In the instant ROI world we live in today, it seems that Twitter is the instant news communication tool for many. It is simple, quick and easy to use, no hassle, and little detail. However for all its quick and easy effectiveness, Twitter also has its shortcomings. If you are following somebody and miss their post, the message goes into thin air, and going to find that message can be difficult. Millions of followers are nice, but if only 50 are engaged at a certain time, the message can be lost, and repetitive posts can become white noise. Yes there are great strategies for effective twitter use, and very strategic ways to use twitter, but sometimes for the casual follower there is a risk of here now, gone in seconds.
Which brings us to Facebook and its massive audience and engagement platform. While not usually the place of choice for immediate and short messages, Facebook is still a massive, and sometimes underutilized tool for the casual engagement, especially in sports. It has stickiness with newsfeeds that can be picked up and read at any time; they don’t disappear in the instant of a twitter feed, and there is the opportunity for longer thought and of course, attachments far and wide that sometimes can get lost in twitters short character assignment. There is also the fact that Facebook, while not always the choice of millennials in a Snapchat world today, is growing with a slightly older audience who has a newfound zeal for the digital space, and can be just as influential an have more disposable income to use, than a younger somewhat more tech savvy generation. Factor in the growing platform of Instagram and the acquisition of WhatsApp, and Facebook can be just as, if not more effective still for engagement than twitter is.
Case in point from the past month in sports is New England Patriots star Tom Brady. As pointed out in a recent piece on For The Win, Brady has undergone a bit of a brand re-invention in the past few months. He rarely engaged in the social space, and while fans knew of him, that lack of extra engagement didn’t give millions a chance to really know him. Now that was probably a choice that was made consciously, to stay out of the limelight with his high profile family and stick to the quiet comfort of the Patriots domain; let people know little, and let the success on the field rule the day. However as time and careers go by, there is a chance for a post-NFL career that Brady may be seeing, and he has used Facebook to let people see a different side of him with photos, comments and some video coming out in a steady stream.
It has humanized him a bit, enhanced his brand, and given fans a look inside his thoughts and life, albeit a very controlled and strategic look, that was not there before. The result? A successful on the field Brady coupled with a more engaged off the field Brady makes for an interesting and growing follow, something that down the lines maybe brands and broadcasters will find even more appealing than ever before. Now for sure Tom Brady will never be hurting for off the field opportunities; he is a superstar almost beyond parallel in American sport. Money and fame will never be an issue. However legacy could be, and as we have seen with athletes like Derek Jeter, crafting that legacy as the career starts to wind down is important and by telling your story through a platform like Facebook, where images can stick and be visited by millions at their leisure, you are building a very intriguing mix for future opportunities that may not have come by if one wasn’t engaged. It’s not crisis management or spin really, it’s smart, successful brand building and storytelling, and the most successful individuals on the planet are at the end, great storytellers. That is what Brady is starting to do; tell his story better than before, and it looks like there is a lot to tell.
Now the intermixing of all forms of social media for many, especially for brands, is still key. Each has to have its own focus and cross-generation of information. However to reach a certain global group of engaged and interested followers with a little more than a short burst, one should never forget the Facebook strategy, and in sports, a future Hall of Fame quarterback may have unveiled a great playbook for success on that platform this fall.