Social Media an NBAer’s Marketing Haven
NBAers maximize their marketing potential.
“It’s linked to my charities and different businesses,” Diaw said. “I got Mortimors, which is a pub in Charlotte; I’m a part-owner of that. So, people know when we have a special event or party for the games. It’s the easiest way to communicate.”
Diaw also explained Twitter is a way for him to explain his thoughts on the Bobcats’ games and to promote interviews and other content posted to his website.
Morrow said Twitter is also a means for him to express his thoughts, although he downplayed the significance of his handle, which ESPN.com writer Bill Simmons theorized might be a nod to Al Pacino’s role in Scarface.
“It’s something like that, but it’s not how he said it,” Morrow said. “He got me more followers, though, man. He needs to follow me back. He act like he can’t follow me. [Smiles] He can talk junk, then he can follow me back. I’m gonna tell him to follow me. It was funny when he said that – I laughed myself.”
Teams can also see a benefit from an athlete’s social media presence considering that it represents a brand to which an athlete is already attached. None of the NBA players who spoke with SLAMonline expressed motivation to help raise awareness of their team; they consider their social media platforms to be mostly their own domain. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban expressed a similar line of thought to SLAMonline.
“Twitter is all about building personal brands for the players,” Cuban wrote in an email message. “If a player’s goal is to develop their brand using Twitter, we try to partner with them where it makes sense.”
Then there’s the sect of players who don’t care about using a strategy on Twitter and other social media platforms. Jeramie McPeek, a vice president in the Suns’ digital department, observes it often when he scans NBA players’ social media pages.
“Most guys don’t have a strategy,” McPeek said in a phone interview. He explained Twitter and other forms of social media is something fun for players to do, having seen other players use it strictly for recreational purposes. Many players admitted they do just that.
Knicks forward Sheldon Williams said he would run Twitter contests for fans to get tickets to games; that was the limit of his strategy.
“Otherwise, I just sneak in whatever comes to my mind from time to time and just go from there,” Williams said.
Pressure from teammates coerced Nets forward Brandan Wright into creating a Twitter profile, although he hasn’t tried to capitalize on it by building a brand.
“I’m just messing around on it…[I] say what’s on my mind,” Wright said.
The former North Carolina Tar Heel explained he views Twitter simply as a way to connect with people, specifically for those who may have the wrong impression of what NBA players are like. Wright said he won’t answer questions that are too personal from fans, although anything else is game.
“You can ask me anything,” Wright said. “I’m a pretty open guy. If it’s too personal, I’ll obviously shut you down. But you can ask me whatever. I’m an open book.”
Bobcats forward DJ White and guard Garrett Temple each initially signed up for Twitter to network – White with his University of Indiana fan base and Temple due to his conversations about it with friend and Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis.
Temple admitted he thought Twitter was “stupid,” that people could just use their Facebook status to alert friends of the happenings in his life.
“I think it just helps build your fan base as well as being something fun to do when you don’t have anything else to do,” Temple said.
Temple and White warned that fans shouldn’t get too personal if they want to have a question answered. Movies and food are topics to start with, according to them. Deeply personal questions are off limits, as are any questions in which the fan tries to act as a team insider.
“[One time], somebody asked, ‘What plays y’all think you’re gonna run tonight,” White said before sharing a laugh with Temple.
Each player asked SLAMonline to get him more followers, but that kind of thinking misses the point, according to Favorito. One has to create value.
“It shouldn’t be about getting one million followers,” Favorito said. “It should be about getting the 20,000 right ones.”