Bryan Srabian, Director of Social Media for the San Francisco Giants, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss dedicating a physical space to social, basing an editorial calendar on the baseball game schedule, and how to handle rivalries in the Twittersphere.
Read on for some of the highlights and tweetable moments, or listen to the full podcast.
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“You have to take your fandom and put it to the side. We are the face of the brand.” -@srabe (tweet this)
The Players are the Characters in our Story
Most Major League Baseball organizations have many people creating content in various ways. So while Bryan is really the core of the social media “team” for the San Francisco Giants, he is not the only one creating the content they share. His job is to take the content created throughout the organization and push it out to various social channels. The in-house video team and photographers take photos and videos, media relations handles trade information, and then Bryan makes sure fans are in the loop.
New this season, the @Cafe is the Giants’ unique physical space dedicated to social media within AT&T Park. A 12-foot-by-4-foot screen shows realtime social media updates from around the world, curated by Giants staff. The @Cafe also serves drinks, care of Peet’s Coffee and Tea, and offers a cell phone charging station. Bryan’s plan is to host live Twitter chats with players and continue to offer other features as the season goes on.
“The game schedule dictates a lot,” Bryan says. Baseball is different from other sports because of the frequency of games (almost every day during the season), so that means there is new information to push out to fans almost every day, as well: time and place of the game, the lineup, sponsored messages, photos or videos, ticket availability, and updates within the game. The editorial calendar is loosely based around the planned games and events at the stadium, but then a lot of content updates are based on what happens in the moment, both on and off the field.
Major League Baseball Advanced Media acts as the governing body of the MLB teams who are active on social media. MLBAM provides the Giants with a number of helpful resources, like the MLB At Bat app. Outside of a few restrictions – no live video of the game on Vine or Instagram, etc – the teams are mostly free to do what they want in terms of content.
Social Media Stat of the Week: NFL hires 32 bloggers
The NFL confirmed this week that it would hire 32 bloggers to cover this season: one for each team. The plan is to have all 32 in place by day 1 of the season. Compared to baseball, football has relatively few games per season, but fans spend an enormous amount of time consuming content related to their teams. When ESPN looked the time users spent looking at content for the top 32 teams across all sports, 31 of those were NFL teams (the Jacksonville Jaguars being the only NFL team to miss the top 32).
These ESPN blogs will be free and could offer competition to many of the daily papers, who are embracing paywalls. Social media, it seems, has not killed the blogosphere. It will be interesting to see how these blogs do during the course of the season.
Now at 65 million registered users, anonymous Q&A site ask.fm is taking over the teen communication world. Critics claim it creates a climate rife with bullying and other inappropriate behavior, but the site’s creators say that there is nothing inherently bad about the site; it’s meant to be a place where people can talk frankly with each other.
“Technology is always going to thwart parental attempts at control,” Jeff points out. “Teens are talking like this with each other all the time outside of parental earshot.” The difference is the platform they might be using. “You have to prepare them, not for specific technologies, but for situations.”
The challenge is: how do we arm teens with the right kind of common sense to tackle these new frontiers? Ultimately, you can’t arm them with answers; you can only arm them with questions.
The ask.fm community (unlike Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) is not gated, so users don’t necessarily know the anonymous people who are interacting with them.
Zena points out, “Some of the questions are exactly like the questions you have coached them to never answer: ‘What’s your phone number? Here’s where I’m going after school.’”
What’s worrying is that there are many teens who don’t have an adult in their life with whom they can be candid. This is an opportunity for our Social Pros to do outreach to help communities and schools navigate this new world. Otherwise, there is the risk of the reactionary “shut it down” attitude that can be just as damaging.
Four Your Information
How did you get involved in social media?
Bryan started with the Giants as an intern in the Media Relations department during college. He had originally dreamed of being a radio broadcast personality in sports. As marketing budgets were getting cut at his next job, he moved into social media as a branding and networking tool.
What do you like best about social media?
“Here is a chance for an everyday fan to voice their opinion, to connect with a player.” Social media allows people to connect in ways they couldn’t do before. The connection between the fans and the players and the team is unparalleled.
What do you like least about social media?
Other than anything the Dodgers do, Bryan doesn’t like how people use social media as their number one way to complain about the smallest inconveniences. He proposes a No Complaint Day on Twitter: one day of the whole year where no one complains about anything.
If you could do a Skype call with any living person, who might that be and why?
Bryan would want to talk with Jimmy Fallon and/or Jimmy Kimmel. They’re comedians who are using social in a fresh way, with two very different approaches. Both professionally and on a personal level, Bryan is attracted to that kind of humor, so if anything they’d have him laughing for the whole call.
See you next week!