Breaking Down the New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ & Toronto Blue Jays’ use of Twitter
Social Media is key for any brand to connect with their target audience, and to promote themselves. This goes double for sports franchises. Connecting fans through social media is key to bringing people through the door. This could not be truer for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The team is absolute garbage. If you went to a game near the end of the season last year, you could have paid less for a ticket in the second row than you would have for a beer. The team is projected to be just as awful next season, so the fans won’t be too excited for the 2019 season.
There are some things fans can look forward to however. The club have top prospect Vlad Guerrero Jr. waiting in the wings. This man is a generational talent. When he gets called up early next season it will be one of the most anticipated debuts in recent memory. So obviously the social media team are going to milk every single ounce of content they can out of him.
There’s no better example of how to market somebody like this than how the New Hampshire Fisher Cats did this season.
The Fisher Cats are a minor league team for the Blue Jays and Vlad Jr. played for the club last season. Minor league teams often don’t get much exposure, and often resort to various wacky promotions to get fans to fill the stands. Teams have hosted nights such as “speed dating night”, “bubble wrap night”, and even “salute to indoor plumbing night”.
But last season the Fisher Cats didn’t need to host any crazy promotions to fill the seats, they used social media and Vlad Jr to do so.
The team did a great job of not only connecting with their own fans through twitter, but they were also able to connect with Blue Jays fans. Like many Jays fans, I was more focused on how Vlad was playing than how the team north of the border was.
Because of the great work the social media team were doing. The team continued to average high attendances after Vlad Jr. got promoted to AAA Buffalo and left the team. Sure, the team won the championship which might have had something to do with it. But even Jays fans were following along to see how the Cats’ were doing in the playoffs. You know you’re doing something right if fans are cheering for a meaningless minor league baseball team in the states.
So how did they build such a following? They pumped out content that can be enjoyed not only by Fisher Cats fans but Jays fans as well. One thing I found very impressive was the connection the Fisher Cats’ media team made during this year’s MLB playoffs.
Steve Pearce played for the Blue Jays for a couple of years before the team traded him to the Red Sox in the summer. With New Hampshire right in the heart of Red Sox nation, the Fisher Cats would post throughout the Red Sox’s journey to the 2018 World Series. In said World Series, Steve Pearce was named MVP.
Of course, the media team took action:
The team continue to tweet about Vlad even though he’ll never play there again, they keep tweeting about Pearce even though he’s not a part of the organization anymore.
They do this because they know their audience. Nobody cares about baseball in November, especially in New Hampshire. This will get them retweets, likes and keep them relevant throughout the offseason.
This is why I get so frustrated looking at the Toronto Blue Jays’ Twitter account. Their content is dry and the same every single year. They also aren’t hyping up Vlad Jr. as much as they should be.
Obviously, it’s tough to post a lot of content over the offseason, but I can tell you exactly what the team will be tweeting about over the next coming months. They’ll tweet about the past, the glory days of the late 80’s/early 90’s. Highlights of the annual “Winter Tour” which has been the same thing every year. Just videos of the players signing autographs at a mall, talking to students at a public school, and they’ll probably drop the puck at a CHL game. How exciting.
As a fan, I want something fresh, something unique, and of course more Vlad. Looking at the team’s tweets, it appears they’re trying to target a bit of an older audience. A lot of the Blue Jays fanbase is on the older side, with many of those fans active on social media. It just seems that compared to other team’s accounts (like the Cleveland Indians) that the Jays twitter just lacks personality.
In my personal opinion, the Blue Jays are “too professional” on social media. The twitter feed lacks creativity and doesn’t gauge my interest. Anytime they do something different it just seems forced. The content they post on a daily basis doesn’t make me want to a baseball game any more than before, which is bad because I’m just about the biggest Blue Jays fan there is.
One thing the team do a great job of though is interacting with their followers. Anytime the club tweet, they’ll reply to at least 3–4 users.
As mentioned before, one team the Jays should be trying to emulate is Cleveland’s. Their account is just the perfect blend of professionalism, humour, and knowing what’s going to go viral.
It’s not even as if the team is doing anything that different, they just do the little things that go a long way. For example, when the Indians broke the record for most consecutive wins for an AL club, the team’s display name on twitter changed from “Cleveland Indians” to #Windians. They would add a W for every win in a row, eventually becoming “#WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWindians”.
Just funny things like that can change how people view your brand, or your social media team. This has always been lacking in Toronto and it’s so refreshing to see more teams turn to Cleveland’s model.