No Morning Fog San Francisco Giants Social Media Success

No Morning Fog: San Francisco Giants Social Media Success

5 minute read
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Right now, Bryan Srabian is like the person charged with security in the SharePoint cloud at the Microsoft SharePoint conference during a live demo on SharePoint security.

He's the Dreamforce registration chief. He's Satya Nadella at the next women in business conference.

In short, Bryan Srabian's on stage. And everyone's watching.

That's what happens when you're the social media chief of the professional baseball team that calls tech country home and is playing on the world's biggest hardball stage.

The San Francisco Giants are in their third World Series in five seasons, taking on the Kansas City Royals tonight in the first game of the best-of-seven Fall Classic. Many call it "Destiny vs. Dynasty." The Royals won the World Series in 1985 but did not make the postseason after until now -- hence, the destiny tag. 

Tall Order

But for Srabian, this isn't destiny against dynasty. It's hashtags against shares and likes. It's tweets, comments, retweets.

He's stuck in social media quicksand -- charged with engaging San Francisco Giants fans in the savviest of American tech cities -- and is loving every minute of it.


"We are trying to just bring our fans closer to the game, increasing their engagement with the team," Srabian told CMSWire. "The postseason gives us this really amazing opportunity, anyone who works in sports digital relishes these opportunities. The irony of it all is that we typically are not enjoying the game as fans are, but we feel the same emotion and try to communicate that through our digital channels."

The hashtags are in full gear now, such as #OctoberTogether, an extension of the baseball team's #GiantTogether theme through the season:

There's also #OrangeOctober, something Srabian said has been used in previous postseasons and continues to do well: 

"We have seen remarkable engagement on all of our networks," Srabian told CMSWire. "We have put the emphasis on photos and video during the postseason, trying to give our fans a sense of what is happening in real time, the emotion, the passion, the story of the 2014 Giants. We are blending the content from our fans, content from our photographers, from us."

Srabian called the hometown sentiment toward the team "off the charts, like we’ve never seen before."

Perhaps it's because the team has more channels in social with which to work, even more so than in 2012 when the Giants last won the World Series.

Anatomy of Social Media Day

This is a pretty active social media team to begin with. Even when NOT winning World Series rings, the team started a Social Media Cafe that gained traction quickly.

But the postseason goes beyond just cafe duties. A typical day for Srabian starts early and naturally ends late. He's catching up on the news of the day regarding the playoffs, looking for interesting quotes, stats, facts and figures. He reads Reddit, Twitter, etc.

Learning Opportunities

Engagement-wise, the Giants social media team keeps active on Twitter and Facebook. 

"We try to go over all of our engagement stats from the day before, trying to spot any new trends, learning from what worked and what didn’t," he told CMSWire. "Try to look through all the photos, all the video, find any content that really transcends the story we are telling. It’s a huge team effort, along with our digital team at the Giants, our media relations department, our photography department, our video department, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, and more. It takes so many moving parts to capture everything."

Live games are all about bringing fans closer to the game. Fans are watching the game on TV, or streaming or listening on the radio or here. Some are simply following the team via Twitter updates.  

How does the Giants social media team of about 20 in total engage with one another? The team uses the Jive internal collaboration platform, which Srabian said helps "get everybody on the same page."

Works for B2B?

The social media director of a B2B tech company has different challenges than Srabian, naturally. The Giants and all other professional teams are a consumer brand heavily invested in consumers as customers.

Can social media work for B2B? Is it possible get ROI out of it B2B social campaigns when say, you're marketing plastic strips that go on dishwashers to manufacturers?

For us, it seems to come down to defining what your actual social media strategy is before you can determine ROI. Jeffrey Doak of Team Detroit taught us that very important lesson earlier this month.

Srabian and the Giants certainly have their strategy defined -- and for each particular campaign.

"Generally speaking we're looking for high engagement -- anything that gets our fans to retweet, share comment, like, but it depends on what specific campaign it is," Srabian said. "At the end of day if our fans are engaging with our content in different ways, it means they like what they're seeing and we're speaking in their language."

Title image by Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock.

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