A FanFueled Friend: Cleveland Indians Use Social Media to Engage and Reward Fans

22 Apr

When it comes to the “fan experience,” social media is a powerful resource for enhancing live events. Unfortunately, many organizations and venues fail to embrace this medium as a tool to connect and engage with their fans. For us, we view social media as a way to mobilize our users and reward them for their activity. Also, in situations like the Rewards Program we built for Camp Bisco, we treat social media as an interactive game fans can “play” to earn points.  In other words, we’re no strangers to using social media as a way to creatively reward and communicate with our fans. That’s why we’re excited to see what the Cleveland Indians are doing.

In 2010, the Indians became the first team in Major League Baseball to open a social media specific area – The Tribe Social Deck – and they have expanded the facilities this year. The brand new “Indians Social Suite” accommodates up to 12 fans who want to engage in social media throughout the game. These fans have wireless access as well as the same game notes that are provided to mainstream reporters. Basically, it’s a designated area that the Indians can use to reward their most “social” fans. The Indians also use these channels to offer exclusive ticket deals and giveaways.

Team president Mark Shapiro commented on these new initiatives by saying that social media gives them “the opportunity to direct messaging as well as engage their fans interactively and comprehensively.” And though an increase in revenue is typically the motivating factor behind any new campaign, Shapiro suggests that they’re not “looking to instantly monetize this in ticket sales” and that the use of social media is “part of a longer-term effort to communicate, to explain and to engage.”

Hopefully the Social Suite proves to be a success and more clubs follow the Indians’ lead. Take it from us, there is absolutely nothing to lose by finding new, innovative ways to engage and reward  fans. It’s a win-win for everyone.

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