Running Social for the Denver Broncos with Ben Hunt
Director of Digital Media for the Denver Broncos, Ben Hunt, joined the business of social to discuss what it's like running all things social/digital for an NFL team.
How do you shift your approach for a losing season vs. a winning season? What would you do with unlimited budget? Ben gives his take on how the team handles should be managed, what it's like to spike up for a game day, and the "arms race" that has become schedule release day.
How do you handle a new platform like TikTok or IGTV? Do you dive in head first, or let others test the waters for you?
Here are the highlights:
[15:20]: What are the Top 3 Ways Brands Should be Utilizing Twitter?”
David: “How Do You Handle a New Platform Release like a TikTok or an IGTV? How do you make the decision whether to invest in those or not?”
Ben: We don’t typically want to be first movers in the space. I know there’s a lot of people that always want to be in the first new thing when it comes out, but I want to be able to look into it first.
We need to use our resources that are gonna best benefit us and our fans, right? If its TikTok, IG Stories or IGTV. it may not always be effective for us to go full boar on one. We want stick our toe in the water and check it out, but it’s not something we want to get tied to and get our fans invested in, and then it’s something we have to pull the plug on. Thats not good for anyone!”
What is going on everybody? This is the business of social podcast powered by STN digital. I'm your host, David Brickley. Every single show. We're talking to the experts, getting you the low down on the digital social marketing world and the ever changing digital landscape. We got episode 33 one 33 when I think, I mean Scotty Pippin, everybody when I was a kid growing up in basketball, everybody wanted 23 and I just stayed away from it and I'm just like, give me 33 I'll take Scotty all day. Scotty was my guy. So this is the Scotty Pippin pocket. I there have been less than, yeah, Larry Bird, you had Kareem all Dojo Bar Lauren who helps us on the show, used to work in the Miami Heat. He said, don't forget about Lonzo mourning. You know, I was talking about a top 200 player. We gotta make sure we get up in the top, you know, top 50 for Scotty.
Scotty. I will say this, Scott even podcast, that's I'll say, uh, Ben Hunt actually spent some time at the San Antonio Spurs. And when I say time, I mean seven years. So that's actually a good amount of time. So I think we'll talk a little NBA to here towards the top. Um, but I think ham being at an NBA team and now at the Denver Broncos, of course being the director of digital media, uh, we'll get into the NFL right now. We're in that season, right, the schedule release NFL draft and he's gearing up for all that. But that's really when a lot of, uh, the NFL clients of ours and teams and everything like that really start to gear up for really a six month crazy stretch or shoot seven, eight months at some point. Uh, the draft happens, there's a little bit of a lull and then come August 1st. Uh, it's just a crazy amount of work all the way until Christmas time. So I know that's coming up for him. Excited to talk to him. Episode 33, the Director of digital media at the Denver Broncos. Ben Hunt.
All right. He is the director of digital media at the Denver Broncos. Ben Hunt joins us. Ben, thanks so much. For the time, man.
David, thanks for having me.
All right, so we always start off with a random question. I know you're a basketball junkie, like myself. Who is the MBAs MVP Giannis or James Harden.
Oh that's tough. Uh, I mean what both of the players have done this year is really, um, I mean off the charts, uh, from an individual and team perspective. Um, you know, James has put up a lot of points but I think he honest probably, um, has the edge just from the wow factor and if you're taking in, you know, the way fans consume the game now I, I think Yonis is probably edging, uh, that bid on j
and I think you can't really fault Yonis for not having injuries like the rockets stick. Cause the reason why James put together those, you know, string of 40 and 30 point gangs is because he literally had the carry of the squad. You honestly had to do that. But the bucks being where they were, I mean the bucks have been nowhere near playoff contention for 30 years. So,
yeah, you got to give a shout out to coach Bud too. I mean, he's done a heck of a job. Uh, you know, head coach in that team and obviously a spurs tie. They're so dear, dear to my heart. But um, yeah, at this point I, I slightly probably give the edge to be honest.
Yeah. I'm Greek. So I've always been a big fan of the Greek freak man. Um, as a former spur, you're probably, uh, loving this, but in your opinion, will my Lakers figure it out this off season or is it, uh, is it doomsday?
Uh, I think the Lakers will always figure it out. It just depends on how long it's going to take them to figure it out. Right? Yeah. Well, I mean, when you have a lot of success, you become a little bit more impatient, right? We expect a return on investment immediately and, um, I have confidence that, uh, the Lakers will get things turned around
that man. Alright. Start things off good here. Okay. So you actually see your point about, um, some NBA talk. You spent seven years at the San Antonio Spurs and then you've moved on to the NFL and the Denver Broncos since 2014, I believe. So, uh, I think we'd actually talked back when you were at the Spurs, so it's been a good ride for you and all the career success, but can you give the listeners just a quick breakdown of your current role at the Broncos and what you oversee day to day?
Yeah, so director of digital at the Broncos, I mean that's a expanse of title, but pretty much all the content, uh, that's, you know, on all of our platforms, our website or app and all our social channels. Um, plus, you know, we, we obviously try to look into new technologies and that takes a while to get all those different, uh, pieces that we might wanna use to some degrees. So a lot of that too, not just with the app, but what social tools we might use or, um, those types of things. So, uh, yeah, that's, that's what I oversee. I'm like, team does a fantastic job. We have great bunch of content providers and um, you know, they, they definitely do the Yeoman's work day in and day out.
