October 10, 2012

We Play to Win the Game!

Filed under: Digital Media — Giorgio Varlaro @ 2:32 am

Supplied via Google Images

Technological advancements in professional sports, like the addition of instant replay, number of cameras in the stands or the inclusion of sound have been gaining the attention of sport enthusiasts since Howard Cosell remitted his first words of color commentary next too Don Meredith on the first telecast of Monday Night Football. No longer were fans of athletics positioned to be at the event for entertainment.

Since that time, technological advancements have delivered fans a deeper understanding of spectator sports thus unprecedented information unknown to users in a previous life. This added information, which is now instantaneous, has shaped professional sports into what we know it as today…big business!

A technological advancement which has more importance than some might suspect is fantasy sports. When it relates to the consumption of athletics, fantasy sports have been behind-the-scenes like its early users who used to scour daily newspaper box scores tallying statistics.

Sports fans are forming unique relationships where alliances are formed thus influencing future consumption habits. Fantasy sports have a direct correlation to this. An instrument used to measure the motives of sport consumers is the Motivation Scale for Sport Consumption (MSSC). It assesses nine motives: achievement, acquisition of knowledge, aesthetics, drama/eustress, escape, family, physical attractiveness of participants, the quality of the physical skill of the participants and social interaction. Fantasy sports do not cover all the assessments however enough are present to create sound research.

Due to this, a stronger emotional bond is forming with technological advancement standing front and center. Some might suggest this technology even though it does not include women’s athletics, has increased female consumption habits as well, creating an interesting epidemic. That discussion is for another time and another place.

Furthermore, the success of fantasy sports has streamlined the inclusion of new media in athletics. Following fantasy sports has been Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, message boards, etc. Collectively each inform, create achievement, cause escape, increase social interaction, are aesthetic in their own right, obtain a sense of family/entitlement and formulate eustress. What this does is create a deeper connection to athletics and ultimately psychological branding.

With this information now revealed, see how new interactive technologies come into play during your everyday life when it relates to spectator sports. Decipher if it has encompassed your life enough to become a lifestyle rather than a form of escape. Once something becomes a lifestyle, it’s hard to let go. Has athletics consumed you without you knowing it? Don’t worry, it’s consumed us all!


August 8, 2012

Tips for Tweeters

Filed under: Digital Media — Giorgio Varlaro @ 4:40 pm

Supplied via Google Images

If you’re looking to improve your communication with consumers via Twitter, Buddy Media might be the place to look. Buddy Media, a social enterprise marketing suite, recently did a study to see what times of the week were optimal for social media consumption. The report, Strategies for Effective Tweeting: A Statistical Review, looked at user engagement for three months (December 11, 2011 to February 23, 2012). More specifically, success was deemed by the number of retweets, @replies and followers.

Using the top 320 brands on Twitter as participants in the study, Buddy Media concluded on 11 ways to improve your reach:

1.) Tweet on the Weekends

  • Twitter engagement rates for brands are 17 percent higher on Saturday and Sunday versus weekdays, but brands don’t leverage this trend. Only 19 percent of all brand tweets are published on weekends even though engagement is highest on these days. Tweets on Wednesdays and Thursdays are wasted because that’s when engagement is the lowest.

2.) Best Days to Tweet by Industry

  • Clothing and Fashion: Tweet on the Weekends
  1. Engagement for clothing and fashion brands are 30 percent higher on weekends, but only 12 percent of the industry’s tweets are posted on Saturday and Sunday. Followers typically have more time for shopping on weekends, so this is when to communicate with them. Thursday produces the lowest engagement.
  • Entertainment: Tweet on Sunday and Monday
  1. Tweets published by entertainment brands on Sunday and Monday receive 23 percent more engagement than average, while Thursday receives the lowest.
  • Publishing: Tweet on Saturday
  1. Publishers (bloggers included), are missing a big opportunity to engage with followers on Saturdays when they’re catching up on news and current events. Engagement on Saturday is 29 percent higher than average, yet only seven percent of publishing brands tweet on that day.
  • Sports: Tweet during the Big Game
  1. People are far more likely to engage with sports brands on Twitter during the weekend, which is no big surprise. Engagement rates are 52 percent higher on Saturday and Sunday than on weekdays, with Monday coming in third. Only nine percent of sports brands tweet on Saturday, so they’re missing an opportunity.

3.) Tweet while Users are Busy

  • Tweets sent during busy hours (8 a.m. to 7 p.m.) receive 30 percent more engagement than tweets posted at other times (8 p.m. to 7 a.m.), including Saturday and Sunday. 64 percent of brands tweet during busy hours and take advantage of this trend.

