Tuesday, June 20, 2017

In 2016-17, the Thunderbirds brought social media marketing to Springfield like never before

By Zachary Baru

It seemed as soon as the Springfield Thunderbirds started a new era in local hockey, the franchise brought a social media marketing effort unlike any that has been seen before in the city.

From day one when the franchise unveiled their name and logo at the MassMutual Center, the social media marketing effort kicked in at full speed.  From that first day, through even the current summer months of the off-season, the Thunderbirds have not stopped engaging with fans via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

What the Thunderbirds have done has gone far beyond the standard news updates, game announcements and scores, the Thunderbirds have used social media effectively to engage their fans 365 days a year through a variety of videos, promotions and contests to name a few.  This is essential to keeping fans engaged and part of the franchise, keeping them informed and keeping the Thunderbirds fresh in fans' minds.

As video becomes more and more popular on Facebook and Twitter, the Thunderbirds have capitalized by posting game highlights, interviews, and promotional videos that are effectively short, perfect for the ever-decreasing attention spans of millennials.  These videos are professionally made and full of graphics and flyovers of Springfield, leading many fans to share the posts over Facebook and Twitter and allowing the Thunderbirds to truly capitalize off the full effect of social media.

Even the little things were executed well last season for the Thunderbirds, like creating Facebook events for every home game, engaging Facebook users throughout the season.  A Facebook event was created for each home game, giving fans notifications on their phones when the event neared, and giving notifications to friends of those fans attending.  As simple as this is, this is the social media effect at its best, spreading the word on an upcoming game and letting potential fans know that their friend is attending a future game.  It just takes a few fans to share the post for a Facebook event, and suddenly thousands of fans can be engaged in a post.

While this is just a sliver of the work that the Thunderbirds front office did with social media this season, the fact remains that a marketing effort like this has never been seen before from any of the Springfield-area teams.  The Thunderbirds marketing campaign has brought life into the sports scene in and around Springfield, and the franchise looks to have a very bright future ahead.

Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and can be reached at zachbaru@gmail.com.  Zach also writes for SportsBusinessBoston.com.

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