Nice. Um, well you know, it's funny this a little bit inside baseball talk for those that work in the NFL, but this NFL schedule release has been turned into such a big day in the NFL and such a, um, I guess people just competing against each other for who's going to have the coolest schedule release. I guys, I wanted to get your thoughts outside of yours cause you're bias, which I thought was a really well done job. Who Do you think one NFL schedule release day?
You know, I mean somebody come in at or last week on Twitter. I think that it's become an arms race with scheduling leads and I absolutely believe that it's a day that we get to capture, you know, the entire NFL markets, um, attention, which is obviously great for us. Right?
Keep in mind it's a very rare day for the NFL cause everybody's on the same level playing field for one. So, rather than a team that has two wins versus 14 wins type deal.
Yeah, I mean as far as who did it the best. I mean there's a few teams out there that I, I thought took really creative slants on it. Um, I mean I gotta give a shout out to the chargers that Joe and Megan and that team, I mean the stock images, that was very creative. I don't, I don't think, uh, too many brands maybe have the, um, the courage to go in that direction. Um, I also liked what the panthers did. I thought tying in the retro video games, which, you know, we tied in the mad and aspects for hours. Um, I think that hits to a more casual fan, um, as opposed to just here's the list of the schedule. It gives them an opportunity to, to think of the schedule differently. Right. And I think the panthers did a really great job.
Yeah, I agree. Um, all right. So let's get into just overall some of your beliefs or tactics. How do you approach social and coming from the NBA and going the Broncos internally? Kind of what's your core belief and how do you approach it?
Well, I mean, we, we want to create the best content we can and engage our audience. And, you know, over the past four years, five years now, um, the, the social media platforms have changed a lot, right? I mean, whether it's constant evolution of, you know, Twitter giving you more characters or Facebook's algorithm changing every six, eight, nine, 12 months
is every day. We just don't know.
It probably does. But now I think trying to catch up with that, you know, can be a lot for all of us a bear. But you know, I think for us, you know, it's still, you know, delivering good, delivering good stories, delivering good content to our fans and what all these platforms have really separated themselves on is it's not good enough to just post the same thing across all your digital channels. I mean, you know, digital and social channels, um, so we have to get, you know, smarter about where we're putting things. Uh, we don't necessarily need to look at every piece of content needs to be spread ubiquitously across all the platforms, but, you know, it gets into deeper of knowing who those audiences are. Uh, the Twitter audiences is way different than what your Instagram audience is versus your Facebook audience. Um, so it's really finding out what really resonates with those fans and trying to drive that message home.
And for you, how do you make the decision either internally or just, you know, for your team when you're going to invest in a new feature or platform? You look at Ige TV, a lot of people are, you know, that algorithm seems to be juiced right now, which is nice for marketers. A tech talk is obviously an, a, an incredibly impressive platform right now, but, you know, there's only so much time in the day. So at the, at the Broncos level, how do you make the decision to spend that extra three hours to make a vertical video for IGT? V specifically? Like how do you balance that internally?
Yeah, so iggb specifically is not something that we've done a lot in really. Um, we, we don't typically want to be first movers in the space. I know there's a, a lot of my counterparts out there that always wanted to be in the first new thing when it comes out, but I want to be able to figure it out. Yeah. Well it's also using our resources that best going to benefit us and our fans. Right. So I mean, you know, w if it's tick talk or Instagram stories or you know, ige TV, Facebook watches an example of that. Right? So I mean there's all the platforms are creating all these different areas to grab your attention and it might not always be effective for us to just go out there and go full boar on. Right. Um, so we kind of let it play out a little bit and see where it's going before we jump in with both feet. But, uh, we'll, we'll stick our toe in the water and check it out, but that's not something I want us to get tied to, to get, you know, all of our fans invested in it. And then we have to pull the plug on it at some point. I don't think that's a good, I don't think that's a good experience for anyone.
That makes total sense. What is a common mistake that you see potentially other teams without naming names of other teams or other brands making when it comes to managing their community on social?
I mean, I think that this is, you know, across all teams, ours included, um, and you gotta be able to take risks. Um, I think, you know, we, we all understand that, you know, their social communities are a place where people are having fun and they're entertaining and everything doesn't have to be so, uh, laced. And I feel like sometimes we as brands can get so protected behind who we are and who our brand represents and how we represent our brands that, uh, we can be too cautious. So, I mean, I, I think it should be a, a place where we have more fun and, um, a place where we can, you know, take a little bit more risk. Now, of course you have the, the peanut gallery across social that something fails. You just get completely, you know, torn to shreds. But you know, to some degree I think that there's a benefit in that. Right? So, uh, and by a benefit and getting torn to shreds, it's like, hey, at least you're driving a conversation. That's the one thing you can take away from it. You know, when you're, when you're too cautious. Um, I believe at times, uh, people take that for granted and are, and are more willing to move on.
Well, it's funny you mentioned the charges too with the stock video, which I think all of us in social appreciated, but I think you can agree with me on this too. I can totally see the president or the owner of the franchise walking in and going, what the hell is this? Like this is a big moment for our team. John La Walks into your office. Like, I just saw this come across my answer on what is this stupid goat thing? Like, oh no, John, they like it. Trust me. I mean, you kind of have to balance that right? Like, cause you have the answer to not only what's cool on social, but also how do you represent the Denver Bronco brand from the top down.
Absolutely. Um, you know, I, I think, you know, having a, a clear communication of what you're trying to do up front, um, you know, we engaged our partnership team early and it's like we'd like to incorporate a part of ours. Um, and you know, we want gaming, so we thought Madden made sense for us. But yeah, I mean you have to have communication on what you're trying to do. And then at the end of the day have buy in and in the chargers example, they, they executed. So I'm guessing they must've had from very top.
