UNCOMMON THINKING™

Pinterest & Professional Sports Teams

Posted by bmckamey on February 17th, 2012   Interactive, Sports Marketing
Tags:

Unless you’ve been in a social media blackout the past month, you know that Pinterest is the new buzz channel. To see how professional sports teams have activated their brands, we did a search on every team from the following leagues: MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, WNBA.

(All account information & stats as of Feb. 16, 2012)

Statistics:

# of Teams on Pinterest by League:
• MLB – 23 (21 of these are inactive)
• NBA – 9
• NFL – 6
• NHL – 4
• NASCAR – 2
• WNBA – 1

Leagues on Pinterest:
• MLB is the only league with an account

Teams with the Most Followers:
• 938 – Pittsburgh Penguins
• 265 – Boston Celtics
• 132 – Toronto MapleLeafs
• 105 – Anaheim Ducks
• 95 – Seattle Seahawks

Teams with Most Boards:
• 12 – Anaheim Ducks
• 12 – Boston Celtics
• 11 – Portland Trail Blazers
• 10 – Joe Gibbs Racing
• 10 – Minnesota Vikings
• 10 – Pittsburgh Penguins

Teams with Most Pins:
• 146 – Minnesota Vikings
• 115 – Hendrick Motorsports
• 113 – Washington Redskins (WOW)
• 108 – Boston Celtics
• 102 – Pittsburgh Penguins

Combined Totals for all Teams (45):
• 1,796 = # of Followers
• 159 = # of Boards
• 1,191 = # of Pins

 

Best Practices:

1. Register Your Brand Name Username!!!
We thought this problem for brands got enough attention during the late 90’s when it came to registering domains, but seeing how many brands haven’t made the effort to get their proper name username on Twitter – it’s no surprise how many teams haven’t signed up their rightful username on Pinterest.

FYI – even if you don’t have any plans to use Pinterest right now, still register your name username. If it’s already taken then send them a note at help@pinterest.com.

2. Don’t Start a Board and Then Not Put Any Pins on It
Saw a lot of this mistake from sports teams in our research. If you’re not ready to start pinning, what’s the purpose of having 5, 6, 7 empty boards? Wait until you have a strategy and the appropriate assets and then start creating boards and pinning.

3. Always Start Your Boards with Nine (9) Pins So They Look Complete
Follow-up to #2 – boards show on your main account page with nine image placements, when you don’t utilize all nine sports then your boards just look incomplete.

4. For “News” Boards Include a Date
Saw a few teams attempting to showcase “News” in a board, but there was no date related to it. Not really sure Pinterest is the right form to be used as a news distributor, but if you’re going to do it help your fans out and include a date so they can tell how recent it is.

5. Don’t Make Fans Question Your Board Content
Be careful in setting up your board names, because you’re also setting fan’s expectations on what kinds of content they’ll be looking at. Pinterest also includes a description feature with your board, so if you have a frequency posting strategy be sure to include it (ie Each week we’ll be adding a new xyz). Two examples we noticed:

MLB: http://pinterest.com/MLBAM/take-me-out-to-the-ballgame 
• Board – “take me out to the ballgame”
• Description – “This board is a collection of all 30 MLB ballparks. Repin your team’s park to your favorite places board!”
• Unfortunately the board only shows 12 ballparks.
*Update – in checking back today, MLB has updated the board to include all 30 parks.

Boston Celtics: http://pinterest.com/bostonceltics17/celtics-legends/
• Board – “Celtics Legends”
• The board includes 9 players, but not Larry Bird among others. Maybe the strategy is to add new Legends every day or week, but then you should use the description field and let fans know.

6. Promote & Cross-promote Your Channels
Promote Your Channel – What’s the use in having an account on Pinterest if nobody knows about it? We took a look at the official sites of the five teams with the most followers on Pinterest (Penguins, Celtics, Ducks, Seahawks, Bucks), and not one of them included a callout for their Pinterest accounts with their other social media channel listings.

Cross-promote Your Channels – This goes for all social media channels, not just Pinterest and is really a no-brainer. Props to three teams that did it right in our initial findings:
• Anaheim Ducks – showcasing fan posts from Twitter and Facebook.
• Seattle Seahawks – using Facebook to callout and promote their Pinterest contest.
• Georgia Tech Athletics – showcasing Facebook Timeline Cover graphics.

7. Utilizing Targeted Accounts
On Facebook and Twitter we’ve seen a lot of brands use multiple accounts to deliver specific kinds of messages/engagement, and there’s no reason why Pinterest should be any different. Two great examples we saw:
• Chicago Bears – using an account just to promote their store.
• Washington Redskins – using an account to promote the “Women of Washington Redskins” Fan Club. Research shows that the Pinterest audience is primarily female so this is a great outlet to target your female fans with dedicated accounts.

8. Have a Strategy
Over the past month we’ve kept a log of all the articles/blogs providing advice on how brands can best use Pinterest and most of them say “just start pinning”, but that’s the wrong move. We recommend the following strategy to being successful on Pinterest:
• Take a step back and analyze how you’re using the other social media channels (too many brands post the same content across multiple channels – ie Google+, Facebook, Twitter). Start by understanding what your content strategy has been on the other channels. It’s ok to have some crossover, but don’t just repost everything across all your channels. Fans/Customers can easily see which brands are just being lazy.
• Take a look around at what your direct competition is doing on Pinterest, what are some other brands doing, and what are some individuals doing. We’ve found that some of the best creative ideas on how to use Pinterest are from individuals and not big brands.
• Think about how you can engage and integrate your fans through your boards. There are a lot of common sense things you can do to get started, and then you can continue to get more creative over time.
• When you’re ready to start creating boards make sure you have the appropriate assets (ie that can be manpower too if one of your strategies is to start boards that search out and repin items from other boards). Don’t create a board and just let it sit without any pins, and don’t let it sit with less than nine images.
• Don’t be sloppy! The majority of team accounts we looked at were just sloppy –doing it just to do it. Don’t be that team.

 

Best Boards Ideas:
Some of the more unique boards we saw from the teams included:

Anaheim Ducks – Recent Top Tweets/Facebook
http://pinterest.com/anaheimducks/recent-top-tweets-facebook-posts/
• The only team to integrate other social media channels into their boards. The Ducks snap memorable posts from their fans on Facebook and Twitter and include them in this board.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Penguin Art
http://pinterest.com/pghpenguins/penguins-art/
• On this board the Pens showcase art that relates to the Pens in some way. This would be a great board to use as a contest (possibly for kids).

Tampa Bay Lightning – Lightning Strikes
http://pinterest.com/tblightning/lightning-strikes/
• One of the more creative board ideas we found. Great way to tie your team name into real life interests. Also, another example of a board that could see increased popularity if it was based around a contest.

Hendrick Motorsports – Team Videos
http://pinterest.com/teamhendrick/team-videos/
• Expected to see a lot more video integration from the teams, but Hendrick was the only one that had a dedicated board for video.

Hendrick Motorsports – Our Partners
http://pinterest.com/teamhendrick/our-partners/
• Every sports team has sponsors/partners and Hendrick was the only team that recognized them in this way. Hendrick was the only team to have two of their board ideas included in our best practices so they are definitely a team to follow.

Joe Gibbs Racing – Sponsor Themed Lists 
http://pinterest.com/joegibbsracing/for-my-sweet-tooth/
• You might expect it would be a NASCAR team that would know how to really integrate a sponsor’s products/brand into boards and JGR does a excellent job of this. They’ve created individual boards around their sponsor’s products in the following ways: “Places to Visit in My Toyota”, “For My Sweet Tooth”, “FedEx These To Me Plz”, “Home Depot Projects”, “Interstate Batteries Required”, “Dollar General Shopping List”. M&M’s/Wrigley (ie Sweet Tooth) is the only board they’ve activated so far, but the concept is top-notch.

Chicago Bears – Pro Shop
http://pinterest.com/bearsproshop/
• We can’t really say the Bears have done a great job of activating this account (2 Boards – 10 Pins), but they are the only team to setup a separate account just for their Pro Shop. This is a great strategy for every team – too often on the main team accounts we saw them filled with just products broken out in different boards. If you plan to focus only on selling from your main team account, then you’re missing the potential of Pinterest. Sure it’s ok to include a couple boards related to product, but having a dedicated Store account is the way to go.

Minnesota Vikings – Show Your Horns
http://pinterest.com/vikingsfootball/show-your-horns/
• We like the idea of this board, but don’t believe its being properly used. It would be better to ask Vikings’ fans to pin how they show their horns, the Vikings can then repin the best examples into this board. It could be tied to a contest, but integrating fans onto your board is the real key.

Seattle Seahawks – December Contest
http://pinterest.com/seattleseahawks/december-2011-seahawks-pinboard-contest-winners/
• The Seahawks are the only team we found that has run a contest on Pinterest. In December of last year they asked fans to start a Seahawks themed pinboard with pins including the tags: #favoriteseahawk, #favoriteseahawksphoto, #musthavegamedaygear. The promo was showcased on their Facebook page and 12 lucky winners received prizes.
• Credit to the Seahawks for also promoting their Pinterest page on their Fan Page app: http://www.facebook.com/Seahawks?sk=app_159273894154444 (bottom of graphic)

GT Athletics – Facebook Timeline Covers
http://pinterest.com/gtathletics/facebook-timeline-covers/
• Seeing more and more of this where teams/brands create Facebook timeline graphics for fans, and this is a really nice job by Georgia Tech to help promote their graphics.

 

Team Directory:

 

Team

Active

Followers

Boards

Pins

NBA        
Boston Celtics

y

265

12

108

Charlotte Bobcats

n

0

0

0

Dallas Mavericks

y

16

5

12

Miami Heat

y

8

5

50

Milwaukee Bucks

y

55

8

66

Minnesota Timberwolves

y

0

5

15

Portland Trail Blazers

y

14

11

71

San Antonio Spurs

n

0

1

0

Toronto Raptors

y

19

6

26

         
NHL        
Anaheim Ducks

y

105

12

97

Pittsburgh Penguins

y

938

10

102

Tampa Bay Lightning

y

22

6

81

Toronto MapleLeafs

y

132

6

50

         
NFL        
Buffalo Bills

y

7

3

15

Chicago Bears (Shop)

y

18

2

10

Minnesota Vikings

y

12

10

146

NY Giants

y

1

5

11

Seattle Seahawks

y

95

4

33

Washington Redskins (WOW)

y

33

5

113

         
MLB        
MLB (League Acct)

y

152

11

76

Atlanta Braves

y

22

8

2

Arizona Diamondbacks

n

0

0

0

Baltimore Orioles

n

2

0

0

Chicago White Sox

n

0

6

0

Cleveland Indians

n

0

0

0

Colorado Rockies

n

0

0

0

Detroit Tigers

n

0

0

0

Houston Astros

n

0

0

0

Kansas City Royals

y

1

2

7

Los Angeles Angels

n

0

0

0

Los Angeles Dodgers

n

       0

0

0

Miami Marlins

n

3

0

0

Milwaukee Brewers

n

0

0

0

Minnesota Twins

n

0

0

0

New York Mets

n

1

0

0

New York Yankees

n

1

0

0

Oakland Athletics

n

0

0

0

Pittsburgh Pirates

n

1

0

0

San Diego Padres

n

0

0

0

Seattle Mariners

n

0

0

0

St. Louis Cardinals

n

1

0

0

Texas Rangers

n

2

0

0

Washington Nationals

n

0

0

0

         
NASCAR        
Joe Gibbs Racing

y

3

10

28

Hendrick Motorsports

y

7

9

115

         
WNBA        
Connecticut Sun

y

12

8

33


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