Cleveland Indians and Social Media: A 2010 Season Review

While the Indians didn’t lead the Central Division in the standings in 2010, that does not mean that the Indians were not leaders in other areas. We recently had the opportunity to interview Rob Campbell, who is part of the Indians team engaged in interesting and unique social media engagement initiatives. Many thanks to Rob for answering our questions and thanks to Kurt Krejny on the Fathom team for arranging this interview.

Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and how you ended up becoming a part of the Indians organization?
I started working for the Cleveland Indians in April 2010 and previously worked in Chicago for sponsorship consultancy IEG, LLC. At IEG I conducted sponsorship research and valued sponsorship packages. I also managed IEG’s social media platforms; blogging and video blogging on sponsorship, developing strategies and managing IEG’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. In my spare time, I created and managed the Twitter account for the athletic department of my alma mater, Northwestern University. In college I played baseball for Northwestern and have a deep affinity for the game.

At the very outset of the social program, did you have any desired outcomes other than awareness and engagement? Were there any particular baseline numbers you established and now regularly report on?  Are there any developing trends you can share?
The Indians social media strategy is multi-faceted. In its initial stage, we sought to establish a foothold in social media by interacting with fans that have already established themselves in the space. In essence, we want to join the conversation that is already taking place.
The organization tracks mentions of the Tribe Social Deck and the Cleveland Indians through various real-time means. Longer-term tracking of trends, sentiment and various feedback metrics over the season is handled by both social-media specific programs and internal tracking methods.

How would you compare the entire Indians organization to other teams in terms of social media activity used to support organization-wide goals?
Although we cannot speak accurately on the use of social media to support other clubs’ organization-wide goals we believe based on our efforts this year in social media and our internal philosophy surrounding its use that the Indians organization is on the forefront of social media integration.

Are there any written rules or policies for the Indians organization and players on how they use social media?
Both the organization and Major League Baseball provide rules and guidelines for social media use by members of the front office.  The Indians do not have any influence over players’ personal twitter accounts.  We offer media training seminars to our players during Spring Training in an attempt to help players successfully address any future media challenges that may arise in a professional manner.

How has the Tribe Social Deck evolved through the 2010 season?  Can you share any plans for the 2011 season?
Mustard visits the Tribe Social DeckThe Indians are always looking for ways to enhance, refresh and expand the Tribe Social Deck to provide attendees with the best social media ballpark experience possible. Upgrades to the Tribe Social Deck throughout the course of the 2010 season included a new flat-screen TV, power outlets and a private Wi-Fi network for attendees. The Indians aim to be on the forefront of social media in professional sports and we will be constantly analyzing what we can do to maintain that position.

Are the multiple profiles on Twitter intended to have different voices or purposes for social interaction?
Each of the organization’s different Twitter accounts are intended to speak to different audiences.  There is an overlap of people following both the @tribetalk and @tribeinsider accounts but the focus and material each account puts forward is different by design.  The @tribetalk account is more focused on promotions, news and the  experience while @tribeinsider provides access to the Indians clubhouse and stats. The @Indians account is currently managed by Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

What is your favorite memory of the 2010 season?
Aside from experiencing my first Opening Day, which is truly in a league of its own, the Kenny Lofton Hall of Fame induction game ranks high up there on my list.  Being there as Kenny Lofton unveiled his plaque in Heritage Park and on-field as he addressed a great Cleveland crowd with other Indians greats was a tremendous experience. There were definitely walk-off hits and great groups in the Tribe Social Deck that come to mind but sprinting around the underground area from Heritage Park to home plate to get photos and video of Kenny pregame combined with the overall experience was definitely a day at the ballpark I’ll never forget.

In the upcoming offseason, how do you plan to keep fans active in social media and engaged leading into the season?
We are currently planning a number of social media events for the off-season including events around the all-new Indians Snow Days.  Social media affords us the opportunity to stay engaged with fans in the off-season and enhance connectivity overall which we intend to leverage to the best of our ability.

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One Comment

  • Matt Keough says:

    I thought it was interesting that the Twitter accounts are intended for different audiences. Perhaps think about doing this for yourself if can support it, both in bandwidth and content. But be careful about confusing your audience!

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