Atlanta Hawks Talk Social Media Monetization

March 30, 2016

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The Atlanta Hawks have one of the most inventive and inspirational Twitter feeds in all of professional sports. @ATLHawks was recognized as the best Twitter feed in the NBA by Sports Illustrated in December 2015.

The Hawks have 494,000 Twitter followers, an increase of 150 percent since March 2014.

The organization’s goal is to drive customers from Twitter to Tickets. But how exactly do you do that?

Build the relationship first, said Melissa Proctor, the Hawks Senior Vice President for Strategy.

Speak in a voice that connects with the fans, a voice they feel comfortable with, and do it in a respectful way.

Proctor said the Hawks have a “living” social media document that is routinely discussed among staff. It sets the standard for what you say to fans through social media, how you say it, and how often you say it.

When Twitter started allowing companies to sell tickets directly from Twitter (without the customer leaving Twitter), the Hawks were one of the first NBA teams in line.

The buy button was one example of using Twitter to sell tickets, but it is also about first building the awareness.

This is important. Fans need to be teed up to buy.

Proctor said messaging on Twitter at the end of the game is important. For instance, after a win, follow up with this tweet, “If you loved the game tonight and you missed it, make sure you are here for the next game.”

That’s why having a snappy, engaging Twitter feed is so important. Engage, prompt, then sell.

Atlanta is one of the top NBA markets for television viewership, and historically one of the worst for ticket sales. In 2013-14, the Hawks were 28th in ticket sales, but in 2014-15 rose to 17th.

A big reason for the gain in ticket sales was the best record in franchise history, but the lively presence on social media also helped fuel ticket sales, according to fans.

Fans wanted to be in the house when they saw the fun via Twitter: live crowd shots, posts from fans in the arena, highlights, and game updates.

Proctor said organizations and schools have to keep in mind that Twitter is not just for selling tickets, it is also for attracting sponsorship revenue.

“The more we get accolades in the social media platform, it transfers in other ways to revenue down the line,” she said. “So to have brands that want to be associated with our voice, and engaged with our audience, is equally as important to us as selling tickets.”

“Building a strong brand to have a longer tail means more sponsor dollars, which is guaranteed money over time.”

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