How do you win back fans after a lockout? Ask the NBA. If you look at how the NBA is doing on social media you would never guess that this week’s NBA Finals is the culmination of a shortened season due to a 149-day lockout.
The NBA has over 13 million “likes” on their Facebook page. The other major professional sports leagues combined do not have more “likes” than the NBA. (NFL has 5.6 million, NHL with 2.4 million and MLB with 1.3 million). The NBA has emerged as the social media sports leader. So how exactly did they do it? Here are 6 ways the NBA is making professional basketball the most socially engaging sport.
1. Embrace Social Media
2. Use Facebook to Build Fan Community
3. Offer Exclusive ContentWhile some of the other leagues are stricter about broadcast rights, the NBA took a different approach. The NBA gives more access to fans by offering exclusive content on their Facebook page. This content includes highlights, behind the scenes stuff and utilizing TV to push to their Facebook page. "They give people a reason to go to their Facebook page," said Wisnefski. "The NBA does a good job of spreading out some of the exclusive content between their main website and social media accounts."
4. Make Every Game a Social Experience
This year the NBA All-Star weekend was a tribute and thank you to the fans. They did away with judges for the slam dunk contest, and allowed viewers to vote online, on mobile or via Twitter to determine the winner of the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge MVP, the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, and the Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game. NBA.com's All-Star Pulse turned the spotlight on what the fans were saying about All-Star weekend by amplifying the most-buzzworthy topics during NBA All-Star weekend on Twitter and Facebook, including comments from players and celebrities.
The NBA is also hosting the first annual NBA Social Media Awards. This event continues to spotlight the fans and bridge what happens on the court and what fans are saying at home. There are 12 awards ranging from "The Social Slam Award" to "The FanNation Award" that fans can vote for their favorites daily on the FB page. The results will be broadcast on NBATV on June 20th at 9PM ET.