How the Chicago Bears are Revolutionizing Social with Jen Tulicki
Jen Tulicki is the Director of Social Media at the Chicago Bears. She has an incredible understanding of the social media world which started for her when she became the Team Leader at Target and later transitioned to their Social Communities Specialist.
On this episode, Jen digs into the social strategy behind the content at the Chicago Bears and how they communicate with their avid fanbase.
Listen to the full show here: (and please subscribe to our podcast)
Here are the highlights:
[1:40] When it comes to social, what is your core belief when you dig into your strategy at the Bears?
"At the core of everything that we do is our fans. We approach our strategy from the fan's perspective. That goes for everything we do whether it's winning or losing. We really try and take on their mindset and communicate with them in a way that's approachable and conversational."
[29:57] What is the one social or marketing tool that you cannot live without?
[00:00:15.30] David: All right, guys, she is the director of social media at Chicago Bears, Jen Tulicki joins us right here in the business of social. What's going on, Jen?
[00:00:21.56] Jen: Hi. How are you, David?
[00:00:23.11] David: Good. All right, so let's talk about the common mistake that you see ... I won't have you name any names, but other sports teams, other NFL teams, like some common mistakes you think they're making that you try your best not to make.
[00:00:37.21] Jen: Trying to be somebody you're not, and trying to hit that Grand Slam or score that touchdown like on every single tweet that you do. And I think that is ... it's an understandable need and want. Everyone wants to make a splash. It's so rewarding like as hard as we work when you do hit it out of the park. But at the same time like I think it's important to understand that you have to pick your moments and you can't force them, you have to sometimes wait for them to come. But those are the ones that then help you, as long as you're ready, you have to be ready. And as long as you're ready those are the ones that help you stand out when the time is right for you and your club or your brand.
[00:01:28.43] David: Yeah, and I think too often people try to get into pop culture like Justin Bieber and Haley Baldwin are getting married, like how can the Bears align? No, don't ... please don't do it. It's like just because it's trendy doesn't mean you have to be a part of it.
All right, so another question I have for you was how do you approach social? Kind of like what's your core belief as you dig into your strategy at the Bears?
[00:01:48.40] Jen: I think what's at the core of ... I shouldn't say I think, I know what's at the core of everything we do is our fans. We approach social media and our strategy from the fan perspective, from the fan conversation. And I consider myself very lucky to have our job that allows me to be a fan. I mean, we talked a little bit at the beginning that I grew up a fan of the Chicago Bears. But I think even if you work for a team that you didn't grow up a fan of, like naturally you're going to become a fan of that team and support it and ride the highs and the lows with that team, and feel what the fans feel.
And I think that an anything that we do, whether we're winning or losing we approach things from a fan perspective, and really try and take on their mindset and communicate with our fans in a way that is approachable and conversational, and just like if you're walking through the office, you could stop and talk to us and have a real honest conversation, whether that's share your excitement or your concerns. And we try and be informative in that respect. But really the fan conversation, the fan mentality is at the heart of every piece of content that's created and shared on social, whether it's a social first piece of content, whether it's a video from our video team, or an article, or photo gallery.
[00:03:23.59] David: I think you guys do a really good job of this, like if there's a period of time where you guys have lost a couple of games, like to your point about let's talk to the fan, let's be honest with where we're at right now, what are some things that you recommend? Because obviously you can't control what happens on the field, but you can control what happens on social. How do you navigate win, maybe the fan base is upset or they're kind of rioting when things aren't looking good on the field?
[00:03:48.49] Jen: I mean, it's definitely not easy. Always remember that there's somebody on the other side of things that's a real person with real feelings, like having to consume all of this and react to this. And we're right there with you, like we understand the frustration, but at the same time like it is a fine line that we walk being that fan and representing the organization. And it's not just up to me, it's really a table of us that will sit down and say, "What are we going to talk about this week? What stories are we going to share and tell? How are we going to share and tell those stories?" And all of us like coming together to make those decisions.
And it's finding the bright spots I think that there's always a bright spot. Last year we didn't have a great season, but we were building, and how do we tell those stories to inspire and let people know that hopefully we're going on the right path, what unique stories are there for us to tell, is something always worth considering. One that stands out to me last season, Eddie Jackson he had two interceptions in a game that we won, and it was a year to the date that he had broken his leg. I mean, what an incredible like stroke of fate?
And so we sit down at that table and we said, "Luckily, we won this one, but regardless of focusing on the win, how do we still focus on those personal and unique and individual stories?" And I think that that's something that win or lose we always take into consideration and look for the bright spot, but at the same time acknowledge we're not where we want to be, we're working, and how are we getting better? And maybe focusing on telling that story - our guys in the weight room, our guys on the practice field.
