June 14, 2014

If you know much about me you know that I love baseball and social media. So when my favorite team, the Angels, hosted their first ever social media night, it was inevitable I would be there. The opportunity to participate in a social media focused event while watching a baseball game was just all too appealing.

Occasionally, leading up to the event, the Angels posted updates about what to look forward to at the event. There would be swag bags, contest opportunities, and even a chance to Meet & Tweet with some of the players. It was starting to sound pretty cool - even though I didn't really know what to expect.

After attending the event and researching more the day afterwards, I learned a lot about how the event was handled. While I'm sure many in the organization consider the event a success, and I agree, I think there are a lot of things they could have improved upon.

I got a lot of good takeaways for businesses that I think you can learn from. Throughout this post I have lessons built into the dialogue. Please take these as learning points to help you create successful social media events in your business.

In some ways, I felt a little let down by the event. Part of the "problem" may be the way I look at and think about customer service and relationships. My husband brought up a great point that sports and entertainment is a different world than hospitality and small businesses. Their focus is to fill the seats and create a perception of something they want viewers to believe - perception is reality. Most small business owners, however, are focused on cultivating repeat customers and creating relationships with their customers to grow their business - it's less about how much traffic, but the quality of the traffic.

Both are interested in making money and succeeding at business, but the two have completely different ways of doing this.

So, yes, I learned a lot. And a lot of those lessons, I think, can help you better use social media in your business.

Ok, the day came. We got to the stadium, later than we wanted to due to the crazy OC traffic that we forgot to account for. According to Twitter, they were going to have a special sign-in table for the social media event ticket holders.

When we got there, we found the table, although the sign wasn't exactly on display for anyone to recognize easily - it was laying down flat on the table. And it was one little table with two people manually signing people in. Needless to say, the check in process was taking a lot longer than expected.

Not only could those who were aware of the sign in table barely find it, but no one else entering the stadium had any idea what it was about.

Lesson: If you're hosting a social media event or promotion, make sure it's obvious! Have it on display and easily available for those participating.

I think they should have had more than a folding table and they should have had a banner or something more obvious. If they'd used a "VIP Check-In for Social Media Event Ticket Holders" banner across the side entrance or hanging from the giant hat, everyone would have known where to go and those not participating would have wondered how to find out more.

Lesson: Reward participants and make them feel special. Showing them how much you appreciate them makes them feel valued and starts the event off on the right foot. People love exclusivity and VIP status - take advantage of this in your events. And intriguing others is a great way to create buzz and get them excited about the next event.

While I was up at the sign in table, I asked about how we qualified to participate in the Meet and Tweet event with players - this was the one thing I was most interested in and they hadn't done much to advertise how this would work prior to the event. It turns out, those who had baseballs in their swag bags "won" the opportunity. We didn't have baseballs 🙁

Lesson: Make it clear how prizes will be awarded or how the event will be handled. I had to ask, we weren't informed. Make the process clear and understandable to your attendees.

For those who got the baseballs, they did get the chance to meet pitcher CJ Wilson. It looked like a great time for those who got to meet him and take photos with him.  But I think only 3 or 4 people got this opportunity - of the 100 tickets they sold.

Getting back to the swag bags, this was disappointing. They gave out reusable mesh bags with "goodies" inside but the goods consisted of a large t-shirt, a pair of ear buds, and a voucher for a free ticket (in the cheap seats). While I realize it was the first social media event, I would have liked to have seen more things included (maybe vouchers for free food) and even things related to the social media aspect - maybe a QR code that goes to a website to enter for a bigger grand prize. They also could have rewarded the first set number of sign-ins with Angels inspired phone cases or other promotional products.

One of the exciting things in bag was a list of "instructions" on how to participate in the social media event. They listed the hashtags to use and how to participate in contests. While the instructions were clear and easy to follow, I don't know if most people even knew that the instruction sheet was there. In this case, I think that a sign or display at the sign in table with these key contest rules would have helped generate more interest and participation.

Lesson: If you want people to participate in contests, make it so obvious that they can't miss it. Err on the side of too much information in these situations.

To be fair, I did Instagram the hell out of that stadium using the hashtag #halovision per their instructions in order to win - and I later received a notification that I did! Woohoo! More to follow in the future in regards to the prize and stuff 😉

So, anyways, we got into the stadium, and got to our seats. It was really nice that all of the social media event ticket holders were in the same section. It actually got entertaining when one guy got retweeted by someone else, and literally yelled out "who just retweeted me?" When the other raised their hand and waved, he shouted back "thank you!" It was a fun way to get strangers interacting and enjoying the event together.