Yeah. That's probably something you've dealt with your whole career so far. But with being in social and the algorithm changes, like you mentioned earlier in the show, um, you know, there's a lot of social touches. Everybody touches PR and marketing and the ownership, the coaches, the players, and a lot of people have opinions on what should be up on social and why have you given a x, y, or z love. Um, have you had any, I guess, tips and tricks for the listeners out there to explain how social works and why you need to have a quality over quantity and things like that?
Yeah, no, it's tough, man. It's a battle. I think everybody in my position fights every day. I wish I could say we do it as well as I would like to on all cases. Um, but sometimes you, you have to figure out, is this the hill worth dying on? Right? And sometimes it might not be. There are oftentimes where you're so passionate about something that you do want to, you know, stake your flag in it and say, this is where we're not moving. Um, but at the end of the day, um, I think one of, one of your guests before is like trying to find polite ways to say no. And that can be tough. Uh, we, we understand that, you know, we have, you know, a large fan base that to some degree we need to be able to get messages out that are organizational, um, from our organization's perspective.
Uh, but at the same time we have to be able to figure out what's the most effective way to get that message out. It's not just plastered all over social necessarily to, to make that work. And, and that's always a learning process. Um, you know, one of the campaigns that we did over the past year was, uh, we have a taste of Broncos, uh, which you know, is, is basically a tailgating food that we sell tickets for, but all the money goes to the Food Bank of the Rockies. So it's a great cause, but it doesn't necessarily resonate to all the fans that are outside of Colorado. And, uh, one thing we did this year was we, you know, we, we made a paid campaign for it. And, uh, it was, it was, it was a lot better performance. So we were lucky to have a von take place and he was a celebrity waiter. Benjamin was his nay ice. And uh, we basically created an audience off the people who watched that content and then serve them the taste, the Broncos ad. And you know, in year two we significantly outpaced with the, the sales were for year one just by taking a different tactic. So a lot of times it's just educating the powers that be of what that process is and how you can best help them.
I think another tactic too, I've seen work is creating some sub channels like um, and want to serve how you guys set it up internally, but an app, Broncos PR account and that can be more of the, you know, the stuff that needs to get out there and space but not necessarily plastered across the mothership handle. Have you utilized some of that as well to get the message out and retweet just not to affect overall engagement?
Yeah, so I'm our senior VP or EVP of PR, Patrick Semi, uh, he has his Twitter account wheeled retweet from that. A lot of our community relations department, they have an account Broncos off field. Um, then we also have a promos account. So we suggest that a lot of times some of the messaging come from those and we're happy to help amplify them. Uh, but you know, the, the content that it's original, the source that it's originating from, the content better aligns that way.
Absolutely. All right. Um, where do you currently think the undervalue attention is in digital media?
Uh, I think you hit on it earlier. I think it's less, it's more, uh, you know, if we turn the page, you know, you know, back a couple of years, uh, the platforms were tilling as opposed to everything, just, just keep posting and we'll sort it out and help you. Well, it's coming back to more of the 20, 10, 2011, 2012 theory of this is really community building, right? And we really want to give the best content in these places, uh, not necessarily just plaster it everywhere. So, um, there's, there's still a lot of folks out there and we're guilty guilty of it too, of steel po po just posting too much. Um, and, uh, I think that's where the undervalued attention is. And again, that comes with just buy in for 'em all our different organizations.
That being said, what do you think about game day? Cause I think on Twitter specifically for an NFL team, um, how are you, how are you going to it this season? Is there any different than the last couple of years in terms of making sure the fans up to date on what's happening in the game? What's your philosophy on Game Day?
Yeah, so we, we, we've challenged our gameday strategy a little last year. Uh, we kinda let Twitter be our fire hose is, that's, you know, where the constant source of information is. But we definitely scaled back what we were posting on Facebook as a whole. Yeah. We decided to really go with the strongest images just on Facebook. There's not the realtime platform that Twitter is right on Instagram. We focused on those really high level photos. There's, you know, a ton of just awesome photo accounts out there on Instagram. And those seem to be the ones that resonate the most with their audiences. So, uh, those were the two, the, the two opportunities on doing a little bit more, um, you know, just on Twitter and then on Instagram. But Facebook we definitely pulled back. Um, I, I liked where we were at. I think on, you know, Twitter, it's, it's tough to always satisfy the appetite of those real time updates. Uh, but I think we're looking into, you know, maybe be more about the excitement and less about the playback play in the coming year. Uh, which makes a lot of sense if you just think out about how the content is consumed there.
And I dunno if you've seen this too on your platforms, but I've seen it a lot, even as of late, especially on Instagram. It's almost like the old overnight ratings and Nielsen, uh, the content is because of the algorithm is being pushed. You Post it on, on a Sunday night football game and that next day, uh, on that Monday, you'll get way more engagement than you did probably during the actual game because it's kind of a gift that keeps on giving with the algorithm the next day.
Yeah. Especially when you win. Right? I mean you're, you're, you're, you're getting that tremendous upside on that Monday. But yeah, people love to see that in their feed and they engage with it and then it resurfaces again or another picture maybe surfaces up again. Um, so yeah, no, I think Instagram, Instagram's definitely a place that doesn't need to have your score graphics on it as much, but a chapter in the excitement of the game really makes a lot of sense there.