We're always in control like you said of the story that we're telling, and while we can't control what's on the field like we are able to control our narrative a little bit in terms of, yes, this is where we're at, but this is where we want to go.
[00:06:01.50] David: Yeah, and I think we've worked together a lot in the past, and I think you've always done a great job of the moments that you can capitalize on, whether it be something as simple as Halloween or the draft or the release of the regular season schedule. Those are the moments kind of tent poles throughout your season that regardless of what's happening on the field you can still come out big and really be I guess admired in the industry.
[00:06:25.18] Jen: Yeah, 100%. My favorite time of the year hands down is around free agency and the draft. Hope is just at an all-time high, and it is so much fun to focus on the excitement of the fans around that time and at the conversation and the chatter around how your team has the opportunity to get better, and the ability to participate like in those moments and find the unique pieces of content that is really going to help fuel that fire in those conversations.
And Halloween was such a fun one a few years ago. I mean, we weren't having a great season, but we were a Monday night game so we're one of two teams playing, so how do we do it differently? How do we get people even if we're maybe not having the type of game that we want to have to pay attention to us, and we worked and developed these awesome Halloween gifts that were kind of looked like hands were pushing through the gift and there's a spider that runs across the screen. So again, just trying to develop unique pieces of content and controlling the controllables.
[00:07:30.52] David: Where do you see the most undervalued attention on social right now?
[00:07:34.54] Jen: Yeah, I mean, I don't think that this is going to come as a surprise to a lot of people in the industry, but I think that resources are extremely undervalued. I still think that it's so unfortunate there is sometimes a perception in this industry that our roles are just as easy as hitting a button and putting something out there and getting and going viral or getting thousands of likes, and that that is the end goal. And it's not. It really takes not only a social team, you got to consider all the work that goes into strategizing up front, somebody's got to strategize, somebody's got to create the content, somebody's got to kick the content out the door, and somebody then has to analyze that content and do it, so that cycle starts all over again.
To me those four roles are like the minimum of how a social team should be staffed. And in a perfect world you have more than one person creating content; you have more than one person helping getting content out the door and analyze results. So I really think that the importance of resource in our industry and an understanding of all the time and the effort that goes into these roles. Social media is 24/7, digital is 24/7, people your fans expect you to always be available, to always be there for them to talk to. So I think the more as leaders in our industry the more that we can continue to communicate and advocate for the importance of resources is really, really important.
[00:09:18.13] David: Yeah, I think people like Loren Michaels or Mark Burnett are so respected because they are executive producers and they're putting on this amazing show. And I think one thing that I'm trying to get across too is like the Bears when you're programming Instagram and Twitter and Facebook, it's almost like you're the programming a television network, but for some reason it's like if CNN has to put on 24 hours of coverage it's looked at so differently than social. Now it does have to be 24 hours straight, but still, I mean, we're not there yet and what do you think we need to do as an industry to get there, to understand they're kind of on the same playing field, you're programming a channel?
[00:09:51.10] Jen: I mean, I think number one, and this is just leaning on my own experience, but don't be afraid to ask for help and acknowledge that. And hopefully there's somebody in your organization that you feel comfortable going to and having that conversation and explaining how much time and energy it takes to get it right. And showing examples of that, so finding people who are doing it well, getting to know your peers and figure out how they advocated for resources or what they're using to make their jobs easier.
I think it's really important to speak up and call a meeting and say, "Hey, this is what we're doing. This is where we're at. And this is where we want to go. But in order to go there, this is what we need to achieve it." And realize that that might not happen overnight, but continue to have those conversations and continue to find the data that is going to showcase the importance of social media to your brand, to your organization.
[00:10:57.21] David: Well, let me ask you this - what is the size of your current team that's dedicated the social and where do you see like in a perfect world the next few years, what are the different pieces that you would love to add to kind of make your strategy come to life?
[00:11:09.59] Jen: Well, when I first started with the Bears in 2015 it was me, I was a social media ...
[00:11:14.43] David: One man show. I remember.
[00:11:16.46] Jen: I remember running around with two phones in my hand, a camera on my neck, like it was crazy. I appreciate those times, I don't miss those time, and I respect everybody that is going through that grind right now. So obviously we've grown over the last couple of years. Second season it was myself and a seasonal, my third season last year was myself, a seasonal, and a social content producer, so somebody that was 100% focused on creating social first content.
