.co/vNuHMKwxTs pic.twitter.com/Xb91bWV7dB

– Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) 17 April 2019

And when former Falcon receiver Roddy White tweeted his criticism of Saints coach Sean Payton, who is playing with QB Taysom Hill this season, Payton responded quickly.

Sean Payton real RT d Roddy White pic.twitter.com/aDkLL28Zpn

– NFL on ESPN (@ESPNFL) November 22, 2020

But NFC’s southern rivals were not the only ones using social media. Big Ten football has been particularly grim this season.

Maryland shot Penn State:

GARDEN VELLI. pic.twitter.com/MLvELL9lf7

– Maryland Soccer (@TerpsFootball) 7 November 2020

KEY RACE ALERT pic.twitter.com/Bl4DOBAVd3

– Maryland Terrapines (@umterps) 7 November 2020

After Illinois Nebraska won, the team’s Good Game Nebraska account appeared on Twitter. Thanks for bringing B1G football.

Nebraska was one of three teams in the Big Ten to vote against the league’s proposal to cancel the season during the coronavirus pandemic, and then became one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the season resumption. Illinois finally got rid of the tweet.

The Connecticut Sun of the WNBA is known for taking matters personally online.

They all chose Washington. You have an MVP. We’re too young. We don’t have a megastar.

It’s cheap. Coming soon sunday pic.twitter.com/dtOSNr3gYn

– Connecticut Sun (@ConnecticutSun) 25 September 2019

Hello! Hello! @ConnecticutSun is our Twitter ID.

You seem to have forgotten.

Thank you! https://t.co/LaUmxGaNC0

– Connecticut Sun (@ConnecticutSun) 25 September 2019

Not so long ago, when the Sacramento Kings started the new NBA season 2-0, they felt like the only place they could be found after losing to the Phoenix Suns.

You don’t.

Lololol. https://t.co/gY1UiIHXEw.

– Phoenix of the Sun (@Zon) 28 December 2020

Together with the fans, digital

Apart from the controversy, most teams, including the social media managers of the Washington football team, have agreed to help their fans.

They represent a region or a brand. Or they give a fan the feeling that the people in the front office of their team are as passionate about rivalry as they are.

It’s all about having fun, says Girardi, the public relations manager of the Golden Knights. Laughter and frivolity – especially in this day and age – are the most important things for the Golden Knights accounts right now.

What a dinner walk in a bubble.

(goes fast, hungry) pic.twitter.com/ioZHL254e

– Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) 3 August 2020

there must be a guac around.

because everything is refreshing

– Vegas Golden Knights (@Golden Knights) 12 August 2020.

We like to draw the line between information and the user-friendliness of the game. We want people to be on our social channels and feel like friends watching the game with them, Girardi said.

You know that some people only watch the game, so let’s be friends and talk to those people and laugh and comment on the game.

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