How do you measure year over year success? Because I think in sports it's so determined, like you said earlier about the success on the field and you may even have a seven and nine season compared to a nine and seven, but the seven and nine had three hail Marys that just led to an a crazy amount of engagement. So the next year, although you've one more, your engagement year over year may be down. How do you explain that internally? I guess? What are you guys looking at to make sure, uh, you're growing but also looking at what's happening on the field?
Yeah, I think it's breaking it down by platform on what your expectations are as there. I mean as a whole, sure. We want to see engagement of across the board on everything. Um, but you know, there's so many metrics that we can, you know, measure ourselves by that. It's tough. It's really a tough position to say that we want to be the best in these 10 different categories and to some degree that those, those different metrics might work against each other specifically. Um, you know, just the app and our website. But on social, I mean, it's pretty easy to engage the reach you're getting. It's pretty easy to gauge the engagement you're getting and as long as we see those going, you know, in a, in positive ways, that makes me happy. Um, there we'd all love to be able to see, you know, triple digit, quadruple digit percentage, uh, fan growth, but you know, some of these areas that's just not attainable. So all you gotta all you gotta do is just keep, you know, co coming back to my spurs days, uh, with coach pop, just keep pounding the rock. Right? You get, you know, we, even when you're having a bad season, as long as you're delivering those, that good content, it's not the, you know, 100th blow that breaks the stone. It's the 99 that went before it. So you just got to keep going at it. Yeah.
Speaking of that, I saw skip Bayless. They did. Nobody was a top 30 player of all time. I know you're a big to nobody guy, but come on
top 30 all time. I mean, as far as as a great person. Yeah. He's what he's been at. He's been one of the best people that I've ever had the opportunity to work with. Um, I mean, if we're talking international players, then of course I don't have a question about that, what he meant to a franchise. Maybe we can argue that, but there's, you know, there's been a long list of great basketball players and it's hard to, to be able to put any guy without, you know, the accolades of a Tim Dunkin and, and Bill Russell and Brian James and a Michael Jordan, you know, in, in the tops. I agree.
Okay. So, um, I got a nightmare scenario for you. The Broncos go, Oh and 16. Let's say we have a crystal ball. You guys go home and 16 this year. If you knew that today, what, what are the things you can control? So you know that on-field is going to be really bad, fans are going to be irritated, but there are certain things you can control to make sure that you're still building the community and speaking to fans, what would you, what would your strategy be just off the top of your head if that, if that happens because the browns have had deal with it quite a bit in the last decade.
you know, I got to give a shout out to the browns. I think they've done a tremendous job, you know, just building their fan base and creating insight, excitement and entertaining and engaging content. Um, they have, they have one of the most hardcore dedicated fan base, much like our own, uh, that, that wants results. Right. And they want the stripe straight football news to some extent. Um, but that's not really what in our space tills you up for longterm success. One, you have to be truthful, right? You have to be able to call the bad things as they're happening. And when one of the posts, I think we did either last year or the year before was, you know, just having empathy with our fans, like that was a tough loss. Just recognizing that with our fans. I mean, that was a good post for us as far as engagement and, you know, replies go.
Uh, but you also have to have a sense of humor. You know, you obviously need to have some entertaining content like I was mentioning earlier. Um, because you know, those hardcore fans, you don't want them to turn complacent, but at least you want them to be able to somewhat be able to laugh through their pain, I guess. Um, so you gotta be honest with you gotta be entertaining and you gotta be able to at least be, um, providing them something outside of what they're disconnecting for their, their passion for their football team. But shift that from the off field to more of this is um, this is more lighthearted pieces of work we hope you like. Yeah, I think you're so right about that. Just being genuine to the audience of what's happening. And I liked that empathy because I remember I was a Laker fan when we are like 28, you know, whatever. With uh, back in the day with D'Angelo, Russell and, and crew, there was a tweet on the main account as we're getting beat by 25, the Lakers have the best three point percentage in the third quarter this season and the entire NBA, it's like, come on, like you're now, you're now you're reaching type deal and uh, rather than just saying, hey guys, like another tough loss like you've mentioned it just kind of being more, more genuine.
Yeah, that happens to us all. I mean it comes back to um, you know, being, being willing to be honest, but also from an organizational perspective, you want to at least shed some type of positivity when you can. I'm not saying that particular to me, but at the same time, I mean there are good things happening that night, not just come out as a win in law and you gotta be able to at least recognize those when they're, you know, worthwhile to do. So.
Yeah. I want to talk about your team and just the culture inside the Broncos because I think it's important, especially in sports. I mean you get NFL three 65 and we just talked about before the show started, the NFL schedule release and the NFL draft it. Now you guys are kind of gearing up for a crazy six month sprint here. Um, how have you built your team internally and what's the, what's the culture when you guys are working those long hours and making sure you stay positive type?
Yeah, so, um, the team is mostly content providers. We have a designer and developer, we have two designers and developers who are part of our staff. But everybody else is, you know, focused on creating content and um, you know, they're all there together on every road trip. You know, everything that goes on as far as content, um, you know, here when, you know, drafts, you know, coach hirings, that type of stuff are going on, but you know, they're, they're a really tight knit group. Um, you know, a lot of friendships in the room. Um, I think just as far as they working together and creating content, when you have nine people doing that, I mean communication, right? It is at a premium and um, you kind of get in the position of automatically maybe presuming what your counterpart's doing, but sometimes it's, you know, just being direct and following up with an email as, but as opposed to more casual conversations.
