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Tackling Social Response: Do NFL teams provide Social Customer Service to their fans?

Glenn Pacitti
By Glenn Pacitti on Sep 9, 2013 12:20:00 PM
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The NFL season kicked off this past weekend and millions of fans across the country tuned in to watch their favorite teams face off against their Week 1 opponents. And while the fans who dedicate their Sunday to supporting their teams are most likely experiencing a range of emotions, one thing is for certain: sports fans are LOUD on social media.

The proverbial “Monday Morning Quarterback” undoubtedly has a strong opinion about his team’s recent performance and isn’t shy about voicing it across his social pages. Whether it is uncontrollable excitement, passionate rage or somewhere in-between, the fans are talking…. but is your team listening? Do they talk back?  We decided to take a look into the social response of NFL teams to find out.

Things to Remember:

  • Sports teams are brands, meaning that they’re conscious of their reputation and how it affects revenue and the bottom line.
  • The top two consumer generated revenue sources for an NFL team are ticket sales and merchandising
  • With such high volumes of social chatter, NFL teams must carefully decide which posts, comments and tweets are worthy of a reply.
  • It’s also important to note that 97% of posts about a brand do not include @Mentions (The Guide to Proactive Customer Service on Twitter)

What We’ve Found:  In the week leading up to opening kickoff…

                    Twitter Engagement Leader: Minnesota Vikings The Vikes responded to 3.2% of their @Mentions.(Almost 2% higher than any other team)
      @Mentions per hour: Denver Broncos The Broncos received approximately 500 @mentions per hour!  (Hosting opening game on primetime television definitelyboosted  the “Bronco Talk”)  
Largest Following (Facebook & Twitter): Dallas Cowboys-Facebook- 5.49 million fans-Twitter- 627,529 followers


Are NFL Teams Responding on Social?

In most cases, no. The combined response rate across NFL teams is less than 1%!

Are NFL Teams Listening on Social?

Out of the 32 NFL teams, 12 are currently using a workflow tool to manage their Twitter pages. This shows that some teams actively monitor their social interactions.

Key Takeaway

Currently, NFL teams are not actively responding to their fans on their social channels. While they are of course concerned with brand reputation, one can imagine that engaging with angry fans can be counterproductive. Responses from NFL teams tend to be directed towards posts/pictures of loyal fan support, merchandise/ticket sales and general FAQ.Social Customer Service in Sports?

The majority of fan mentions of  teams on social media likely doesn't consist of many customer service queries. However, sporting venues like MetLife Stadium (@MLStadium- host of Super Bowl XLVIII) do in fact respond regularly. In these cases, fans are asking specific questions, such as availability of seats and dates of games. Other brands that receive social customer support inquiries from NFL fans includes StubHub and Ticketmaster, two main sources of NFL ticket purchases.Final Note:

For NFL teams on social media, the most popular social response is acknowledging enthusiastic encouragement.  Building a positive brand image can be achieved by taking the opportunity to thank their most loyal fans for their support.As seen below, the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens took the time to thank a special fan in particular.

Topics: Customer Service

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