And I think when we looked back once the season ended at those numbers and how much we grew in our output on a platform like Instagram but also at the same time grew in our engagement, that was such a powerful story to be able to tell across our organization. So now it's myself, our social content producer, I have a full-time social media coordinator, so there was very much continuing to help get content out the door, my staff and her split that role a little bit and she's taking I feel like more and more of that on every day as I start to do a lot more of the strategizing upfront and the analyzing on the backend.
And then our seasonal this year where I was ... in the past couple seasons on our seasonal was really focused on content that easy capturing on your phone, Snapchat, things like that. With our coordinator we feel like we have that under control, and our seasonal as opposed to committing their skill set to somebody who can first and foremost help get content out the door, we understood the need for another content creator. So her background is graphic design, and essentially then our team is two people that can get the content out the door, two people that are creating it, and myself really kind of overseeing all of that, and again, working on that strategy and analysis. But all of us are bringing ideas to the table, and it's not just the four of us making the wheels turn either, we have meetings throughout the week with our video department, with our digital department, with the marketing teams like that are all talking about potential new content ideas and themes. So it's four people specifically on the social team, but it is like you said earlier many, many more behind the scenes still making it all happen.
[00:13:50.48] David: So I'm guessing in an ideal world, budget not a concern, you would like to have maybe those folks all full-time, no seasonal, just be able to continue to crank out content?
[00:13:59.32] Jen: Yeah, 100%, that at the very least. But I will always take more content creators, take an army of them.
[00:14:12.13] David: There's never enough.
[00:14:13.18] Jen: I will take ... I envy the Bleacher Report's of the world, I'm sure ...
[00:14:19.56] David: All you guys need is a hundred million dollars and you can do it.
[00:14:22.29] Jen: Yeah, no big deal.
[00:14:24.31] David: Well, you've missed a lot about doing the analysis on the back end of it, so how are you measuring success and ROI on your digital feeds personally?
[00:14:32.30] Jen: Sure. I have been, and it comes from having the resources that I just spoke about, but I have had more time this year to get into Crowd Tangle than ever before, and I'm so glad that I have. Because I knew it was a great tool beforehand ...
[00:14:48.53] David: By the way, everybody probably thinks Crowd Tangle sponsors this podcast. That's what everybody says. Very ... very important.
[00:14:55.18] Jen: It's just truth, you know? But now I made it on a daily basis, and I'm constantly looking at our leader board of NFL clubs and gauging our interaction rate, gauging our growth. I think those are two of the most important things to me. Growth doesn't come without a strong interaction rate, so my goal is to always have our club regardless of our record be in the top ten for interaction. And if we're not it's a bunch of us getting together to say, "Okay, interactions and engagements are down this week, how do we drive those through the tone of our content?" The way that not just the graphic itself, but how we're teeing that graphic up through the copy.
So Crowd Tangle is a really, really big one, and it's great to not only compare yourselves to others in your league, but we can look at the Bulls easily, we can look at all the other sports teams in town and say what are they doing, how are their fans engaging with them?
[00:15:55.11] David: There's a lot of crossover there.
[00:15:56.27] Jen: 100%, like what conversations are they participating in outside of their club, what are their fans talking about pop culture-wise, etcetera, that maybe we're missing?
[00:16:08.35] David: I love it. All right, one last question before I forget, what is your personal most engaging tweet of all time that you pressed send on?
[00:16:16.00] Jen: Oh, my gosh.
[00:16:17.04] David: From the Bears account.
[00:16:18.38] Jen: Lately I think it's ... this season we've had a lot of our final score ones like go to the top which is always like very gratifying to send, but I just told somebody this the other day and they were so surprised, and I didn't quite [unclear] at first why they were so surprised. But it's because like this tweet didn't have anything to do with the score of the game or a particular player ... when Twitter last year changed over to 280 characters, the three of us at the time got together and said, "What are we going to do?" And we use #thebears, that's our emoji hashtag, and we're like, "What if we just threw a bunch of S's on the end of it and took it all the way up to 280."
We feel good about it but we certainly did not think that it was going to be our most retweeted or most likely tweet ever. But again, I think it just shows the power of being part of the conversation that everybody else is having even if it's not unique to you specifically.
[00:17:25.48] David: I love it. All right, so moving on to what I think was the most shocking news of this season was when Khalil Mack got traded from the Raiders. I mean, I've always thought with 22 people on the field from offense and defense, that the difference that he's made as one person and no different than that first half against the Packers that he showed his worth, his way in gold, but I think from your standpoint I'm sure you're drooling when that news comes across your field because that's just ultimate engagement right out the gate.