So for us, I mean, I, I'm big on trying to help us with communication and however we can. I think all organizations you can probably identify with this is, um, it's always better to try to over communicate than under communicate. Um, you know, if there's a misunderstanding from over communication, that's something that you can always work out. If it's something that's you're, you're under communicating on, then that makes it a challenge on both the, the person originating that message and whoever needs to receive it. So, uh, that's where we try to, you know, do better at every day. It's just being better communicators.
What a, if you're hiring a new person to your team, what are the couple of things that you're looking for? Some of those things that must be present in order for them to work on your squad?
I mean, someone who has a, an innovation mindset take to help, you know, kick us out of sometimes the Rudd or the way that, you know, we typically like to do things is always a positive for us. Um, but overall, somebody who's just a really good teammate, um, someone who's willing to jump in on any project, whether it's their idea or somebody else's that they need to be able to help out with. And this industry man, absolutely. And you know, w when you're just have that dedication built into you, that you want the team to be the best and you're willing to jump in and on anything and everything that's going on, not just in the department but as the organization as a whole. Um, I mean those people are invaluable, right? I mean, you can't have enough of, you know, I think in baseball they call it five tools. You can't, you can't have enough of that
Jack of all trades. I tell almost everybody we hire here at STN. Um, your job description will change probably every month. So you need to be flexible and as you know, we get new clients and for you as new platforms, you may have to have someone that runs tick-tock 24, seven and two, two years, who knows, like where things will go. So that's the important thing about it being flexible.
Yeah. I don't know that it's necessarily a jack of all trades. I think in what we do, there's definitely, um, specialty skills and things that you want to be a master at as opposed to being just really good at a lot of things. Uh, but more than anything, it's just the willingness to be able to jump in if it's in your comfort zone or not. Right. You're, you're willing to handle
well it's your point, your, your expert analytics can they go down cause you need an extra set, uh, an iPhone realm or on the field cause someone's sick that day. Like stuff like just being able to say, no, I'm analytics. Sorry I don't do that. Like, no, you need the, we need people that can run and gun type deal. Absolutely. Yep. All right. So how are you guys internally measuring your success? We talked a little bit about um, you know, your growth and engagement. Everybody wants to have double digit engagement, things like that. But are there numbers, um, whether it be on crowdtangle or maybe internally at the NFL, I know they send out those weekly reports, a couple of numbers you're looking at weekly to kind of assess success for you guys?
Yeah, I mean we, we always want to see that engagement move. Um, we're not all of a sudden concentrating on being number one in all that categories. We'd love to be, uh, but we, we want to see that moving in the right direction. Some weeks we can probably ascertain as why we didn't move up two or three spots or five spots. Right. Uh, and then that's, you know, allows us to better put the screws in on how we can do better on those weeks where we don't have Nunes or we don't have, uh, the best creative, uh, content that we've come up with. Um, I think as far as, you know, what we're trying to develop is more of a, a growth strategy on Instagram for ourselves. Um, you know, we, we've, we've done really well over the past couple of years, but that's an area where more and more of, you know, the social attention as being at is, is in Instagram, uh, on the platform and in the stories. Um, so we're trying to, you know, do better and adding followers and subscribers to those channels. Um, that's tough. Uh, because a lot of times you're, you know, speaking to the same Broncos fans. Right. So how,
and at what point do you meet a mass saturation where every bronco fan that would follow you has followed, you said until there's some [inaudible].
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Um, so the number of followers at the end of the day is kind of a vanity metric, but I still don't think that we've reached the, you know, the amount that we can be at. Um, so it's, it's not the number one thing that concerns us. We always just want to see more consumption and more engagement across the platforms. Um, but we, we would like to, we'd like to see ourselves grow.
That it's funny you say vanity metric because that's the one thing, people that aren't in the depths of social and at the higher level that presidents and CEOs, they don't, they just want more followers. They want a million followers, they want 10 million. Why does this team have more followers than us? And you much rather have a more engaging audience at a lower follower rate than more followers and a less engaging rate. Um, but that's tough to tough to communicate. That's an important vantage.
Well, and you know, when Facebook, um, you know, broke out your right, that doesn't necessarily mean that's the likes that you have, that that was, that was a tough one to explain back in the day. And now I think that, you know, the higher ups understand that, you know, your light number isn't as important as who you're actually reaching with your posts. And, um, you know, I, I think all the platforms to some extent are there, right? Like, you know, whatever your Twitter number is, like, you're not reaching all those people now. Right. So that that's the more important number of what's actually happening as opposed to that banner, the number of, we have, you know, a kajillion followers across all our platforms. That's, you know, if you're, if you're not getting them to engage, it doesn't really matter.
Yup. And I think, you know, Facebook on average is like 0.01% that you can reach organically. So what is that? If you have a thousand followers, you can reach to one of them type deal on average. It's pretty tough.
Yeah. And I mean, it makes you, you know, create a paid strategy, right? I mean, unfortunately it's a, it's a pay to play space and you have to be able to understand what deserves dollars and what dark posts you might need to put out there as opposed to just, we're just throwing it all in the feet.
Have you guys experienced super random, but have you experienced at all with Facebook groups at all or have you seen anybody do that to?
We, we haven't. And it's something that, um, I've, I've had a Caroline dicey on our social team really start looking at for us. I know the Miami Dolphins have done one and uh, we'll probably be reaching out to them to find what their success has been like, like for it. But at the end of the day, I mean, any way that we can help facilitate fan conversations around our teams in general, I think that's a good thing. Um, you know, it, it makes it tough to be able to give them free reign but still try to have some input and control over it. So that's kind of where the separation in my mind is. If we want to do this, we need to have a really thoughtful process of why and how we're doing as opposed to we're just creating a group.
