Social Media Strategy with Kevin Cote, Asst. Dir. Digital Marketing – Golden State Warriors

Social Media Strategy with Kevin Cote, Asst. Dir. Digital Marketing – Golden State Warriors


>>Trevor Turnbull: Hey everyone it’s Trevor
Turnbull here from Sports Networker and I’m joined on the line today by Kevin Cote. Kevin is the Assistant Director of Digital
Marketing at the Golden State Warriors. How’s it going Kevin?>>Kevin Cote: Good, how’s it going Trevor?>>Trevor: Really good, thank you. So I came across Kevin actually through some
tweets. I was following and engaging in some conversations
with Brian Srabian over at the San Francisco Giants, and we actually just gone done discussing
this, Brian and Kevin know each other quite well and communicate back and forth about
best practice on the social media side of things. Anyway, I was going through what the Warriors
are doing right now with regards to Twitter and Facebook and I thought, “wow, these guys
are really taking the lead as it relates to creating engaging contesting and campaigns
that involve fans and players alike. I got to get this guy on the line and talk
about this.” So thanks very much for doing this with us
Kevin.>>Kevin: Yeah, no problem. Thanks for having me.>>Trevor: Yeah. So let’s start first of all, for the people
that don’t know you, how long have you been with the team and what actually is your role
with the team?>>Kevin: I’ve been with the team since 2005. Actually in 2004 I was the PR intern and then
I’ve been full-time since 2005. I came on mostly in the email marketing side
and then that evolved to the point now where I’m overseeing all of our digital marketing. Everything revolving around our Web site,
everything revolving around email and then all of our social media.>>Trevor: OK. So on the Twitter side of things then; when
did you guys first get started with Twitter? From the team perspective.>>Kevin: We actually, believe it or not,
were on the late side on Twitter. We were monitoring it and experimenting with
it but we didn’t go full force actually right at the get go like some other teams did and
that definitely kind of set us behind a little bit. But then once we realized fully how powerful
it could be we went at it full force. And we’ve seen a lot more success lately with
the things that we’ve been doing and the fans have been loving it and we love using it because
it’s such a powerful tool.>>Trevor: I’m looking forward to diving into
some of the stuff you guys are doing because I think it’s really innovative and people
will get a lot of value out of it. Let’s go back to one of the first things that
you guys have mentioned that you’ve done and thats the tweedia day. That was back in December of last year?>>Kevin: Yeah, early December of 2011. So right when the season began.>>Trevor: OK. And what was the concept behind that? Maybe just fill us all in on what that was
all about.>>Kevin: Sure. So every year to kick off training camp we
have an event called media day; every team has it across the league and across other
sports. It’s kind of the first time everyone comes
together. All of the media comes, all of the guys shoot
their radio spots, all their TV spots, all the promos that are going to show in the arena. So with social media being such a huge, powerful
tool now, and with most of our players involved in social media in one way or another, we
wanted that to be a big component of it. So what we did is we set up a social media
zone as part of media day and we called it tweedia day. So we had live of streaming coverage for two
to three hours where we were rotating players in for interviews live on the air. Getting questions from fans who were using
our “tweedia day” hashtag and giving fans that inside look of what is going on and also
letting them participate by asking questions. And then in addition to the live stream we
had several computers and phones set up where players could tweet from their own personal
accounts and we encouraged them to use that “tweedia day” hashtag throughout the day and,
again, just have these conversations with fans. We actually had our players take over our
Twitter account for a while, we had them take over our Facebook page and just drop notes
to some of the fans. Even some of our players who aren’t actively
involved in social media, which is pretty few now, but even they were getting involved
and going back and forth with the fans and it was a really cool experience for them and
most of all for our fans.>>Trevor: No kidding, yeah. So what was the criteria exactly for the average
fan to get involved in this? Did they just have to be following you guys
on Twitter or did they have to fill out an application? What was the process you guys used to screen
the right people?>>Kevin: Yeah so we just, like I said, promoted
the use of the hashtag on Twitter. We sent an email about it as well but then
we also had it as the number one thing on our Web site, we also promoted it on Facebook. But as far as getting a lot of the questions
from the fans it was just encouraging them to use the hashtag and then aggregating all
of that together and picking out some of the best ones. It was really powerful to see how it worked.>>Trevor: Yeah. It’s a very unique experience and obviously
a testament to the power of these tools right. To give the average fan access to the players
and an executive and the staff and everyone else that they might see as unreachable a
lot of times. These tools I think have really kind of transcended
that distance. It’s helped bring people together right?>>Kevin: Exactly.>>Trevor: So lets move on to the next one. These next two are a little bit more current
and very cool obviously. Dub The Vote first of all. Maybe give us some background into this. What is Dub The Vote all about?>>Kevin: Yeah. So the NBA kind of challenged all of the teams
to do something creative centered around All-Star voting. This year’s All-Star voting had no paper ballots,
