It’s that time again for the Fall Classic, as the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals match up to take home the pennant. As a native of Dallas, I’ll be cheering for my Rangers, but MLB deserves a massive applause for its use of social media this year. That’s because the MLB hit a social media grand slam with the use of the “Fan Cave.”
If you’re new to baseball, this is an initiative that the MLB launched on the first day of the season. Two fans were selected to watch every single game of 2011. That’s no small feat as their total has hit 2,429 games! But they’ve mixed in appearances by celebrity guests, and documented it all through blogs, video, Twitter and Facebook.
The success was immense. According to ESPN, the two celebrity couch potatoes have built a fan base of a combined more than 150,000 fans on Twitter, while also creating more than 300 blog posts and 200 videos (some of which have gone viral). Tweets about the Fan Cave were 45% positive which far exceeds the 15%-20% average.
Now those numbers sound great, but have they had an impact? Even if you ignore the fact that all the material that was created over the past year can be repackaged for further marketing material, there’s a more tangible success. According to the ESPN article, the average baseball fan is 45 years old, but the average Fan Cave follower was 28. That’s reaching a new market, and an impressive feat.
What can be learned from the Fan Cave’s success? Here are three takeaways to keep in mind, when thinking up your next social media initiative:
- Use Engaging Personalities – The two fans picked to watch the games in the cave knew baseball, could speak and write baseball and people wanted to hear from them about baseball. That goes a long way in encouraging buzz. Assure your representative knows what he or she will be promoting because the fans can tell the difference
- Experiment – The content coming out of the Cave changed constantly as the MLB worked to find the right voice and encourage more fans. When they found something that people enjoyed, the Fan Cave team jumped on it to utilize the content, while looking for similar opportunities. That assures fresh, interesting material
- Fund It – Don’t be afraid to put some money behind the campaign. While this largely used social media to continue the campaign throughout the year, the MLB had to fork up rent for a large studio in downtown New York City. They also paid the two fans for their “work” throughout the year. That can be pricey for social media, but if you ask the MLB, they would no doubt say it was worth it