[00:17:57.30] Jen: 100%. I mean, I think it was the Packers game earlier this season that I was ... I'm sitting at the game tweeting away, I saw a tweet come from one of my counterparts that said, "Oh, I'm jealous all the content, that kind of funny girl is going to get this and like out of Kahlil Mack." And it's definitely great. I don't know if we've ever had somebody that has such conversation value around them, I don't know if since I've been with the Bears we've had that superstar like a lot of other teams, the OBJ's ...
[00:18:37.30] David: Yeah, and it's such a weird story how the Raiders let him go and the Jon Gruden, it was very I think on sports fans' mind it was just top of mind.
[00:18:45.29] Jen: Yeah, 100%. So I mean, I wouldn't trade it, I'm glad as a social media director he's a Bear, I'm glad as a fan of the Chicago Bears that he's a Bear, and it definitely ... he makes our jobs easy, like that's for certain, but there's a lot of guys that on our team that do that, and I think everybody has their moments, whether you have that big household name or not. And again, it's up to us to share those moments with ...
[00:19:14.10] David: Oh, Mitchell's six touchdowns don't hurt for engagement either.
[00:19:17.42] Jen: Exactly.
[00:19:18.46] David: Yeah, that's awesome. All right, so from a sponsorship standpoint, I would love to dig in this a little bit, I know for the four years at the Bears I'm sure this has changed dramatically in terms of sponsors being interested on your digital platforms. So have there been any partnerships that you think have done really well in terms of being organic enough where your fan base still enjoys the content?
[00:19:39.27] Jen: I got to think of a few that come to mind off the top of my head.
[00:19:51.25] David: I know Gatorade was something on game day that you guys kind of injected into some of your game day stuff as well.
[00:19:56.23] Jen: Yeah, I think like this year for example like Gatorade sponsors our player of the game graphic. And we really try and make like any of our sponsored content still feel like really authentic and genuine while we work the sponsor in. And I love that our third-party graphic designers that we use like really worked the splash effect into Gatorade graphic. So I think that content has stood out because obviously it's got some exciting numbers and stats that fans want to consume, want to be able to share, like themselves, but just having that little unique piece standout that makes it different from a lot of the other graphics that you see is powerful to the people watching it. But it's also powerful to the brand that's paying the sponsor to that content, how they're worked into it.
Coffee with coach I think is another fun one that we do that's resonated really well with fans at time, it's a unique, more laid-back perspective and conversation with our coach. It's not him at the podium, it's a lot of casual questions. This year we are taking fan questions earlier in the week before we record that and picking out a unique question to let our fans be part of that segment, so we've seen a lot of conversation not just around the segment itself but around participating in what kind of questions do you want to ask Coach Naggy, so that's another one for us.
[00:21:28.44] David: That's awesome. What works best maybe that you ... I guess something that you would think would be interesting to people that works best for your audience, your fan base, your demo, that maybe isn't obvious. Like, obviously Khalil Mack if he sacks some of that content works great, but anything over your four years that you've A/B tested that you're like, "This is interesting that this works with the fan base so well."
[00:21:49.17] Jen: Interesting that this works at the fan base so well. I don't want to say something obvious like humor, but I think that considering where we've been when we haven't always been great on the field that ...
[00:22:16.26] David: Well, maybe we should talk about that, because when you started it definitely was more of a PR brand, and you kind of injected that, so was that something where you had to start slow and kind of bring it along before you became that?
[00:22:27.41] Jen: Yeah, a little bit. I mean, I remember when I first started and just bringing some ... a little bit more personality to the account in our tone, people think like, "Whoa, the Bears got a new like social media like editor, like what's going on here?" And it was definitely treading lightly. And it was also like making some mistakes along the way and trying like I said a little bit earlier too hard to have that viral moment at the ... In a way that wasn't us that was maybe something forced and not as humble as I think we now strive to be in the social media space.
So that was a learning lesson for me early on that while humor resonates we still want to always make sure that we're doing it in a way that doesn't offend anyone, and isn't controversial, we're not trying to make a big splash through controversy of any sorts.
And I think when you are new to this world and you see things like that happening in the social space, it's easy to think, "Oh, that's what I have to do to win." And I think over time like we've learned that, no, like you don't have to attack.
[00:23:52.03] David: So another question I want to ask you is what's the one thing that you wish you could do more at the Bears on social?
[00:24:00.40] Jen: The one thing I wish we could do more. I would say that ... I mean, I think we already do a very good job of this, but one thing I wish we could do a little bit more is stories ... Elevate our storytelling. I think that there's a ton of good examples of how we're doing that already, but I think especially in something like the offseason, finding those unique opportunities and creating video content that we can adapt to social media. Sometimes taking that long-form piece and saying, "Okay, how do we cut this down and get the most out of it for social media?"
