CMO Spotlight: “…Keep Fans Engaged”, says Jacqueline Parkes, CMO, Major League Baseball (MLB)

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CMO Spotlight: “…Keep Fans Engaged”, says Jacqueline Parkes, CMO, Major League Baseball (MLB)“The season is no longer the season. Because of all the media platforms we have and the consumer interest, baseball is a 365-day property. Baseball is part of the seasons of people’s lives and that’s powerful, so we try to offer up new perspectives to keep fans engaged.”

Even a traditionally seasonal sport like baseball no longer markets in “spots and dots”. As Jacqueline Parkes, CMO of Major League Baseball says, “We celebrate that there is no off-season anymore. We look at new and dynamic ways to engage with our consumers…” Ranked #1 on the Forbes list of ‘50 Influential CMOs on Social Media’, Parkes has transformed MLB’s marketing strategy. At the core of this strategy is the consistent development and deployment of content, platforms and promotions that are shareable by peers. She was the driving force behind the MLB “Fan Cave”—a social media experiment designed to offer baseball fans an immersive experience with the sport. This highly publicized and innovative experiment is now over, but you can read all about it in this article.

Corporate marketing can take a page from the MLB book and change focus from push-pull strategies to creating year-round brand ambassadors. Social media offers a tremendous opportunity to engage your audience, strengthen relationships and encourage buyers to become ambassadors for your brand. Of course, it all boils down to generating valuable content for your brand that your audience is eager to discover, explore and also share.

6 Steps You Can Take to Make Your Social Content Shareable

  1. Build engagement through encouragement: It is definitely quality over quantity that you want, but can you control who joins your social fan club? There is no easy way to filter who follows you, becomes a friend, comments on your posts or likes and shares it. What’s more, you don’t know exactly why a fan shares a certain piece of your content. The best thing you can do is encourage your audience to stay engaged and measure how effective your content is through constant monitoring.
  2. Feed the craving: Too much time and energy goes into identifying the right platforms for marketing on social media. And that’s not surprising—there are too many “platform specialists” instead of knowledgeable marketers out there. More thought and planning should go into understanding what type of content your audience is craving. When your content efforts reflect your brand’s passion, thought leadership in the industry and unique insights that your audience wants, you are steps closer to having your content shared.
  3. Stop selling and start engaging: It is ironical, but the way to drive buyers into your funnel is by not selling on social media! Your audience is not on those social channels to buy—they are fact-finding, researching, comparing, discussing with peers and either moving (independently) closer to considering your company a possible vendor or further away from it. Relevant content and useful information is the way to engage; you cannot achieve that through hard sell.
  4. Network with influencers: So many organizations create some truly incredible content and then it sits on their website or on their blog. That’s a shame! And it seriously undermines the potential of your content to multi-task and go miles ahead towards engagement. It is not enough to build relationships with your target audience. You also need to reach out to the influencers in their circles and your own peers in the world of social media. That’s when you start to see a significant increase in the reach and shareability of your content.
  5. Be seen and heard in the right place at the right time: It’s a futile exercise to automate social content distribution. You may be wasting quality content on channels your audience does not visit enough. Research where your audience is going, how long they are there, how often, what discussions they are engaging in—then build content that is suited to those channels and is more likely to go viral due to the trending nature of topics you carefully choose to write about.
    Be seen and heard in the right place at the right time. – Louis Foong Click To Tweet
  6. Show quality responsiveness: The worst response to a customer service issue on a social channel is to say, “Thank you for your comment. We will get back to you.” Yes, it is better than not responding at all; but remember that you are only wasting your audience’s time with polite acknowledgement. Actions speak louder than words. If you respond asking for more information so that you can take up the matter with (specific) internal teams and have the issue resolved (by a certain date and time), then your audience is more patient and appreciative. Social channels such as Twitter are known to be 24×7 activity platforms. A customer raising an issue via Twitter is not going to wait more than a few short hours to hear back. Needless to say, everyone else in their circle is also waiting and watching to see how and when your company will respond. A timely and action-oriented response will elicit likes and virtual pats which, over time, will contribute to more engaged followers and greater sharing of your content.

Are your social media activities becoming a time sink? Are you spending valuable time and resources with barely any measurable results? Are your brand’s social signals dismally low? I would love to hear from you on my blog. Leave me a comment. You can also sign up for email updates.

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