4.) Use Different Social Networks

  • While Tweets during busy hours receive significantly more engagement, Facebook posts show the inverse results. Posts during non-busy hours receive 17 percent more engagement on Facebook than those posted during busy hours. Facebook posts can remain at the top of a user’s news feed even if they’re published while the user isn’t on Facebook.

5.) Learn to Pace your Tweets

  • Plan your tweet schedule according to the days your tweets perform best. But don’t overdo it! There’s an inverse relationship between tweet frequency and engagement, so the more you tweet per day, the less engaging your tweets may become.

6.) Keep Tweets Short

  • Tweets that contain fewer than 100 characters receive 17 percent higher engagement than longer tweets.

7.) Use Links to Drive Clicks and Retweets

  • Links with short, tempting descriptions entice followers. Tweets that include links are retweeted 86 percent more than tweets with no links.

8.) Links Must Work

  • 92 percent of all linking errors are caused by not inserting a space before the actual link, which forces users to copy and paste the link into a browser.

9.) Don’t overdo it with Hashtags

  • Hashtags are a Twitter staple and a popular way to identify themes or topics in a tweet. Tweets with hashtags receive twice the engagement of those without hashtags, but only 24 percent of tweets contain them. It’s possible to overuse hashtags however and many brands do. Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21 percent more engagement than those with three or more, which yield a 17 percent drop.

10.) Tweet Images

  • Even though followers can’t see an image instantly on Twitter as they can on Facebook, regular publishing of images has a pronounced impact on Twitter performance. Tweets with image links have engagement rates 200 percent higher than those without.

11.) Ask for Retweets

  • Don’t be afraid to ask people to retweet your posts, it can make a difference. Tweets that specifically ask followers to “retweet” or “RT” are retweeted 12 times more than those that do not, but fewer than 1 percent of brands actually implement this.

Using social media to improve a brands image is something all companies still do not understand. Due to this, opportunities to engage consumers are being missed. With time, businesses will find better data, thus improve current branding initiatives.


April 10, 2012

Social Media….Proving an Effect

Filed under: Digital Media — Giorgio Varlaro @ 4:08 pm

Supplied via Google Images

A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The perception of a brand by one’s peers can determine success or failure. Just ask Tiger Woods

Since image is everything today, necessary steps have to be taken to promote value. Similarly, steps also have to be taken not to hit rock bottom (a.k.a crisis management).

For athletic departments, a way to preserve the brand is through monitoring social media. The ease of distributing information to large sums of users is all too real for key stakeholders in athletic departments.

Major universities like North Carolina, Nebraska and Oklahoma pay $7,000 to $10,000 a year to monitor student athletes online. In return, obscenities, offensive commentary and words like “free” are searched for online with the intention of informing universities to prevent incidents.

In 2010, the existence of social media became all too real when former North Carolina football player Marvin Austin posted a message on Twitter revealing that he was receiving impermissible benefits. That tweet resulted in a one-year suspension for Austin due to breaking NCAA amateurism rules.

In the N.C.A.A.’s statement about North Carolina’s punishment, it hinted that institutions should be tracking public information made available by student-athletes if there is a “reasonable suspicion of rules violations.” Due to this, some colleges now require athletes to give them access to their Facebook or Twitter accounts, either by downloading software to monitor them or simply requiring that they let a coach, an administrator or a third-party company “friend” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

From this, invasion of privacy rights have come forth. Due to this, University administrators face a tricky situation when it comes to their players’ activity on social media, balancing issues of privacy while trying to guard against the possibility that an errant posting on Twitter or Facebook.

Hence, with the institutions brand on the line, should student-athletes be monitored online? Is it erroneous for colleges and universities to care about an image when Beer & Circus is occurring daily with normal undergraduates? Will future litigation be able to find the correct answer?


November 7, 2011

Trends Changing in Communication Habits

Filed under: Digital Media — Giorgio Varlaro @ 9:43 pm

Supplied via Google Images

The habits of today’s teenagers are changing just as the digital world changes with them. As stated by Jon Seitz, “Today’s high schoolers have grown up with computers and cell phones and most don’t remember not having them.” Due to this, the way each consumes media and distributes information is different.

Backing Seitz is research from Nielsen. According to June 2011 statistics, high school graduates send 100 text messages per day, talk on their cell phones roughly 17 minutes per day, watch 11 fewer hours of television than the average American, view nearly three more hours of video on their mobile device and visit their social networks and blogs four to five times a day.

Hurting for this new age is e-mail. Today’s generation has no use for it. According to comScore, 24 percent fewer people age 12 to 17 used Web-based e-mail in the past year. Taking over is texting, Facebook messaging, video chatting, twitter DM, etc.

With the digital world changing the way youngsters communicate on a daily basis, it will be interesting to see if businesses change also. The first question businesses will ask however is if this change is less expensive and more efficient.

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