Friday, April 27, 2012

NBA Embraces Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest during Playoffs

It's nearly impossible to find a group as impassioned and knowledgeable as die-hard sports fans. Not only are these individuals religiously tuning in to catch the game, they're also seeking to engage with the program on a heightened level by unlocking premium content through social media channels.  According to a recent Mashable infographic, 80% of sports fans monitor social media sites while watching the game on TV, and even 60% of fans do so while attending live events. With buzzer-beating baskets and game-changing fouls happening at rapid fire speed, there's a beautiful marriage that exists between sports and social media, an entity known for its immediacy.     

Cognizant of this harmonious relationship and the extensive presence of their fans on each network, the NBA is leveraging the power of Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest to unite basketball fanatics around the excitement of the NBA playoffs. The NBA will launch its community-rooted "Hoops around the World" program, and encourage fans to tweet photos of their neighborhood courts using the hashtag #hoops. The @nba Twitter account will retweet its favorite shots, and the stunt will culminate in an interactive world map illustration of all submissions before the finals begin.

The NBA will expand to greater audiences with Tumblr and Pinterest, two platforms not typically exploited by the association. The NBA will devote its Tumblr page, launching next Wednesday, to photos from professional basketball history, including shots from classic match-ups and iconic moments from the game's greatest players (pictured above). The NBA's Pinterest page, expected to launch late next week, has a two-tiered strategy. It will drive fans to the NBA's e-commerce site to browse throwback apparel, and feature funny moments in NBA history, quirky characters, and other storylines that reinforce to fans why the NBA is so fun to follow off the court.  

With TV ratings for the impending NBA playoffs expected to shatter those of previous years, the NBA is rightly vamping up its social media outreach. I'm particularly intrigued by the use of Pinterest to interact with fans because of the site's heavily-skewed female audience. It will be interesting to track engagement on each platform throughout the playoffs and see where the league is seeing the greatest success.

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