Um, what this is like, again, getting really granular, but in Instagram you can also tell what piece of content has gotten you the most followers. Just going, those of you who don't know, they were listening and going into insights going into sort by engagement. But you can sort by follows and you can tell what piece of content Kinda got you the most followers based on that content. I asked that because I say that because I want to see from your standpoint been, has there been like a successful single tweet or Instagram campaign that has led to a really amazing amount of growth that maybe you didn't expect going into it?
Um, I mean most recently, I mean, we did the two pieces for the scheduled release. We did the Madden piece and we did a, a text message thread or, and it's the message I am thread, uh, with our guys. And um, you know, quite frankly, I, I thought they would both do well, but I was shocked at how well that conversation in, in the iMessage performed a compared to the Madden piece because none of the day, I mean, this is me sitting back here thinking like, if I'm a fan, I want to see what the content of the schedule is, right? Like today is scheduled. At least they, I want to see the schedule. Uh, but you know, what we've seen from just our, you know, post-performance analysis was being fun and having that conversation between our players actually was the best, best route for our fans as far as not just engagement, but also
you did a legitimate ab test for schedule relates what's up. I don't think a lot of teams did, but that's super smart. You guys did that.
Well, a and m I'm still curious, we're, we're, we're trying to, we'll probably ab test some more of this later, but was it how close we posted it to the schedule release that we need to give it some more brass? Should that been something that we posted later in the morning? Right. So not to diminish the success of the post at all, but there's a lot of things around why that may have performed better, uh, than what we thought the original schedule at least did. But I'm not just some, just some interesting learnings that we took off of this past week.
Well, I think a lot of, and I'm sure you have some colleagues internally at the Broncos that you know, make these incredible video pieces or these promos. Um, and I think it's frustrating for a lot of long form editors that create this, this minute long, beautiful, gorgeous piece with music and it's very tense and it gets the fans riled up and then, you know, a picture of egg gets a, gets 100 million likes or whatever it was. So, you know, I think sometimes the, I guess the budget go on behind some of these things may not get the same engagement, but it's tough to choose why, why certain things work and why they don't, you know,
and you look at that as like, this cost me have, are many man hours and you know, development hours to make this beautiful thing and posting something completely random does so much better. Yeah. I mean that, that goes to Internet and social media culture to some degree. I mean, when you think you haven't figured it out, um, you know, you get hit with a left hook. Yeah.
If no budget in the world, if it was all about engagement, they'd probably be best to just focus on memes and gifs. And that's it. Just focus out
well, I mean, you see it, there are accounts out there that every day they just regurgitate me. Right? Right. Hundreds of thousands of followers and likes and unfortunately from, you know, a sports sporting club and a brand place, that's not something that you really want to go overboard in and do.
Yup. All right. So I gave you your nightmare scenario. Oh. And 16. I'll give you a dream now. And that's a Ben, they come into your office, your direct report says you have all the budget in the world. Now you can do whatever you'd like with your department. What are some of the things immediately that you would love to do as you, uh, kind of kid, kid in a candy shop in this scenario?
I mean, Gosh, now you've got my mind running wild. Um, I think something that, you know, we've seen across all platforms, uh, it's just, it's, uh, they become more visual mediums, right? Whether they are motion graphics or high impact videos, um, I'd, I'd been invest more resources in producing that type of content. Um, I think we're, we're doing a good job, uh, trying to produce that. But you know, that's what, limited resources, right? We a handful of editors that are able to do that and a lot of the real engagement that happens, uh, you know, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, is in real time. Uh, and I think that's one thing that, um, the bleacher report to the world do great. Um, you know, they're, you know, they're watching the grammys and they're ready to hit you with some right or what have you, and, and that's, that's leaching into all the other areas of pop culture.
Um, and you know, that, that's, that's something that it's tough with a limited staff to be able to have someone always on call to always create these things to some of the, to some extent you can plan for some of these things in advance. Uh, but at the same time, I mean, um, you gotta be willing to throw something together and pull the trigger. Uh, and we all like to have lives outside of our, you know, our roles and responsibilities and that can, that can be tough. So I would put more resources at, you know, having real time producers, 24, seven, three 65 basically.
Yeah. And I think it's funny that you say that because after a game, it'd be great to cut together a bleach report, style sizzle reel, 60 seconds with a cool beat. Um, but that can take 20 hours for a video editor to go through footage and find the right music and cut to the beat. And, you know, you just, you just don't have 20 hours for one single piece with all the different things you
and sometimes get approvals. Right. So, I mean, if it's using a player or a front office staff member like that, that's gotta be vetted sometimes through the appropriate chains. And, you know, if you're talking an hour later, sometimes you've already missed the ship.
Yep. Absolutely. Uh, from a branded content standpoint, you mentioned the counterpart in the dolphins. I think they did a pretty good job and we've, we saw the of the press came out last year about their, I guess success on monetizing their digital platforms of what they'd been able to do, um, at the Broncos have, I guess how far along are you guys in that process? Do you have a point where you have rate cards and you have systematic digital series that can be sponsored and what's been the success rate for you guys?
Yeah, we, we've, uh, been modifying that over the past couple of years. Um, that's something that, you know, I'm, I'm involved with on a regular basis with our sponsorship team. Um, you know, we, we've kind of gotten out of the habit of just trying to create as much content as we can and in hopes that some of it gets sold, but we've, you know, tried to be more focused on our end of content production as well as here's some syllable assets for them. So, as opposed to a list of a hundred things, we're trying to carve, compartmentalize it down to here's 12 different things that we think might be able to sell. Um, so, so that's really been, you know, the, the genesis of where we're trying to get with them. Now of course there's gonna be, you know, uh, a sales process that, you know, this potential partner or this partner would like that.
