When it comes to social media, there is more than one recipe for success.
Every day, especially in the sports world, presents its own set of challenges, and while being able to plan is always ideal, that isn't always possible. We work hard to be as prepared as we can, integrating our social calendar with the schedule of content that may occur on a given week. Everyone knows when National Pet Day or the NFL Scouting Combine is (or can find out), but often times topics 'trend' without the slightest connection to anything you can plan for.
Case and point on Tuesday.
To accurately explain the 'phenomenon' (I'm obviously joking) of our #friendship posts with the Carolina Panthers and Houston Astros, it is important to understand how we got to this point. The Carolina Panthers are widely recognized as among the sports world's best when it comes to Twitter, using a voice that resonates with their fans and the rest of the league's. If you think about it, their tone on Twitter almost feels like their best player (Cam Newton) is behind the keyboard, and they have done a good job of making their feed feel like it is coming straight from the team's locker room. While having a great year obviously helps them be able to take chances in this area, they are quick to interact with other teams (and media, brands, etc.) at the drop of a hat.
We know that all too well. In the lead up to our game against the Panthers in Week 3 of last season, a simple tweet about our Madden prediction turned into a quick conversation about video games. See below.
That interaction lasted a few tweets and that was it. However, the connection had already been made. Over time, we've (our social staff) built relationships with the people behind their Twitter accounts, so it lent itself to a future meeting in the Twitter realm. All that was needed was a catalyst. Enter Houston Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez.
Astros players have taken to the idea of wearing football helmets during postgame press conferences, with outfielder George Springer rocking a Texans helmet whenever possible.
Gomez's head gear choice was slightly different on Monday, as he rocked a Panthers helmet, explaining that his favorite player was the aforementioned Newton. From that point, Carolina's social staff noticed, as the exchange began.
At the time our social squad saw that tweet, I was about to enter a meeting. Our integrated media coordinator, Jesse Clark, showed me the Panthers response and asked if we should chime in. Without much time to think, I made a comment about how we should defend our turf, and then proceeded to my meeting. From there, we texted back and forth to figure out which GIF we should respond with (we love GIFs, or I should actually say I love GIFs). He chose the Jon Stewart expression, and just like that we had interjected ourselves into the affair.
After that meeting, I had two others I had to jump in back to back. Unbeknownst to me, the banter continued, and the Texans and Panthers Twitter feeds (with an assist from the Astros and Gomez himself) started a two-hour long conversation. By the time I had returned, the one original tweet had turned into nearly 10, filled with GIFs and references to a Night at Roxbury and the Hangover. In the immortal words of the great Ron Burgandy, "that escalated quickly."
The point of all this is to show that no matter how much you think you are ready, some of social media's best interactions occur in the moment. We didn't have 'Start a Twitter converation with the Panthers and Astros' on our social calendar on Tuesday morning, but it happened all the same. On Twitter especially, live events provide great opportunities for brands, teams and people to join the conversation as it taking place in real time. I can't tell you how many fans from all three teams weighed in on our conversation, creating an extra layer of engagement.
Sometimes things happen when you least expect it. Often times those situations are the most fun.
Even if you were in meetings the whole time it was happening. Another day in the social media world.