The Boston Celtics take it to the court at the TD Garden, thousands of screaming fans cheering them on, and anxiously awaiting the swoosh of a winning shot, the final buzzer, and a Celtics victory. The Boston Celtics are just one team in the National Basketball Association, but they are a team making a slam dunk in social media. Their twitter and instagram presence is huge, and they are going way beyond just playing on the court. Considered by Hubspot as one of the top 10 best-branded companies on Instagram, the Boston Celtics connect with their fans through the joy of the game, the history of their home city, the luck of the Irish, and the real-time moments that make their players and their dedication to the game palpable and contagious.
The First Half: Listening and Establishing an Audience
Sports fans have a constant appetite for news, up-to-date information, and insider access to their favorite teams. The Boston Celtics build upon their reputation of hard work and fast play, capturing their team in real moments, displaying team togetherness, spirit, and love for the game. These are not images ESPN can capture, but moments in time, moments followers can share, “like,” and come back to see.
Once a team has established themselves on social media platforms, it is in their best interest to indulge these fans with insider information, while also learning as much as possible about them. From a business standpoint understanding these potential “customers” and their interests, values, and even their favorite food will help convert them from an occasional visitor, to a loyal fan and seat filler.
Second Half: Keep Them on Their Toes
When halftime ends, what are the Celtics and brands doing to keep these fans coming back for more? Sports fans expect scores and news on a continuous basis, and faster than ESPN can broadcast it. The Celtics, sports fans, and businesses alike have insider access, and the ability to break the news before the well-connected journalist can send out their first tweet. The exclusivity of this information and images demonstrate ownership and exclusivity. What the Celtics have showcased is their ability to own their social channels and provide fans with an inside look at the organization, striking a chord, and making friends along the way.
The Celtics have some of the biggest followers in professional sports. There are metrics that define their success, such as ticket sales, database growth, and promotion participation (source: briansolis.com). However, in order to do social media right they appeal to their fans’ passions. For the Boston Celtics this is easier to sense than for the typical brand. Begin by surveying fans, reaching out to the influencers in the social media space, collecting data, and perhaps, embracing the luck of the Irish.