And a lot of times I think, um, understanding what their goals and objectives are as being a partner with us helps us align what content could be. Um, in our world it's really difficult to be true, have a transactional relationship. So we're going to sell you 10 posts too, you know, sin, you know, foot traffic into your store. I mean, that's, that's not really, uh, an area that we can deliver for them. So that's not something that we want to be able to necessarily craft content specifically for that. It's not going to be engaging for our fans. And in the long run, that's gonna hurt.
It needs to be more of a brand awareness, credibility play where you're attaching your brand to a very established brand and the Denver Broncos type deal.
Yeah. I mean, you know, a lot of, a lot of our partners understand that they're aligning with us because of the halo effect. Right? They want to be, they want to be, you know, part of us because what we mean to the people around us and our fan base and, um, if we can know some very high level objectives from them, it's pretty easy to understand where we can go with some content there. But when you're trying to get down to a transactional level and you know, they're, you know, they're giving you x and expecting y on every post like that, that that makes it a challenge for not just our team as far as producing content, but also our sales team to try to explain that, uh, to the potential partner,
use code, Broncos at checkout. Um, how do you see sales changing in the next three to five years?
Oh, wow. Um, I mean, I, I guess if we all knew that we would probably, you know, have a, a lot of stock plays tied up in specific platforms. Um,
[inaudible] by a Disney plus DACA went about 13 points. We all knew that was going to be a big deal. It's like, Yup,
yeah. Well, yeah, this needs a monster in the space. Obviously every, I guess not just content as a whole, but sports are with ESPN. So I mean it's hard to get away from Disney in the entertainment space and that's what we all like to do with our discretionary time.
That's what I'm saying. I think as a parent in the United States, you have to have now Disney plus it just, I mean it kind of forces your hand in a way, which is a pretty cool way to, for Disney to be a part of anyways, off topic. [inaudible]
yeah. But now, um, you know, as far as where I see social going, um, again, I, I think it goes back to being a little less, as more, I think it's, we want to continue to be a very visual plot, all the platforms where you're very visual for us. Um, I think we had to be more sophisticated on the content we're producing and then coming back to more personalization for each platform. Um, and who knows. I mean, you know, the platforms are already curating our content for us. Uh, maybe it becomes down to content specific. So I mean, if you're a a Broncos Fan, right? And you're only liking photos, well maybe you're not seeing video in the future, right? Or maybe you're not seeing link posts in the future. Um, so I think it goes back to being really, you know, having specimens specificity across the platforms and being very visual at the end of the day.
Yeah, and I've, I've said it a lot in this show too, but five g is gonna really change the game. I mean, 4g like a lot of people don't remember. But before for Z, there was no video on Instagram. There was no video on Facebook. Um, that technology alone just skyrocketed the social media game. So I'm, I'm excited to see what fives he brings. I can only imagine the features that get not unlocked at the different platform levels once that speed is that at all times?
Well, W W we haven't even scratched the surface on, you know, AI and bots, I mean, not new technology, but something that is becoming more ubiquitous in our everyday life. Um, so five g will definitely help with the speed and latency going back and forth with what those requests are and how quickly, um, you know, the command comes back. Um, you know, you can already, you know, use your nest thermostat too as you're coming home to warm up. So, I mean, really the, the more connected we are, the possibilities become less and less limited.
Alright. Uh, I'll get you out of here by ask some rapid fire questions to wrap things up. Uh, what is the one social or marketing tool that you can not live without?
Uh, right now for us it's TrackMaven. Um, TrackMaven is a great partner for us and, and we track everything as far as all our social metrics there. Uh, crowdtangle is a great resource that we have to, um, but overall, I mean, we, we, we, we track and tag just about everything we do in TrackMaven and we'd be lost without them.
That's awesome. Uh, from a business perspective, what social platform seems to be working the most right now?
Instagram, Instagram stories. Uh, so I'd just say Instagram as a whole. Um, I mean that's, that's where content is. That's where advertisers are. That's where its engineers, I mean, right now that's, that's the whole ball of wax.
So that being said, uh, can you rank in order of importance or, uh, I guess time spent in your organization, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, Youtube. How do you rank them?
It's tough to give a, a higher hierarchy as far as order of importance with time spent. I mean, Twitter still gets a lot of our time. It's still our costs at new sleep feed. Instagram's getting more of our time. We posted last on Facebook, which has been successful, but it's being more thoughtful about that. So I wouldn't say less time there. Uh, you know, over the past a year and a half, we've really gone deep in on Youtube and we've seen some really good success on Youtube. I want to see us continue there. Uh, w we basically used snapchat as, um, our game day or our special events sort of behind the, behind the scenes type of platform. Um, I'm excited about some of the features that snapchat will be unlocking with all the different filters that they're going to be able to provide us to create. Um, finally some, you know, analytics and measureables first to see how things are working as opposed to just a, as opposed to just knowing who's viewing it. Right. Um, so I think all that's going to be a benefit for snap. So, um, I'm looking forward for a bounce back right there for them.
And our industry follows a major thing. I always ask this question of what, how do you stay up to date? How do you make sure that you're keeping your thumb on the pulse of the ever changing industry?
