5 Tips to Engage the Connected Fan from Hashtag Sports


Los Angeles one week, New York City the next.
Our event schedule is packed this year, and this week, we were in Times Square for Hashtag Sports. The event featured 3 days of thought leadership and innovation geared towards helping brands activate and engage around the connected fan.
From professional athletes to league personnel to agency heads, Hashtag Sports offered a full slate of sessions, each aimed at helping advertisers create content that resonates with their audience in today’s hyper-connected world.
With sessions taking place across two stages, each within the same building, it was easy to bounce between sets to catch the sessions most relevant to your brand’s efforts. The close-quarters setup fostered a casual networking environment, making it easy for individuals with similar interests to connect and talk shop.
Above all, the conversations and panels continually returned to one key theme. It’s all about the one, the individual, fan. How do you connect with the individual fan above your overall audience? How do you engage that fan to retain and enhance his/her loyalty over a lifetime?
To answer that question, we gathered five key takeaways to build individual loyalty across your fan base.

5 Tips to Engage the Connected Fan

1. Disinterests are just as valuable as interests. Today’s world is one where nearly any piece of information is available at our fingertips. Why wouldn’t you use that information to steer ad targeting? You wouldn’t send a discount for Yankees jerseys to a Mets fan, so why deliver an ad promotion to the fans of a competitor?
Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule, but it’s good to consider disinterests as much as interests when it comes to ad targeting.
2. Oversaturation does not equal overcompetition. Oversaturation refers to a space cluttered by too much of the same. It gets boring for the user, and it drives potential and current fans away. Overcompetition, on the other hand, pushes brands and individuals to adapt. It fosters innovation, and it engages current fans and attracts new ones.
Which does your brand contribute to? Hopefully the latter.
 3. Become a part of the experience. Consumers are looking for an experience, not an ad. With ad-blockers being used more than ever, viewers are giving brands and advertisers less and less time to pique interest. Ads are down from 60 seconds to 30 seconds to even 6 seconds today. How do you engage a viewer in 6 seconds?
Simple. Make your product a part of the experience. A brand example? Sure.
An athlete finishes a nutrition drink. Rather than throwing the can or bottle away, she sets it up on a ledge. Then, she throws a ball at it to practice her accuracy. This extends the lifespan of the product beyond consumption. It becomes a part of the experience, and odds are, she’ll pass the exercise on to her friends.
4. Listen to the fans, and give them what they want. Social media gives brands an unrivaled tool in the advertising world. The tool of listening. Brands can listen to individuals, groups, and masses alike. Social media users are more than willing to voice their likes, dislikes, and concerns. A brand doesn’t have to venture far into social data to find what fans want and don’t want from it.
Once you’ve figured out what your audience wants. Give it to them! Give them more of it. Find ways to give them what they want in new products, events, and promotions.
Figure out what it is that drives loyalty within your fan base leverage it.
 5. Live streaming, when used properly, is immeasurably powerful. Okay, it’s measurable, but you get the point. Unpredictable waves and weather patterns led the World Surf League (WSL) to unlock two of live streaming’s most powerful assets in agility and scalability.
The WSL couldn’t lock into traditional broadcasting contracts because they didn’t always know which day was going to produce ideal surf conditions. As a result, they have been live streaming events for over 15 years. In leveraging Facebook Live, they’ve amassed a loyal following of over 6.2 million fans, each as eager as the next to watch the next surf competition. Only Facebook Live can scale so large at a moment’s notice.
Additionally, the National Lacrosse League leveraged Twitter Live to grow an audience from 3,500 viewers to over 350,000.
In today’s market, fans and consumers have access to more information than ever. Conversely, so do advertisers. Keeping that in mind, brands can leverage that information to make better-educated decisions and ride the newest trends in technology to grow a fan base.
Enjoy this article? We’re pretty active on the event trail. Here are a few more event recaps you might enjoy:

Also, shoutout to Dough for quite possibly the best doughnut this blogger has ever had (the pink one).

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Background on The Social Lights
The Social Lights® is a social-first agency headquartered in Minneapolis that partners with clients to grow their business through strategy development, creative production, media buying, and social media management. Current clients include General Mills, Ecolab, Cargill, Caribou Coffee, Kwik Trip, Polaris and Massage Envy. The Social Lights was founded in 2011 and is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise. Learn more at The Social Lights.

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