Sports And Social Media: The Best Pairing Since Peanut Butter And Jelly

Social media and sports are like macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly…they just go together and make the world a better place.

If you go back to 2005 (16 years ago) and were in to sports, you followed your local teams because that’s all you had access to. Sure, there might be a few different Canadian NHL teams broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada once a week, but that was it. That meant that if someone came to your place, and knew you were a sports fan, that you were a big supporter of your hometown teams…same as your parents and possible the same as their parents.

That’s not the case anymore. Now, one family can have five different teams supported by five different people all living together under one roof. The thing is that it’s not that uncommon.

If you put satellite television and online streaming options aside, nothing has helped that like social media.

It doesn’t matter if you’re into soccer or baseball or hockey or basketball…you can follow any team in any league anywhere in the world.

If you’re a Liverpool FC fan who lives in Manitoba and can’t watch every game, then you can follow the team on Instagram and Twitter to get updates from when the starting lineups are announced until the final whistle blows.

If you’re a hockey fan in Ontario who wants to cheer for the Belfast Giants of the EIHL in the UK, then you like their social media channels for the in-game updates and join the supporters group on Facebook to talk about the latest game with other Giants fans. Other than not physically being at the games, there isn’t much of a difference.

Another way social media has made sports better for the fans is that it makes the players accessible. Professional athletes are no longer just people you hear about on the radio or see pictures of in magazines. Your favourite players on your favourite teams are people you follow on Twitter or Instagram and they may even follow you back.

Social media and sports isn’t just a pairing that is good for fans…it’s also good for the teams.

Say you’re a big junior hockey fan and your local Junior ‘A’ hockey team starts following you on Twitter and interacting with you. How much more likely are you then to promote the team on your account to your followers? By simply hitting follow and giving you a like or two, the team has gained a bigger audience without spending any money.

How much more likely are you to buy a jersey if the team and/or player not only follows you on Twitter/Instagram but actually interacts with you? How much more likely are you to buy tickets to see them play?

Like I said at the start…social media and sports just go together.

I’ve experienced this first-hand on both ends and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Tell me how social media has made the sports and teams and athletes you love more accessible.

Here’s Why Being Verified Is Overrated

I’m sure I’m not alone in the fact that from the first moment I learned what it meant to be verified I wanted that blue checkmark beside my name.

Being a radio news reporter I did everything I could in hopes they’d give it to me on Twitter; I changed my account email to my work email, I used a professional-ish headshot as a profile picture, had a clean and accurate bio and kept my handle clean and professional.

Even though none of that seemed to work, I still plugged along with my job and used my Twitter account for work sharing the stories I’d written and live-tweeting events I was covering.

Fast-forward to 2021 and Twitter has re-opened their verification request system. I put my name forward and they approve it. I cannot tell you how happy I was to FINALLY see that blue check mark beside my name after craving it since I signed up for my account in 2010.

I thought it would instantly boost my follower count, instantly increase the reach and popularity of my work and instantly increase the interaction with my posts. That didn’t happen.

Since I was verified a few months ago my follower count has more or less stayed where it was, the reach of my work is the same and unless I’m sharing my hot takes that Mets fans don’t like during the MLB All-Star Weekend or my hot takes on what’s happened in the latest F1 race the interactions aren’t going up either.

That made me really think about what has gotten me the most traction on Twitter. It wasn’t the blue checkmark, but what I’ve been talking about and my ability to get eyeballs on my tweets that will reply, like or retweet what I’m saying.

At the end of the day, for the most part, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been verified or not (unless you’re a major celebrity/sports team/corporation). What matters is that you’re talking about something that people care about.

The tweet above would have had the same level of interaction whether I was verified or not because of who interacted with it and what it was about.

Now don’t get me wrong, being verified is a big deal and can make a huge difference (as I mentioned above) if you’re a major celebrity or a big corporation. When it comes to your local bakery or your local news reporter (like me) it’s all about what you’re saying, who you’re saying it to and how you’re saying it.

If you’re using Twitter to promote your personal brand or blog or business, keep your tweets and content within the confines of that brand/blog/business area (if you’re blogging about a specific sports team, just talk about that team, if you’re business sells jam then don’t talk about cars) and you’ll be on a better path to increasing your exposure than you would if you expect that blue checkmark to do the work for you.

I know I’m just one person with one voice, so let me know what YOU think in the comments below. Is going through the process of trying to get verified worth it?