Lesson: Make it easy for your attendees to meet others and participate together. Allow it to be a community environment that promotes being "social" not just social on media.

One of the bigger issues I had at the game was the lack of promotion within the stadium. There was no announcement over the speakers or on the screens (that I noticed at least) promoting that it was Social Media Night. In fact, unless I was attending as a social media participant, I don't think I would have even known it was going on. I would have liked to have seen more in-stadium promotion so that others in attendance could have at least participated with a hashtag or other involvement to boost engagement.

They did have the live reporters come down to our section a few times and interview various people about the event. I found out the next day, from my friend who watched the game on tv, that they had a lot of interviews broadcast live on the tv coverage. Apparently the event and social media aspect was highly publicized on the live tv coverage.

But, there was little interaction from the Angels social media team. They said they would retweet people who used the hashtag but very few people actually got retweeted. And those that did were mostly just play by play updates on the game. But there were tons of great, funny, entertaining tweets that never got any love from the Angels Twitter account.

While I think it's great that the Angels promoted this so much on tv, it was disappointing that the social media aspect was ignored.

Lesson: Know your audience! If you're hosting a social media event, make it about the social media participants, not necessarily your other "audience".

If I had been managing the social media team, I would have had ten (or as many team members as possible) assigned to manage the social media accounts. They should have been responding to tweets, favoriting tweets, retweeting a lot more people (and a bigger variety - a lot of the retweets they did share were all from the same few people).

I also would have had them way more engaged on Instagram. I was uploading images at the game, as were others, to my favorite social media site (not Twitter) and didn't get any Angel love. Even after uploading a bunch of additional images over the next day, I didn't get one "like" from the Angels Instagram account.

Lesson: Be SOCIAL! If you're hosting any sort of a social media event, be present and ready on every social media account to respond, engage, and promote your participants.

As I mentioned earlier, overall, I think the event was a success. I had a good time and I think the other participants did too. I'm just hyper critical of these types of events because of what I do with social media. I want to see companies have the most possible success with these events and so I want you to be able to learn from others to make your events run smoothly.

And I hope that the Angels learn from this event and host more, successful, events in the future. Many sports teams host social media events and have great results with them. I'd like to see the Angels reach this level of event success, combining two of my favorite things!

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. I saw this was occurring too late to try to participate; I would have LOVED an opportunity to see the Angels play at Anaheim Stadium! Maybe next time, things will run more smoothly.

    1. Maybe next time, Ann! I hope they’ll do more of these events and work to grow them.

  2. I can see all the flaws you pointed out here, and even though I agree with all of them, I’ll be unbiased and remind that this was their first social media event, which means it has probably been a testing as well. I do hope they read this blog post though, and take ALL the pointers you gave them because they’re right on the money. Literally.

    1. Thanks Sean! It was their first event, and I’m sure they learned a lot from it as well. I hope they consider it a success but with room for improvement. I can only hope they read this post and take some of my advice 😉

  3. Although I agree with Sean that this was their first event, MLB does have a great infrastructure of online tools and content. I am sure this was a local promotional tool for the Angels, but they could have gotten guidance from their parent company to implement a great event. I have been very impressed with MLB’s position with online/social media. They have put billions of dollars to create content that is top notch. However, it does not seem to trickle down to the individual clubs very easily.

    1. I’m sure they all have to work within their own clubs, Jason. But it would be nice to see more cooperation and participation across the league.

Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

How to Generate More Direct Messages on Instagram

How to Generate More Direct Messages on Instagram A few months ago, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, shared that direct

Read More

Why Direct Messages are So Valuable on Instagram

Why Direct Messages are So Valuable on Instagram Here’s the thing, when Meta says do something, you should do it. Regardless

Read More

One Key Trick To Getting More Engagement On Instagram

One Key Trick to Getting More Engagement on Instagram Chances are you’ve noticed that engagement is down on Instagram. Less likes,

Read More

Is Your Instagram Engagement as Bad as You Think?

Is Your Instagram Engagement as Bad as You Think? If you’ve noticed your Instagram engagement is down, well, you’re not alone!

Read More

Instagram is Finally Allowing Multiple Links in Bio!

Instagram is Finally Allowing Multiple Links in Bio! Finally. Seriously. After allllll these years, Instagram was like, hey, yes, you can

Read More

How Long Should Your Instagram Reels Be?

Not all Reels are created equal!Depending on the length of your Reel, you are more likely to reach certain people. So

Read More

Join The Newsletter

Sign up for once-monthly updates on all things Instagram and social media. It's your one-stop-shop for staying on top of social media in today's changing landscape.

Join the thousands of other marketers, business owners, and agency personnel who rely on this newsletter to keep them on top of their game with one easy resource!