The Blue Jays have whipped all of Canada into a baseball frenzy that reached fever pitch last night with their epic win against the Texas Rangers. My aunt in Calgary posted a celebratory “Go Jays, Go” update on Facebook. My cousin in Montreal live-tweeted the game. A high school friend currently living abroad lamented on another friend’s picture from the game that he’d “give anything to be at the SkyDome tonight”. Girls I’ve never seen acknowledge sports publicly before excitedly shared status updates that included #ComeTogether and maple leaf emojis.
Have the Blue Jays cast a spell on Canadians and connected us with the inner baseball junkies we didn’t even know we harboured? Maybe, but probably not.
The explosion of comments and conversations around the Jays overtaking my social media feeds got me thinking: when was the last time 99% of the people you know were not only discussing the very same thing on social media, but also sharing unanimously positive feelings on the subject? “Positive feelings” is actually too general; everyone is communicating something very singular and very specific: let’s advance and let’s win.
As a communications specialist who spends a lot of time working on social media strategies and developing content, you can see why I’d be fascinated.
Let’s pull the sitch apart and uncover what social media marketers can take away from this.
The Jays haven’t made the playoffs in 22 years, and back then, social media didn’t exist. Aside from bashing, or alternatively, defending, the Leafs have been the only other Canadian sports team in recent years to attract widespread Canadian attention on social media, but not at the same frequency, volume or fervor as what we are seeing now with the Jays.
People love new. New is exciting. New inspires. Consuming new information and experiences helps people grow. New content – or in the case of the Jays, new accomplishments – keeps brands relevant. Most significantly, for many young people who weren’t alive or were too young to remember the Jays’ win in ’93, this isn’t even new – it’s a first. Few things in life are as exciting or memorable as a first time. Of course the most social media savvy generation is going to capture and participate in this historic moment online.
2. Great storytelling
After losing the first two games in the best-of-five division series, they had to win three games back to back to back. Before October 14th, only five teams ever had pulled this off. The situation seemed grim. People say “everyone loves an underdog,” but I think people love a good comeback story just as much.
Without the first two losses, the story of the Jays’ current standing wouldn’t have been as dramatic. After languishing for so many seasons and coming this far, Canadians felt a tense mixture of suspense, hope and desire to see them triumphant in this do-or-die scenario. Proof that a great story that taps into emotion is a powerful way to capture audiences’ attention.
Real world events bring people together online. Real life experiences spur people to connect online to exchange reactions and information. We see this clearly during large, televised cultural events like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, where people blow up Twitter with hot takes and observations about what they’re watching (myself included).
It’s common for smaller brands to focus most – and sometimes, all – of their marketing efforts and resources online; however, this approach misses opportunities to connect with audiences holistically. Online advertising and a strong social media presence driven by quality content of course benefit brands, but strategically layering in traditional advertising media within your marketing campaign allows greater penetration. The more people that are aware of you offline, the more people will seek you out online. Leveraging offline to bolster online is especially critical when trying to tap into new audiences, and isn’t that the ongoing goal for all successful brands?
In the afterglow of a very cool moment for Toronto, let’s appreciate how the Jays’ badassery is so immense that their lessons extend to us social media marketers sitting at computers.
Keep your social media content new and exciting, tell great stories, and strategically combine online and offline tactics to deliver your message to as many fans as possible. That’s almost like, hitting a 3-run homer (teehee)!
Shouts to 6ix God for watching over us last night!
I’m always interested in talking social media. Contact me, Lauren (Patch’s Communications Specialist), at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat!