Top NFL Social Media Feeds

When you think of top professional sports teams on social media, what do you think of?

Loyal fans? Game highlights?

Perhaps no sport is more popular on social media in the United States than Football. America’s Game. NFL social accounts consistently capture the hearts and minds of audiences across the platforms they care about most.

But which National Football League teams are winning consistently on social media? We found five that are a superb source of inspiration for your brand, whether you’re a football fan or not!

The Best NFL Social Strategies

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are back in Los Angeles and they’re scoring more than just touchdowns for their fans. The Rams are scoring engagement points by treating their fans to a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite players and moments throughout the season. 

One of the tactics that the Rams take full advantage of are Instagram Stories Highlights. Perfectly laid out at the top of their feed, audiences can go back in time and relive some of their favorite moments from the season no matter where they are.

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Replays aren’t just for tv. Add them to your Instagram Stories so fans can relive and share their favorite moments.

Highlights are the perfect way to curate all of your best Stories content from throughout the year. That way, none of it ever goes to waste!

Plus, notice the consistent use of imagery and visuals in their Highlights cover photos. Everything feels consistent and on-brand. It immediately catches the eye of anyone who stops by the Rams profile.   

San Francisco 49ers

A short jaunt up Highway 101 you’ll find another California-based NFL team that is end-to-end one of the best in the business at social media marketing, the San Francisco 49ers. 

With six Super Bowl appearances and five championships since 1980, the 49ers are arguably one of the greatest franchises in sports history. While this rich history is hard to match, the 49ers bring it home on social media by focusing on the future.

The 49ers invite fans on their journey forward. In return they stick with them wherever they go.

2018 wasn’t the greatest season for the 49ers, but the moment it ended, they gave fans cause for optimism ahead of the 2019 season.

Positivity, hope, and optimism are a great recipe for successful content on social media. People want to feel like they’re a part of something big!

Seattle Seahawks

One team that really knows how to build a rapport with their audience on social media is the Seattle Seahawks. 

Their fans, or “12s” as the team calls them, are the focal point of many of the ‘Hawks social media posts—as they should be.

The Seahawks keep fans hooked by making them the stars of the show.

If your brand has a dedicated and passionate audience, there’s no better way to get them fired up than to showcase them on social media. By making their fans their #1 focus, the Seahawks were able to grow their Instagram account to more than 2.2 million followers.

New England Patriots

What does 5 Super Bowl titles earn the New England Patriots? 

America’s most disliked NFL team. That’s right! New England recently surpassed the Cowboys as the NFL’s least favorite team, according to polls.

But clearly, people love to hate the Patriots with their Instagram account attracting more than 3.3 million followers alone.

The Patriots don’t let haters get them down. Instead they embrace it.

The marketing team for the New England Patriots doesn’t shy away from being the center of attention, either. In fact, they play into it and it’s an important social media lesson for us all.

No matter who you are or what brand you work with, you’ll always have people throwing shade your way on social.

Sometimes the best way to come out on top is by embracing it with fun and engaging posts.

Dallas Cowboys

I saved the best for last when it comes to NFL teams on social media.

As with the Patriots, the Dallas Cowboys relish in being one of America’s most loved and hated teams. But that doesn’t stop the Cowboys from having a little fun on social media and showing off their team’s personality.

The NFL’s most popular team on social lets fans behind the scenes and the emotions.

Every single one of their posts on Instagram, Facebook, and other social platforms give their audience a feel for what it’s like to actually be an NFL player. This type of content makes the Cowboys seem more accessible and human which helps to increase fans’ love for their team. 

And when comparing the Dallas Cowboys’ Share of Voice vs. other top teams in the league, it’s clear their doing something right:

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The Cowboys may not win on the field every time they play, but they’ve got everyone beat on social, as Meltwater’s social media analytics reveal.

Not only do they have the greatest Share of Voice in the NFL, but they also have the largest social media reach week-over-week:

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Media monitoring breaks down social reach week by week, so brands can fine tune their strategies as they go. In the NFL, the Cowboys keep coming out on top.

No wonder they’re the most valuable team in the NFL!

At first glance, you might not think you can learn all that much from NFL teams on social media. 

But they are experts at connecting with fans in meaningful ways while using various content types to spark excitement. Use these lessons in your social media strategy to drive new audiences to your accounts and increase increase engagement.

To up your social media game, let us show you what an all-in-one media monitoring, social listening, and social management solution can do for your brand. 

5 Common Urgent Issues That Don’t Need to Become a Brand Crisis

In California, earthquakes are a fact of life. We don’t know when the next one will happen, or where it will be centered. But we know we can count on there being more of them, which is why many people have earthquake preparedness kits in their homes. It makes sense to have a plan and resources in place for a problem you know is eventually going to come up. So, why don’t more people take this same approach when it comes to crisis communications?

Almost a third of all businesses do not have a documented business continuity plan. When you consider that fewer than 10% of businesses survive a major disaster without a business continuity plan, it’s surprising to consider how few organizations have robust business continuity plans—including crisis communications plans—for their businesses.

In addition to California and our earthquakes, there are states prone to blizzards, flooding, tornadoes and other extreme weather scenarios? No to mention other urgent business issues such as executive misconduct, senior leadership resignations, and other common workplace issues. If you’re not proactively planning for how to handle these and other predictable urgent issues, you may be creating a future crisis for your organization.

Proactively Plan for Common Urgent Issues

While there’s no way to anticipate every potential crisis that can come your way, there are a number of known crisis scenarios that it is likely your company will have to respond to at some point. Here are a few urgent issues your crisis communications plan should address:

1. Extreme Weather

Major weather events including tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and blizzards all have the potential to adversely affect your business. If you have offices and employees in these areas, you’ll need to prepare internal and external communications plans for dealing with office closures or an inability to access offices, disruption in shipping products or mailing statements to customers, and extending assistance to customers in affected areas. Prepare resources to help your employees navigate these stressful situations in a safe manner, and to help them feel prepared to assist your customers too.

Power Outage

Whether it happens as a result of extreme weather, an accident on your grid, or power company issues, a power outage can greatly limit your company’s ability to serve your customers. You’ll want to plan to communicate whether or not you have backup generators, what services are affected by the power outage, and how you will accommodate and communicate to customers when the power is back on.

Cyber Attacks

More than 184 million ransomware attacks were carried out in 2017. Meanwhile, the number of cyber attacks against businesses nearly doubled from 82,000 in 2016 to 159,700 in 2017. Your communications team needs to understand how a cyber attack could affect your ability to serve customers, and how your technology team will be able to circumvent such attacks and restore things to business as usual.

Data Breaches

As a consumer, I’m all too aware of how easy it is for my personal data to be breached. Whether it’s due to hackers hitting up big companies like Equifax, Target, and Yahoo, or an employee losing a laptop full of customer data, it’s an incredibly common and upsetting occurrence. While you can’t anticipate the precise details, you can prepare a data breach microsite and customer and employee communications that detail what you need to disclose in such cases and outline any resources you are making available to those affected (such as credit monitoring).

Website Issues

What happens if your website goes down? Ideally, you will have an alternate server location prepared to host your domain and a notice of the disruption. You can also have a standalone website status monitoring service customers can use to find out the status of your website. You’ll need to map out the corporate channels available for your communications, and optimize for speed of communication. You want to be the first one on social to mention your outage, as well as the first one to sound the all clear when the site has been restored to service.

An Urgent Communications Plan in Action

At a former company, we had a number of customer-facing offices in areas that regularly experienced extreme weather. For each of the different extreme weather types, our urgent communications plan included the following templates:

  • An intranet post tracking the offices impacted and any closures and including talking points for customer-facing employees, the key employees involved in the response to such issues, and a calling tree for escalating issues
    An internal email that notified employees about affected offices and employees, and linked to the intranet post for updates
  • An internal email update to keep everyone involved in the issue’s response informed of the status of the issue on a daily or more frequent basis.
  • A blog post that told customers about affected offices and what their other options for service were until the offices reopened
  • An email to customers that provided a brief explanation of the issue and linked to the blog post as a source for updates
  • Social media copy that provided a high-level description of the issue and linked to the customer blog post

Having these communications drafted in advance—with a clearly defined communications plan and pre-identified stakeholders—made it easy to quickly address these issues and avoid customer complaints. Yes, we frequently made improvements to the process and the templates, but the basic plan and its templates were put to use without major changes for several years.

As communicators, there never feels like enough time in the day. So it may be tempting to put off proactively planning for urgent issues that may not strike while you’re on the clock. However, if you want to earn a seat at the leadership table, and save yourself some stress at the same time, making time for proactive urgent communications planning is an opportunity you won’t want to miss.

For a complete guide on how to handle crisis—or better yet, avert it altogether—read our ebook. It covers how to use media intelligence to spot the early warning signs, manage and monitor crisis every step of the way, and ultimately take a data-driven approach to learning from mistakes.

PR Collaboration: Don’t Be Afraid to Take the Lead

If you work in public relations, you’re not a lone wolf. Chances are, you collaborate with any number of other departments within a company or client’s organization.

The question is, how do you collaborate effectively?

Truth be told, collaborating with other teams within the organization can be a challenge.

PR Collaboration: Why It’s So Important

PR plays a dual role in collaborating with other teams, says Scott Kaminski.

“We’re the adult in the room, depending on the project and the goal. We can give big picture insight, explaining that if the company does this, here are the potential effects of it,” Kaminski says.

“The other role is to ensure that the message that’s conveyed aligns with the company’s voice, while also satisfying what the various departments are trying to say.”

While departments may be competitive with one another, PR can help bring everyone together for the overall good of the company.

“Not everybody is going to walk out of the room with their ego fully intact—but sometimes that’s the point,” Kaminski explains. “Ultimately whatever we’re doing is about protecting the reputation of the company—making sure the way we present ourselves to our markets and our audiences is in line with our brand. That’s the lens through which everything needs to be viewed.”

What Are Some Ways PR Can Work Effectively with Other Departments?

PR and Customer Service

Customer service is sometimes the first to hear of a crisis brewing. For example, on social media, both PR and customer service teams should be monitoring for any issues that may arise so they can be addressed before they mushroom.

PR and CX (Customer Experience)

Because poor customer experience can lead to unhappy customers, it makes sense for PR and CX to work together. On the flip side, if customers have a positive experience, they may make good candidates for success stories to share with prospects or references to offer to the media.

PR and Product Marketing

PR and product marketing should be working in tandem on new product launches. PR can help with tasks like messaging and media outreach and should be factored into product launch plans early on. The public relations team can also help coordinate and publicize any partnerships, events or reviews related to the product launch. They can write press releases, social media posts and video scripts.

PR and Sales

PR and sales should have a close working relationship. PR-driven content can help sales teams close deals. Sales can help public relations by bringing positive customer stories to the team that can be shared on the brand’s site, as well as with journalists and on social media.

Tips for Successful PR Collaboration with Other Departments

To make collaboration efforts more fruitful, here are some practices public relations teams can include in their day-to-day interactions with other departments.

Having regular meetings to touch base can be helpful, says Madalina Grigorie, Communications Manager at Pusher.

“My role is to help our company craft and share relevant stories for our audiences. The way to find those stories is through cross-team collaboration. Catching up with my colleagues regularly helps me understand what they do and their priorities. It also helps me think strategically about how we could better communicate our news and updates.”

Another tip to build a more collaborative environment? Bring PR in early on, says Kaminski. Don’t wait until the last minute.

“Sometimes – too many times – PR is brought in at the last minute. But if PR does actually have a seat at the table, mistakes are less likely to happen. More often they can be caught beforehand.”  

What happens if you choose to go it alone, without the benefit of the PR team’s wisdom?

“If you have executives or departments that are OK with trying to go it alone, that can lead to problems. It’s the difference between being proactive and reactive. Then PR’s role can become, ‘This is the mess we’re in now. How are we going to clean it up?’”

PR Collaboration for the Win

If the public relations team can work together in collaboration with other departments, it can foster more success for everyone. “This helps us reach our goals faster and helps the business overall,” says Grigorie.

For a comprehensive discussion on shared goals and how to track them, and ultimately drive optimal results, read our ebook, Everything You Need to Know to Prove PR ROI.

Are Hashtags Still Worth It? (Or Did the Russians Ruin It for Brand Conversations?)

As with so many social media campaigns today, brand communication all starts with a hashtag.

Social media has long been celebrated for its power to organize ideas and inspire action. Yet as we’ve seen over the last few years—and continue to see—social media platforms can create massive groundswells of misinformation that are nearly impossible to predict, stop, or control.

This puts brands in a challenging situation. Many of us have build strong brand presence on Twitter, using hashtags along the way, and find the platform invaluable for communicating with our audience. We now have to decide between utilizing hashtags as a means to spread a message or risking the hashtag being used for devious reasons.

Here’s everything you need to know.

How–and Why—Fake News Spreads on Social Media

Did you know, that according to a study from Science.org, about 126,000 rumors were spread by roughly 3 million people on Twitter between 2016-2017?

And MIT researchers found that, “fake news dominates according to both metrics. It consistently reaches a larger audience, and it tunnels much deeper into social networks than real news does.”

There are lots of reasons why fake news spreads quickly on social media. For one, fake news is often more novel than the truth. Fake news also tends to evoke stronger emotions such as fear, sadness, and disgust, which leads to greater comments and shares. 

It’s become such a pressing issue on Twitter, that Jack Dorsey decided to address it head on in 2018:

Of course, a key tool in the spread of misinformation are hashtags as they help amplify a message on a much quicker and larger scale. Automated and robot accounts are able to automatically increase the number of times a hashtag is used in a certain timeframe, making it visible on a global scale.

With that sort of leverage, any message (good or bad) can be spread.

The Benefits and Risks of Hashtags for Stimulating Brand Conversations

Hashtags can be used for everything on social media from brand building to promoting awareness to hosting a contest.

But are hashtags really worth it in a world where an estimated 33% (or more) of followers are bots? Let’s explore the benefits and the risks.

Benefits of Hashtags

  • Enables brands to build a community around a specific idea or cause
  • Helps to amplify the reach of a brand’s content
  • Allows brands to show solidarity to a movement
  • Supports customer service and advocacy efforts
  • Provides brands with an opportunity to participate in trendjacking or newsjacking

Risks of Hashtags

  • Uncertainty on whether a brand’s customers will respond and engage
  • Possibility of negative and harmful use of the hashtag from a brand’s customers
  • Amplification of the wrong message or fake news from 3rd parties using the hashtag
  • Competitors trendjacking or newsjacking the hashtag for their own benefit
  • Legal and copyright issues from using existing hashtags

Overall, hundreds of brands have found incredible success using hashtags on social media in spite of misuse and abuse from third parties. Here’s the exact checklist they used to ensure that their hashtag campaigns worked as planned.

A Proven Checklist for Using Hashtags to Generate Brand Conversations

If your brand is looking to use a hashtag in an upcoming campaign, here’s a checklist of questions you can use:

  1. Is your hashtag too broad or too specific?
  2. Is your hashtag too long?
  3. Will your hashtag be easy for people to remember and use?
  4. Is your hashtag well-researched and relevant to your target audience?
  5. Is your hashtag already in use by another person or brand?
  6. Is your hashtag evergreen or time specific (and does that make sense for your campaign)?
  7. Does your hashtag relate to your product or campaign in a fun or interesting way?
  8. Is your hashtag too closely related to another similar hashtag?
  9. Do your competitors or peers use a similar hashtag?

Once you’ve answered the questions above and are confident about your hashtag selection, the most important thing you can do is monitor your hashtag(s) on a frequent basis to ensure that all is going smoothly. We recommend using a media intelligence tool for real-time updates and to actively engage with your audience to maximize the effectiveness of your hashtag.

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Last, but not least, it’s beneficial to always have a plan in place in case your hashtags do cause a brand crisis.

Check out our new ebook—Media Intelligence for Crisis Communications—for advice on how to deal with a PR crisis.

Edgy Brands: How to Be Sassy, but Keep It Classy, on Social

What does it take to stand out on social media?

Great content? Celebrity influencers? Adorable animals?

Today, people are becoming more and more wary of inauthentic brands and content on social media. The strategies that once worked a few short years ago are quickly becoming outdated.

Looking at recent social media trends, it’s clear that brands who are clearly winning in terms of engagement and publicity are the ones that show off their personality. Edgy brands do it with a little sass. That’s why we’ve rounded up 3 awesome examples of brands that know how to take it to the edge—capturing the hearts and minds of audiences in the process.

3 Awesome Examples of Edgy Brands that Got Sassy, But Kept It Classy

When brands share their personality on social media it captivates the collective internet. What makes it so compelling is that it showcases the fact that there are real people behind the content. Plus, it adds some humor and delight to the otherwise monotonous posts that typically make up our feeds.

Merriam-Webster

One of the most successful examples of an edgy brand on social media over the last two years is none other than Merriam-Webster (yes, the dictionary).

The official Twitter account of the Merriam-Webster dictionary has become a viral and PR sensation.

Merriam-Webster mainly utilizes Twitter to share interesting insights behind words that we all use everyday, which is on-brand in terms of personality:

But where Merriam-Webster really shines is when they use the power of words to comment on current cultural events with perfectly timed and relevant Tweets:

Merriam-Webster’s social media team understands the art of subtly “commenting-without-really-commenting” on current events by tying their content into the context of word definitions. This has led to thousands of mentions, tons of engagement, and an incredible amount of social media reach in 2018:

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Denny’s

If you’re looking for an edgy brand that throws down on social media by being funny and just flat out strange in every way, look no further than Denny’s.

They’ll make you think twice about what the limits of a successful social media strategy look like today.

Denny’s first gained popularity with a Twitter meme that tricked audiences into repeatedly zooming into an image:

Diving deeper into their social media presence, the Denny’s personality shines through in all sorts of ways. For example, the description on their Twitter profile reads:

“Yes, we’re fine. No, we’re not the Krusty Krab. Welcome to America’s Diner.”

The social media team behind Denny’s is quirky, sassy, and not afraid to be a little edgy:

They also understand their target customer on a deep level:

Most importantly, Denny’s isn’t afraid to comment on important conversations on social media. For example, the time they got in on the running joke of 2017, when everyone was talking about different ways to copy Snapchat Stories:

Again,