Major League Baseball has been working this season to help its players improve their social media outreach to fans, as part of an initiative it quietly put in the works this year to provide them with unique media they can use across their personal accounts on various platforms.
The content ranges from video highlights and photos to graphics, cartoon imagery, logos and GIF files, and the league is collaborating with its clubs, as well as individual players and their representatives and agencies.
Following a reorganization of MLB’s marketing department last year, its social media team dedicated itself to changing the way people are consuming baseball and promoting the fun that the players are having, said Barbara McHugh, svp of marketing for MLB.
The league “recognized that consumers and fans want to follow players, and then the teams, and then the league, and then broadcast outlets,” said McHugh, so it set out to help boost players’ social followings with assets and other resources.
While the program is still in its early stages, said McHugh, participating players who are actively using it are seeing engagement across the board up 50%, with followers up 20% in many cases, and engagement levels are up overall for MLB’s social media channels across all platforms.
MLB is using content-management application Greenfly, co-founded by two-time All-Star Shawn Green, who spent 15 years as a player. The league has been working with Greenfly for three years.
Images, videos and other media are available to players via Greenfly, and they can download and share that content on their own social media platforms, as well as send messages to request specific content.
Players who have participated in the program thus far include Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, Houston Astros shortstop and third baseman Alex Bregman, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins.
Because there is no offseason for social media, the league followed Hoskins around Japan during the MLB Japan All-Star Series last November, as well as setting up shop in Snell’s house when he was revealed as the winner of the American League Cy Young Award that same month.
At marquee events such as the All-Star Game, the World Series, Players Weekend and this coming weekend’s London series between longtime rivals the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, the league will set up installations and activations, with different artists creating different backdrops.
Players can then capture photos and quick-hit videos, and the assets will be made available to them for use across their social platforms.
McHugh said players will be encouraged to take pictures and selfies during the next month’s All-Star festivities.
Elements outside of baseball are included in the program, as well, such as players’ fashion and their choices of walk-up music.
“Investing in these areas from a resource perspective and creating more player-focused content is something that players have interest in,” McHugh said.