But storytelling ... when I think of visual storytelling I think about Nike, a lot. And they I think headed out of the park when it comes to emotional storytelling, so while I think that we're already leaning into that I would love to see us to do that more often, whether it's through a video or whether it's through like just powerful graphic. We continue to make the time to plan for those moments and tell those unique stories in a way that captures our fans emotionally.
[00:25:40.08] David: I think every sports fan loves hard knocks and what they do, and just trying to find ways it sounds like to kind of micro hard knocks, because everybody always loves when you pull back that curtain and kind of tell the story behind the scenes.
[00:25:51.20] Jen: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I would love in a perfect world I'd love all the access that you could possibly get ...
[00:25:58.08] David: GoPro's in every meeting room, yeah.
[00:26:00.26] Jen: Yeah, I mean, that's the answer that like I want to say, but defaulting knowing that we are ... we have to be respectful in that space and work hand in hand with the access that we do have and understand, be appreciative of the access that we have, and use it to the best of like our ability. But of course I think anybody in this industry would say, "I want more access," so to not say that is I would say I just wants to focus on continuing to tell our players' stories, our fans' stories, unique stories.
[00:26:35.38] David: And that goes back to resources too because that just takes so much time, it takes a lot of time to produce a very well-written narrative that can tell a story on video or even graphically. So I definitely feel you there. All right, so going to the next three to five years where do you see social and the ability to reach your audience, marketing overall, kind of where do you see this thing going?
[00:26:56.40] Jen: So you know what's funny is ... and you asked me this question, and this was the one that I was like dreading a little bit because I don't have like this out of the box like crazy answer for you. To be honest like I think trying to predict where our industry is going is for a lack of better words ... I don't say waste of time, it's not, you should always be considering and preparing for the future. But it is just trying to predict the unpredictable. Like, we don't have a crystal ball, and to me where this industry is going I kind of leave it up to the Zuckerbergs of the world, the people who are behind like these ... Maybe I shouldn't say it just ... But you know what I mean?
[00:27:40.41] David: I know for sure, yeah.
[00:27:41.37] Jen: My field personally is not creating the next Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat or Instagram, or whatever that may be, and if I knew the answer to where platforms are going next I'd be ... that would be the field that I'm working in and creating like those types of things. So you see things like IGTV pop up and I guess like where I try and spend my time more so than being in the business of prediction is setting ourselves up for whatever that next thing may be to be able to take advantage of it, to feel like we have a team that is nimble, and when something like IG pops up to be able to say, "Okay, let's have a conversation. What is our strategy like for this? Like, when is the right time for us to enter it if at all? And where are our fans?" Like, I think your fans or your audience will always tell you where to go, where the conversation is at.
And I've always been a big advocate that you don't have to be everywhere, but you have to be at one place, the few places that you're really going to be able to excel in and do it right as opposed to trying to be everywhere at once and not being able to fully take advantage of it.
[00:28:57.52] David: What do you think about sports ... we talked earlier in the program about just trying to explain how much time and effort goes into actually doing this thing right. I guess the next three or five years, what do you think in terms of growth? I mean, do you think sports teams, NFL teams will start the see teams, ten, twelve, fifteen deep to do this thing the right way? Because it is reaching so many eyeballs.
[00:29:20.01] Jen: Yeah, I certainly hope so. I think that would make everybody's lives and the industry a little bit easier, but I also think that it just allows us to cater to our fans even better. There's so many good ideas that I think unfortunately hit the cutting room floor, because there's just not the capacity to do them. And we have to kind of pick and choose our battles and say, "Okay, even though idea B is a good idea we like idea A better." And in a perfect world I think obviously you'd find a time and place to do both.
[00:29:53.33] David: All right, so I'm going to finish it off with some rapid-fire questions, so hopefully this is good. All right, so what is one ... It sounds like I know the answer to this already from your earlier answer. What's the one social or marketing tool that you cannot live without?
[00:30:08.07] Jen: I mean, right now like Crowd Tangle is a big one in terms of understanding how our content is performing and how our content is being received.
[00:30:20.31] David: It's like that competitive analysis too, like how you stack up.
[00:30:23.58] Jen: Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, we use Spread Fast a lot too. Tweet Deck, I mean, I know that's open and available to like everybody, but I mean, that's where we listen, that's where the listening happens and through listening is out of magic ... the rest of magic happens. So yeah, let me ask you that question, what do you think? Like, what's one that you can't like live without?
