As the lockout-shortened NHL season is coming to a close, let’s take a look back at some of the new things we saw from NHL social media.
And before we start, it should be noted most of the creativity when it comes to social media is done by teams trying to advance their market share; teams like the Montreal Canadiens don’t need to do any extraordinary efforts to develop a bigger brand because they’re already established.
Social Media Centers
This is the first time we saw social media watering holes at games. The Columbus Blue Jackets held a suite open for those active in the social media realm which included charging stations for electronic devices and WiFi. And the Tampa Bay Lightning had a dedicated booth set up with a video board displaying all social media posts by fans.
Remains to be seen if this will catch on. I don’t exactly see the need for in-person social media gatherings apart from charging stations and free WiFi. Theoretically, a team could just have WiFi built arena-wide, like the Islanders will have when they move to the Barclays Center, and then charging stations or outlets readily available, then everyone is digitally supported. And besides, the digital space is exactly that, digital. Not in-person?
Social Loyalty Programs
We saw the first social rewards programs geared towards rewarding actions such as posting, sharing, and such through social media. The Capitals were the first, but the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes also introduced programs. To me, this seems like a no-brainer for teams to incorporate. It takes quite the social butterfly to pull off some of these prizes, but some great ones can be had, like being the pre-game siren sounder for the Hurricanes or a broadcast booth experience with them.
The Twitter-bought Vine app is a great alternative to YouTube and we’re starting to see teams utilize this, like a game-preview from the New Jersey Devils. The Carolina Hurricanes also created a Vine summarizing their teasers for their new jerseys.
As a lead-up to their jersey unveiling, the Hurricanes revealed a great series of teasers on their Instagram account, showing off different part of the new look. They also created a unique hashtag around the event.
This year was also the first time an NHL team reached the 400,000 Twitter follower milestone (congrats Montreal Canadiens) and also the first 100,000 follower mark on Instagram by the New York Rangers, I believe.
Social blunders by the PR departments of NHL teams recently:
Twitter takeovers are great, just be careful who you pick:
— LA Kings (@LAKings) May 22, 2013
— AJ Strong (@aj_strong) May 22, 2013
Always, always proofread:
— Sir White House Racoon (@SirCanuckles) June 9, 2013
And this was just…something else, whatever it was:
— Will Exline (@WExline) June 10, 2013
Luke Tully recently joined The Hockey Writers. He runs his own blog puckbiz.com and also contributes content to another sports business site. Follow him on twitter @LukeTully.