In Canada, we like talking about the weather. it doesn’t matter what the season, Canadians complain about or worship the “weather man.” This fascination with weather, has turned Canada’s Weather Network into must see TV for millions of Canadians, and also created a marketing dream in social media.
The Weather Network is an organization that does social media well and one of the big reasons is because Canadians want to engage and talk about the weather. Whether it’s a snow storm in Calgary or the tail end of a hurricane in Nova Scotia, Canadians are eager to share pictures of damage caused by storms, or their neighbour digging out from 30 centimetres of snow.
By capitalizing on this interaction with their followers, the Weather Network has been able to build a significant audience of followers on its Facebook and Twitter sites. At last count, the Weather network has 348,000 followers on Twitter.
Many sports leagues are also very good at social media. With a large fan base that craves the latest news on player trades, new contract signings, and of course game results and statistics, there is a lot to talk about on social media when it comes to sports.
The National Football League may be the best at social media. Not surprisingly it is also the wealthiest of North America’s major sports and has the largest following. The NFL is a news making machine, and the added attention it attracts from sports journalists drive traffic to all of its platforms, including its social media accounts.
The NFL engages with its fans through a variety of social mediums, that are cross promoted through its television and radio coverage, web site, blogs, and other social media platforms. With almost 8-million Twitter followers and close to 12-million likes on Facebook, the NFL is a major social media influence. When you add in that every one of its 30 teams also has large social media followings, you have a proverbial social media juggernaut.
While the Weather Network and the NFL have their act together when it comes to social media, the same can’t be said about the Canadian Football League. While the CFL’s nine teams all use major social media avenues such as Twitter and Facebook, the league is hard to find on Facebook and has limited followers. Its performance is better on Twitter, but outside of game day tweets, there are a lot of missed opportunities to promote the league.
The biggest failure is not surprisingly the Toronto Argonauts, who despite operating in the largest Canadian city, continue to struggle to attract fans. The Argos limited presence on social media doesn’t help. A search on Facebook finds mostly fan based Argo sites and if I did find the official site, and I’m not sure that I did, it was the most inactivate Facebook page I have ever seen for a professional sports franchise. The content was stale, there were few photos and video links, and ultimately it left me with an impression of a team on its way to shutting down. Not what you want when you are already having a difficult time selling tickets.
To be effective, social media needs to be engaging and site owners need to be listening to what their followers are saying. Some organizations get it, but many others still haven’t turned up the volume and started singing from the same tune as those that are the leading act.