It's tough, man. You, you, you gotta you gotta stay attention. Yes. They paying attention. Um, I, I've, I've gone from a heavy Twitter user to a heavy Twitter worker. Um, so I'm, I'm constantly paying attention to what's going on in the space and that's probably the biggest thing. You know, I, I look at, you know, some of the brands like a Nike with their campaign for Tiger eye and their dream crazier, um, all, all those were awesome. And you know, just looking at those types of campaigns gives you, um, I dunno, you is your real inspiration to want to produce content in that manner or like them. Uh, so you just gotta be able to, you know, stay nimble and pay attention to everything.
That was an amazing commercial. They dropped when tiger won the masters. If they had that precut before the masters started or once they knew he may win if they gathered a team together and crank could, it was it, it was a, they use a lot of photography and it, it seemed like it could have been a quick edit if they needed it to be. So I'm just, I get kicked out over the process of those things.
Yeah. I mean, you know, I'm, I'm a huge golf ball so I've, I've been paying attention. Um, you know, tiger's been playing really well for the past year basically and now and it wasn't just, um, something that I'm sure they threw together the week of masters. I'm sure they were anticipating as, especially after the tour championship, they were anticipating him most likely winning another major. Right. So they probably had, and I, I don't want to speak for Nike, but you know, tire was my athlete. Right. I would be planning for his success at some point. And uh, whether you already had the storyline or some of the stock footage, I think they probably had the bones in place. And then once they saw, you know, after Friday and Saturdays rounds, it's like, all right, we have to put this together, we have to finish this down.
That's the one thing about digital that and marketing people don't realize. Uh, even here at s t and the digital graveyard, and I'll go back to when we worked at the panthers going up against you guys in the super bowl. There's a lot of, a lot of video and images that did not get used because you have to prep all that stuff for the, for the chance that win a Samsung. There's a lot of tiger commercials that over the last year haven't been used, but we're kinda on ice and, and you know, boring anybody to plan for those events.
Yeah, no, I can take it back to the 2013 NBA finals. Right. I mean, now I'm getting ready to change over every single thing on the spurs accounts, the championship. Then we go to overtime and you know, a three point or half. Yeah, no, no, no. But I mean that was tough. I mean there, there's a lot of things that you had in the bag that never saw the light of day. So he has a digital graveyards, a, an accurate representation of that.
Uh, what's, uh, what inspires you on how to stay cutting edge?
I just love seeing all the amazing content that's pumped out. I mean, I use Nike as an example, but I mean heck, even, you know, the browns and bud light, I mean, that was very creative and when they won their game, they unlock those fridges. That was amazing. Right? And, you know, it's, it's hard to say that, you know, uh, you would like to be in that position, but that was euphoria for them. Right? So to some degree, the, the, maybe the, the weight was worth the benefit
pointed about empathy and just being genuine. Like, listen, we understand. We've been terrible. We understand that getting one win is the goal now. So let's, let's, let's have been ties around this when it happens.
Yeah. It's just, it's just amazing to see all the creatives out there, uh, you know, producing all this different content. Um, so you know, you, you think you have a, a have a good sense of what something is or how you'd like to see that things and all of a sudden you see whoever's account just blow you away with substance. Like, man, that's amazing. Why couldn't we thought of that? Just seeing all the content creators out there. Um, I think in general sports, you know, does a really great job of trying to deliver those storytelling moments to the fans.
I know the NFL has done a really good job over the last couple of years actually putting money behind creating content for players and using the players because they just have such a greater reach than the league account or the team accounts. Uh, how Helen's the Bronco's kind of dealt with that with some of your top players. Um, do you create content for them? Are you helping them on their, on their social and how do you kind of work at all in the ecosystem?
Yeah, I mean it, it's a case by case basis really. Um, some guys, you know, we, we [inaudible] just about any guy who asked photos or video of them. Uh, so at the very lowest level, that's one thing that we can do to help them. And one times we'll have a bug stamped on it and it gives us some residual results. But at the end of the day, we just want to be able to help the players. So when they ask, we try to, you know, we try to help them in whatever way we can now, um, is it something that we're going to be able to be their private photographer or videographer for three or four days? That's not, you know, reasonable, uh, for us to be able to pull off. But we always want to take what our players needs or into, into consideration. And when we can, we definitely to be able to deliver anything we're able to help them with.
All right. What's your route guilty social follow?
My guilty social follow is we rate dogs,
we rate dogs. All right. The [inaudible], the animal, uh, accounts have actually made a huge impact here on the show with that question. So,
yeah, no, um, uh, they, they're, they're amazing to follow. Um, they, uh, they always show cute dogs and they try to help the animals. And, uh, well the, they're, they're good dogs are 12 out of 10 or 14 out of 10. And you know, dog dogs are, are never worst than perfect. So, you know, we, red dogs is, is always a call is a good follow. Cool man.
I always ask this cluster then this, so, but if you can recommend anybody in our network for our listeners to gain some more knowledge, like you just laid down a, anybody that you recommend we, we chat with.
Oh my goodness. Uh, I, if I start name dropping on, we'll leave somebody out. So I'm asked to hit you up all night on that. I named several social accounts out there that I'm doing, uh, that are doing a great job. And I think anybody on those teams would be valuable to reach out.
Well, you and I, we'll, uh, we'll follow up on that and [inaudible] boards thing contact man. But you're doing a great job over there and uh, you know, congrats on all that success and you won't have an Ellen 16 year. That was just a hypothetical question because that's ever the goal around here. There he has been hunting a director of digital media at Denver Broncos. Thanks so much for taking the time, man. We'll talk soon. You got it. I appreciate it.