Hockey is a big thing in my family. I grew up playing the sport, and I continue to play on a regular basis. I have coached minor hockey teams for the past dozen or so years.
I monitor two general groups: Groups that discuss the National Hockey League (including my two teams of interest – the Ottawa Senators and the Detroit Red Wings), and several minor hockey groups.
I follow the NHL primarily through Twitter accounts that include the official twitter accounts for the NHL, Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, and several sports networks, broadcasters and reporters that follow those teams and the NHL as a whole. I also follow a few of the players that play in the league.
It is apparent from following these accounts that the audience is very passionate about the sport. They are extremely knowledgeable and very loyal to their teams. They are also very engaged and quick to opine on the latest event or rumour.
The hockey communities consist of people with diversified cultures, genders, income levels, education levels, and lifestyles. The average follower is predominantly male, with above average income and education. It isn’t a cheap sport to get involved with, and most fans have played the game at some point in their life.
Followers want to receive and discuss the latest developments surrounding their team – most important to them is the ability to receive the most salient, accurate and expert information as quickly as possible. For this reason it behooves most NHL teams to offer immediate updates regarding their team’s latest developments – to pass along any information updating the status of individual players or external events that directly impact the team.
And because followers like to discuss their team, it’s important to offer fans an outlet to express their views. They want to talk about what’s great about their team, what’s not working, and offer advice on what actions the team should take in order to be successful. Yes, most fans are ‘armchair’ coaches or general managers – they have all the answers. Blogs and twitter accounts are perfect for this group – information can be provided, and followers can engage.
In addition, watching a hockey game (or most sports for that matter) is best enjoyed with others, sharing in the excitement and yelling at the screen together. When watching with others isn’t an option, Twitter and other social media allows people to participate in an exchange of commentary, which is the next best thing. Being part of a ‘community’ is very important to this group.
Any strategy or campaign targeting this market should focus on the following:
- ensure updates are always timely and accurate
- constantly ask this group (of armchair coaches) for their input through simple questions, surveys and polls (anything to generate fervent discussion and give followers a feeling of being part of a community).
If you’re a hockey fan, what is it that you look for from your social media accounts?