Interacting with a favorite sports team on social media during a game can be almost as exciting as being there in person. But what about when the season ends, and there's nothing more to live-tweet? Well, your team is still there and sharing socially—and in the case of hockey's Tampa Bay Lightning, looking for any possible reason to keep fans engaged. Sometimes this means latching onto little-known holidays to get some social traction.
"Our digital team has this minor obsession with obscure holidays," said Caity Kauffman, social media and digital marketing manager for the Tampa Bay Lightning. "Beverage Day? Bring it on. Lefthanders Day? We've got plenty. Frankenstein Day, I'm coming for you."
According to Emory University's Sports Marketing Analytics program, the Tampa Bay Lightning is the 17th ranked team in regards to the equity of its fan base. The team has more than half a million social media followers, which is significant for a smaller team.
"In season, fans have an expectation of when we'll be active on social and digital," Kauffman said. "During offseason, we have to find a way to re-build that content expectation again."
On a recent "Bike to Work Day," the social team posted an old video of forward Nate Thompson riding his new bike around the locker room. After the video was posted on a Friday afternoon, it brought in 11 percent of their video views for the weekend. Not bad for a two-year-old piece of content.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) May 16, 2014
Another way to stay relevant in the off-season is to take advantage of the sports news mainstream. Player trades and competition in other leagues around the world provide numerous opportunities to engage with fans on social.
And if that doesn't keep sports fans engaged, there is always Twitter Tic-Tac-Toe.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) May 7, 2014
With 1,211 retweets and shares from numerous blogs and sports news sites, that game ended in a tie, and spontaneous interaction with the Columbus Blue Jackets netted the Lightning three times the amount of new daily followers.
For sports teams, staying active and aware on social media means that there is no off-season. We don't stop being fans when the game ends, why should they stop engaging with us when the season ends? Game on.