[00:30:52.02] David: So from a content management standpoint, Wrike. Every single project, every single thing we do in the company is run through that. And I don't want to tell them this, but if they double the price right now I'd have no choice. But I mean, we're just like that's where everything lives. So that's just more of like project management I think does a good job. But the same thing, I mean, Crowd Tangle, we've used Spread Fast, we used track maybe for the analytical part of it as well. It's proud social too.
[00:31:19.08] Jen: Yeah, I'm always trying to like learn. I think it's easy to get comfortable in the tools that you do live in, and there's so many out there, so I'm always interested to see what other people have to say to that question.
[00:31:32.11] David: All right, so from a business perspective, what social platform seems to be working the best for you guys right now?
[00:31:37.59] Jen: I mean, we are all in on Instagram. I think that for the past couple of seasons like we've identified that that is a platform where we have the most opportunity for growth to reach audience that maybe hasn't been as tapped into as before. And I think that it is a platform where you can more easily, even though it's still a challenge, like break through the noise with just thumb stopping graphic. And I think it's a platform where people can go to escape a little bit the noise, the back and forth on Twitter or some of the conversation that you might see on Facebook. It's a place where people can go and just scroll and like really be taken away by an amazing photo or an amazing graphic. And it's as easy as a tap to engage with it.
[00:32:40.46] David: I don't want to know how many hours I spent per day scrolling on Instagram, it's getting sad.
[00:32:46.20] Jen: You're all caught up on Instagram.
[00:32:49.55] David: No. You know what? I've never hit that.
[00:32:51.03] Jen: So that's good then, you've got some ...
[00:32:55.11] David: But then I find myself going over to the explorer tab and that's a never-ending ...
[00:33:00.55] Jen: Wait, can I just say one more thing about Instagram? Like, the thing is like to me I always try and tell people like in our organization that managing Instagram is like managing three platforms, like you have to plan differently for the feed than you do for stories, and you have to plan differently for IGTV than you do to other two things. So really I feel like over the last year and a half, two years, it's become a beast in itself, that platform. Just figuring out how you're going to invest your time into that platform, knowing that there are different options for people right then and there.
[00:33:34.19] David: Well, I love to get your thoughts on this too, because you and I both experimented with IGTV. What do they need to do? Because I just don't think it's fully there yet from like a user-friendly standpoint, we talk about this a lot. What do you think they need to do to make that go further?
[00:33:49.38] Jen: I mean, I know when you go into Instagram you get that little bubble like up at the top. But like I think that it's just a little nugget like right there, a little screenshot with some text. And I don't think that that really pulls most people into let me click on this. It's not a native behavior. I don't think people are going into Instagram to watch Instagram TV. And I think that first and foremost people are going to prioritize the feed, prioritize their friends' stories, etcetera. So to me Instagram TV is a little bit of an afterthought there.
[00:34:28.21] David: You're asking the consumer to do too many clicks essentially.
[00:34:31.27] Jen: Yeah, I mean, you're asking somebody when they log in to Instagram to spend 30 minutes at least of their time just on that platform, and I think that's a tall order. So anyway to make it potentially more prominent, and I don't know the way to do that. But I love the experience of it, the experience like once you get in there and watch this full screen vertical video is in my opinion second to none. It's beautiful.
[00:35:24.44] David: All right, so I also talked to Samantha Wood over at the Eagles, and we talked about this a little bit, which is I believe social media now is controlled in the NFL by 40% women.
[00:35:34.18] Jen: Yeah.
[00:35:35.00] David: So just wanted that gets her thoughts on that, different from four years ago.
[00:35:39.30] Jen: Yeah, what can I say besides it's super exciting, and I'm pretty close with Sam and a lot of others across the NFL, like men and women. And I know Sam like was recently quoted in another article that's saying like I look forward to when I don't have to talk about this. I mean, it's just kind of the norm. And so while it's exciting it's a little bit like mind-blowing to me that it's as ...
[00:36:06.12] David: In 2018, yeah.
[00:36:06.40] Jen: Much of a conversation as it is, although I do think it's really, really cool that a lot of fans, football fans, sports fans, like high percentages of guy fans. And a lot of times I think if they knew that a girl was talking to them and a girl was the voice behind their account, that their mind would be blown. And it's exciting; I hope it's a trend that continues.
[00:36:34.38] David: I've always seen a change in the last few years to even like an NBA Doris Burke being in the announcer booth, so I think we're going through a cool change right now for that. Social media guilty-pleasure follows. I know you're a big bachelor fan, but I will ...
