Last week I participated in a Twitter focus group held by the Red Sox. Two fellow participants, Jeff Esposito and Stephanie Silverstein, recently posted recaps on their blogs (Jeff’s, Stephanie’s). I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about the experience as well. Here goes…
The phrase “Necessity is the mother of all invention” quickly comes to mind when examining the marketing ingenuity of professional sports teams. It comes as no surprise that those teams with poor records (and correlating low attendance figures) often demonstrate greater creativity in their marketing than their more successful counterparts.
I was therefore pleasantly surprised to learn that the Red Sox were taking a proactive approach to improving their social media efforts by soliciting the opinions of Red Sox fans actively engaged in the social media space. I volunteered to take part in the one hour focus group along with about a dozen other people. The session was fairly relaxed and informal and produced a decent amount of valuable feedback and actionable advice (in my opinion). It easily could have lasted twice as long, if not longer. There seemed to be a general consensus that the team could and should provide more exclusive content with behind-the-scenes access and should increase its online engagement with fans, occasionally acknowledging them by name when possible.
I was pleased to see the Red Sox implement some of the suggestions in the days following. I give them credit for being open to making changes on the basis of the input they received in the focus group. I wish more teams would follow suit. I would, however, recommend that the Red Sox hold additional forums in order to hear from a broader audience and continue the process of enhancing the experience for fans following the team through social media channels.