so it was all digital and mobile. You could vote online, you could vote via
text and you could vote on your tablet or phone. So with that in mind we decided to make it
more of a digital-centric campaign and what we decided was we would come up with this
concept called Dub The Vote where, if you’re familiar with the phenomenon of planking,
that’s really where the inspiration came from. Where we were going to ask our fans to pose
in the shape of a “W” while voting for one of our players. It got out the word to vote but it also forced
our fans to be very creative. And they were able to submit these photos
just using the hashtag “DubTheVote” and we were able to aggregate them all together,
checked it constantly for all the photos that came in; some amazingly creative stuff; our
fans are amazing that way. We saw some incredible creativity and we were
able to get the word out about voting too and then we had reimplementations too where
we had Stephen Curry telling people how they Dub The Vote, we had some of our rookies doing
the posts for us to help us get out the word. Ultimately we put all of the best photos up
on www.nba.com/warriors for everyone to see and encouraged people to do better than this
if you can. Eventually we narrowed all of those photos
down into a top 12, put them up on our Facebook page and then let the fans vote on which were
the top 3 photos out of those 12. We received I think 77,000 votes in two days
or three days. Got the top three, and then we had the top
three fans and their photos came to a game, we showed their photos up on the big screen,
and then had the fans in the arena actually decide who the winner was. And then the winner, which was actually a
really creative family with five kids all shaped in the “W” with their phones and their
iPads and their laptops, they won the ultimate prize which was actually that they got to
come to a practice and meet the three guys on the all star ballot; Monta Ellis, Stephen
Curry and David Lee. So it was a great experience for them and
they had a great time. Overall it was just a fun way to be creative
ourselves but then to let our fans be creative as well and take advantage of a hashtag again.>>Trevor: Yeah, and kudos to you guys for
this. We’re obviously looking at this page right
now and there’s a number of very creative photos. It’s amazing how original some of these truly
are. And I think it’s really a testament to the
NBA as a league as well and how social they are and how much they really reach out to
the fanbase. And with you guys doing your final voting
even at the game on the big screen, thats very cool.>>Kevin: Yeah. The NBA is very progressive with all things
digital and I think that helps as far as supporting what we do on our end and giving us ideas
and full support and it’s good to be affiliated with such a powerful digital presence.>>Trevor: No doubt. So are there any kinds of stats that you guys
can share on this? In the end how many photos did you end up
having uploaded to this contest?>>Kevin: We probably received over 100 photos,
of which we put the best ones up and then we narrowed it down. I dont have the exact number but I would say
it’s over 100. And it was only a two or three week span so
it was great.>>Trevor: So obviously great on the fan engagement
side of things. How did it impact the voting of your players
for the All-Star Game?>>Kevin: Well I can say that Monta Ellis
received the most votes from our team. He finished 7th among West guards, last year
he finished 9th. I dont know if we can take full credit for
that improvement, he’s played pretty well so he probably deserves a lot of that credit
as well, but I’ll go ahead and take some of the credit I guess.>>Trevor: Yeah we’ll give you some of that
credit for sure.>>Kevin: OK, thanks.>>Trevor: Thats a great one, I really love
this example because it’s a great example of how you can build contesting around an
event. Really engage the fanbase and have it impact
of the results too.>>Kevin: Yeah and the other interesting thing
to see was not only people submitting the photos but the conversations that happened
around the photos. Some people might not feel comfortable doing
a whole photo or planning as much as this but they definitely enjoyed the photos and
there was a lot of conversation happening around it which, in turn, helped our cause
of gaining notice for our players on the ballot.>>Trevor: Right. So that was the whole purpose in creating
your own unique hashtag then right?>>Kevin: Yeah, exactly.>>Trevor: So you guys could track that and
obviously have the fans spread the word. So even if they’re not sending in photos you’re
at least getting the word out that you have these kinds of engaging campaigns going on.>>Kevin: Yeah, exactly.>>Trevor: Alright, so lets move on to the
next one. This one is actually still coming up on February
15, the Warriors Tweetup. Maybe give us a little bit of information
on what this is all about.>>Kevin: Yeah. Several other teams have done this and this
is the first time we’re doing stand we’re really excited about it, especially since
we have Stephen Curry involved. He’s obviously one of our best players and
he’s very active on Twitter and he fully gets it. He really understands social media and he
utilizes it in a lot of great ways and this is another way. He jumped at the chance to be involved with
us. So what happens is were encouraging fans to
buy tickets to the game and when they buy through this Tweetup offer they get to come
to a post-game Q&A with Steph. They also get, which I think is really cool,
this t-shirt which looks like our Warriors logo but it’s actually our Twitter handle
(@Warriors) and on the bottom is the hashtag we use on game day (#letsgowarriors). You got the Twitter bird kind of in there. And then on the back instead of just saying
“Curry” with his number, its his Twitter handle (@StephenCurry30). So we like that, Steph, when he saw it he
loved it too so when he saw it he wanted a bunch for himself. So it’s kind of cool to get our own handle
out there, a unique type of shirt just for these people coming to the game and it’s a
way for Steph to have his handle out there too and fully embrace the Twitter world.>>Trevor: Yeah. As you mentioned we’ve seen the rise of the
Tweetups over the last couple of years across all of the major professional leagues but
they just seem to be getting more and more creative every time I come across them. Obviously involving the players is a big one
because your fanbase is obviously a fan on the team but they really connect to these
players dont they. It’s a unique experience that they never forget.>>Kevin: Yeah and that’s why it’s great to
have Steph buy in. He’s as excited about it as we are; he’s sent
several tweets telling fans they should come using the hashtag, were telling people to
use the hashtag “gswtweetup” to submit questions for Steph that we’ll actually ask that night. We’ll also be giving away prizes during the
game for people who do use the hashtag and we’ll have a conversation with those people
throughout the game so it’s going to be cool.>>Trevor: Very cool. Another question around this Kevin; have you
guys looked into ways that you might monetize your use of social media? Specifically around Twitter because we’re
talking about that right now. Ways to integrate sponsors at all? Have you guys considered that?>>Kevin: Yeah. Something like the Tweetup, where it’s actually
a ticket purchased and it’s heavily promoted on Twitter, that’s one we’ve monetized. And as far as sponsors, yeah. The NBA actually had some rules for a while
that kind of limited what we were able to do but that’s only because they needed to
fully understand themselves and decide what was going to be allowed and what wasn’t. Those rules allow us to do some more things
with those sponsors and thats kind of one of the next great frontiers; involving sponsors
fully into what were doing in the social landscape and then, in turn, them involving us in what
they do. So again the concept is spreading everything
socially and working together.>>Trevor: Right. And I think you’re bringing up a good point
on the monetizing side of it. It’s really integrating everything into more
than just Twitter. Its a live event, it’s a ticket sale, it’s
all these different things that help contribute to the bottom line for the team but also provide
added value for a potential sponsor. From my perspective anyway that seems like
an obvious opportunity and it sounds like you’re thinking the same thing.>>Kevin: Exactly.>>Trevor: Alright. So let’s talk about Facebook now. So we were discussing this briefly before
we got on the call and I asked you to hold off on telling me because I was interested
in hearing about this and I wanted to hear it fresh. You mentioned you guys were using Facebook
and a Facebook page as well as check-ins to do some really cool stuff. I’ve got the “Golden State Warriors Home Game”
Facebook page up here right now. Tell us what this is all about.>>Kevin: Yeah. So we have our regular Facebook page, which
we do a lot with obviously but as far as a game experience we have set up Golden State
Warriors Home Game which is the place where, during a home game, we encourage fans to check-in
whenever they’re at the game. That’s something every team is doing right
now and some teams are using four square, all the different check-in tools that are
out there. We’ve pretty much remained in putting a lot
of muscle behind Facebook. That’s what we’ve pushed from the beginning,
that’s what we’re encouraging our fans to do and that’s where we see a lot of power
in what we’re doing. So what we do is at every single game we have
a new check-in deal, which is something Facebook offers. So anytime someone checks into the game it
will say “click here to claim tonight’s special deal” and it’s anything from a postgame player
Q&A to shooting free throws on the court after the game. We actually even had a photo with Jerry West
one night. That was only for the first 25 but, really
amazing unique experiences for fans that again goes into that added value column and it conditions
our fans. Every time they come to a game they’re going
to check-in to see what the deal is. We’ve actually seen a lot of success; we’ve
been number one or number two in check-ins across the league. We’re battling it out with the Lakers right
now trying to get that number one spot. But we’ve seen a lot of success with it and
a lot of fans love it and we’re going to definitely keep doing it.>>Trevor: Wow, that’s cool. I’m just flipping through some of the tabs
on here as well and you’ve got a deals tab here as well. With unique t-shirts and bobble heads that
people can claim. Is that around the same lines?>>Kevin: Yeah those are all of our past deals
that we’ve run during games. We had a free bobble head the other night,
we’ve had postgame free throws, Q&As with players, photos with the Warrior Girls, special
gifts from Jack In The Box so that’s another way we’ve integrated sponsors into this and
so that’s another way we’ve been able to monetize it. It’s been really successful and something
we would recommend for any team.>>Trevor: Excellent. Well these are all great examples of how sports
teams nowadays can be proactively using both Twitter and Facebook. I’m very impressed with what you guys are
doing. The wild west, as we say in the social media
world, I’m sure theres a million more things that will come in the next coming months but
Kevin it sounds like you’ve got your finger on the pulse as it relates to social media
stuff and I look forward to what you guys have coming up here in the future.>>Kevin: Thanks, I appreciate it.>>Trevor: Alright. Thanks very much for doing this Kevin.>>Kevin: No problem. Thanks for having me.

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