[00:36:50.09] Jen: Oh, my gosh, I'm like the biggest bachelor fan. Okay, my number one guilty pleasure follow has to be thoughts of dog. I am completely enamored with that account; it brings a smile to my face every single day.
[00:37:07.42] David: Talk about engagement rate and interaction rate, that account as well.
[00:37:10.17] Jen: Oh, my gosh, you just see it like spinning. Any time like something goes out from that or like we rate dogs, so ... I mean, what wins in social media more cute puppies or food? So I am all-in every day on thoughts of dog. I can't get enough; it's such a nice cute escape.
[00:37:39.31] David: All right, so you said Instagram number one. Can you rank the other networks for the Bears? I always find it interesting, because for different feeds Facebook is still working really, really well, some brands say that's our last, but Instagram number one, can you rank with the Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, kind of what's working for you guys?
[00:37:55.43] Jen: Sure, I mean, I think it's dependent on like KPI's, like for example like Facebook is always going to be still our number one referrer to the website, which is super important like to us. But it's not the platform where if we're looking to like grow and engage our audience that we're going to focus on.
With growing and engaging our audience being our number one focus I would say Instagram first, Twitter second, we're probably not growing on Facebook but in terms of engaging in commentary and driving people I would say that would be our third priority. And Snapchat like I hate to say it, but it's kind of falling off to the fourth because a few years ago it was number one, I was putting so much time and energy into it, and actually the Bears were the last of the 32 NFL clubs on Snapchat. So we just didn't have the resources like really. And then once we got on it, like when we were measured and when we were getting on it, we said, okay, we know where the last team, when are we going to do it and what how are we going to do it right?
And we jumped on an April a couple of years ago right before the draft, we were talking about all that conversation after ... When the season ends conversation dips and then it starts to rise again around the draft, so that's when we decided to get active in Snapchat. The draft was in Chicago that year, so we had a lot of unique access. And it was a huge priority for us, but it's just really hard to quantify your success there and the investment of time and energy that goes into that platform.
[00:39:27.45] David: I know, and I felt bad for them in a way ... Yeah, I feel bad for them in a way, because like Instagram can play ripped them off, once they saw that it worked. And I used to be in Snapchat all day every day, but to your point I'm not on it as much, and it's something that a lot of my clients too just don't put a lot of effort into.
[00:39:42.52] Jen: I think it's hard to discover like brands in there now, like you really have to seek them out, whereas like on Instagram or Twitter like hopefully they're bubbling up to the top of your feed. I love Snapchat for at its core, I feel like it's a communication tool. I still have in group chats with my sisters like on there; I'm sending people quick little inside jokes, things like that. And for that I think it's great.
[00:40:09.20] David: So it's almost becoming more of a Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger than it is actually an Instagram.
[00:40:12.23] Jen: Yeah, 100%. And I think that's kind of what it was in the beginning, and then brands jumped on it and tried to make it something else and said we got to be here, and now it's like, "Well, do we have to be here? I don't know."
[00:40:25.09] David: I think it comes back to your point about IGTV too, like if you're going to be a place where brands go and content is there, it needs to be a little more user friendly. It needs to be easier, don't make me click four different times. All right, in our industry FOMO is a major thing, so I always ask this question - how does Jen keep up on all the different algorithm changes? Is there any newsletters or any feeds that you follow that you would recommend others do as well for that?
[00:40:50.27] Jen: I would recommend in this industry like getting to know your counterparts and your peers and leveraging each other for insights. So much of I think what gets brought to my attention is something that one of my peer sees and sends like through like I just said a group chat or a text message. I think the Verge is a great account for industry news. I feel like I see a lot about Instagram updates there before I see the update from the platform itself, even if they tweet it out at the same time. But I feel like it's our peer network that is kind of always ... we ... the 32 clubs we have a group chat on Facebook too where there's just countless people in it right now, and somebody gets a little nugget of information and it's like, "Hey, did you guys see this today?" So I think like making sure that you're networking in the right way with the right people is a great way to stay on top of industry trends.
[00:41:47.24] David: All right, any advice for your fellow #SMSports people or anyone wanting to get into team social?
[00:41:54.28] Jen: Yeah, I mean, my answer to this is a couple of things, one social media is not as always glamorous as it seems. It is at times, but it is a ton of hard work and effort, and I lose sleep at night thinking about social media. I have nightmares about tweeting out something that ...
[00:42:18.28] David: Do you lucid dream like ways that you can get better?
