What happened at “Tweet – Blowing the Whistle on Social Media”?

Last night I attended Alex Kotler’s Football Partnerships panel, “Tweet: Blowing the Whistle on Social Media.” Greg Lalas, Chris Schlosser, Chris Toy and myself were the panelists, and there were some seriously smart people in the room, all with incredible perspectives. It was humbling and insightful to be included among this group to discuss and share information on how we are each using social media to achieve our business objectives. Big shout out to Alex Kotler, Adrian Melville and Jonathan Bennett of Football Partnerships for all their work putting this event together.

What I thought was especially evident is how each organization is so different in their approaches to social media. Here’s in initial run-down of the panelists, another post to follow with personal observations, post-event networking and quotes.

The Panelists

Greg Lalas – Editor of Goal.com@goalcom. This guy’s got great insight and a cool demeanor. Goal.com is a leader in online soccer news (certainly one of the few outlets that covers Women’s Professional Soccer with regularity). As a panelist, I thought he provided an educated look at how content creators like his company are using Social Media to drive readership, increase page views and build community. He was also the only panelist to ask me a question directly, which I really appreciated, about how WPS encourages their players to use Twitter. My answer: Twitter is definitely encouraged but is not a league requirement for players. We believe it’s important to maintain authenticity within the social space, and social media education is the first priority. Players will make their own choices about how they choose to engage.

Chris Schlosser – Director of Digital Strategy at Major League Soccer@cschlossed. Chris brought social media perspective from a established league that’s in the middle of a digital strategy shift. MLS, a single-entity sports league that’s managed to great extent at the league-level, is looking to approach social media by targeting local team markets and connecting influencers (GMs, players, owners, coaches, etc) directly with the community, while also providing a platform for like-minded fans to engage with one another. In a powerful discussion between Chris Schlosser and Greg Lalas, Chris said that mlsnet.com must think and act like a digital media company and measure success against others in that space. Interesting.

Chris Toy
, who referred to himself as the “wild card” panelist, owner and creator of Studs-up.com@christoy. Basically, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Chris writes a new Studs Up comic for his site. He’s a super stats-oriented guy whose targeted approach to marketing his site is driven by social media. Chris shared that he puts 100% of his marketing budget into Facebook, and uses the segmenting features to reach his audience. His ability to capture traffic from these outlets is amazing.

And then there was yours truly, Web Coordinator at Women’s Professional Soccer@vandey01. I had the good fortune of sitting next to Alex, who moderated the panel, so I was the first to answer all his questions (both good and nerve-racking at the same time). WPS is definitely in a unique position compared to the other panelists’ companies. The main reasons: we’re (1) new, (2) franchise-based, and (3) female. Among all the other things that were mentioned (page views, traffic, localization, marketing, etc.) the building-block of generating basic awareness is a priority for us.

After the event, I went to dinner with Alex Kotler, Tim Horton and Ryan Knapp and did an impromptu audio interview while gushing over the apps on my iPhone… Stay on the lookout, personal observations, post-event networking and quotes to follow.

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