[00:42:20.56] Jen: I mean, yeah, all over the place, it's never-ending; it's like literally obsessive about it at times. And so I truly believe that to be successful in this industry you have to be both professionally and personally invested into it. Social media for me does not stop when I leave the office. At the end of the day like I go home and I usually have a couple of work things that I still need to do, and if I don't ... like I'm sitting there scrolling on my phone and looking on Twitter and being inspired by other content out there, other conversations. Or you see a conversation that is super relevant to your brand and you weren't planning on participating and thinking that you have the night off, but you're like, "I got to jump into this."
[00:43:01.23] David: Yeah, you have to love the hustle, love the game of it.
[00:43:05.04] Jen: You really a hundred percent do. But with that said you got to be able to turn it off I think at times too, otherwise you're just completely fry yourself.
[00:43:14.04] David: How do you do that? I'm asking for your advice on that.
[00:43:19.50] Jen: You just say to yourself, "I need a mental break. I'm going off the grid." You let the other people on your team know - I got to get away from it.
[00:43:31.25] David: Leave me alone.
[00:43:32.00] Jen: And to be honest when I say I got to get away, I'm like, "Okay, I'm going to take like the day. I'm not going to be on social a tone." I usually just need a couple hours here or there to look like reboot and like rejuvenate, but it's just got to be a conscious decision. And you've got to be okay with it, you've got to know that you're going to miss something I think to your point. And you've got to be with okay that, and I think it took me a long time to get comfortable with that and being like, "What trending, hashtag, or conversation am I going to miss?" And there are times where you look and you're like, "Oh, I would have had the perfect piece of content for that." But that's okay, that's not your moment.
[00:44:03.12] David: And going back to the players too, these guys can't work out 23 hours a day in order to get better, like at some point you could only give so much then you got to kind of rest, so I like that.
[00:44:11.59] Jen: David, one thing I just want to say like to other people trying to get into the industry is like I think that your presence on social media is so important, like when I was reviewing ...
[00:44:22.51] David: Your personal branding you mean?
[00:44:24.00] Jen: 100%, like your personal brand. Like, when I was reviewing resumes like for the roles that like we've hired for, as curious as I am about what's on your resume, like I want to know first and foremost like what your handle is and I want to be able to go and check it out and see what you're talking about, what you're tweeting about, are you a liability for our brand or our organization, do you get the industry, are you personally participating in those conversations even if it's not your job? I think that is huge like for people to be cognizant of and on top of.
[00:44:54.43] David: Yeah, you're applying for a social media manager but you haven't tweeted since 2014. That's a problem.
[00:44:58.34] Jen: 100%, yeah.
[00:45:00.15] David: All right, so my last thing I always ask, if you could recommend anyone ... you mentioned that you really take initiative when it comes to your network, is there anybody in your network that you think would provide value to this show? And if so, would you like to recommend them to the next episode or nominate them for the next episode of the podcast?
[00:45:16.33] Jen: Yes, I would. And you know what? She just did another podcast but deservedly so, Ally Raymond at the Cleveland Browns. Bless her for just what that girl has gone through, and how in stride she's taken it, and kind of how strong she's been through the losing ...
[00:45:40.10] David: How do you run a social media feed when you're Owen 16, like that's a legitimate show right there? That's crazy.
[00:45:44.49] Jen: And she does an amazing job of it, she understands the industry, she understands how to adapt your brand like regardless of the circumstances to your fans. And she's definitely somebody that I talked to regularly, I mean, we didn't go Owen 16, but we were kind in a low spot, so misery loves company.
[00:46:10.30] David: You guys shared a tear together, yeah.
[00:46:11.44] Jen: Yes.
[00:46:12.30] David: Right on. Well, there it is, thank you so much, Jen, for joining us on the business of social, and we'll do it again sometime soon.
[00:46:18.50] Jen: Well, thank you so much for having me, and I will talk to you soon.
[00:46:22.26] David: Thank you. All right, guys, wow, a lot of good stuff there. I think the one thing I took away from the show was the fact of you can't ... You're going to miss something at some point, you can't be on social 24/7 like her and I's conversation there towards the end about finding a way to unplug as everybody thinks that they have to be on at all times in order to be successful on social. Also like I said on the show I think we might have a sponsorship ready for Crowd Tangle, so many good people in this industry are really big on that tool and that's really how they rank their self amongst their peers and their engagement rates, so anybody out there that is not yet, checked it out. I think we all highly recommend it here on the show, both the David and also the guests. So hope you guys found a lot of value out of it. Once again, I want to thank Auntie Lightning, Christy Dishner, and Will Kelly filling in here on the business of social podcast. We'll see you next time.