How the NFL Continues to Increase Fan Engagement with Josh Tucker

Josh Tucker’s had stops at Golden Boy Productions, the Lakers, the Dodgers, WME/IMG and is now the Director of Social Content at the NFL. He’s climbed his way from hitting the publish button on social feeds to the guy that oversees the strategy for an organization with over 24 million followers on Twitter alone. Needless to say, he’s been around the block.

In this episode, we talked with Josh about the trends and the types of content that are resonating with the NFL audience and what you should be doing to improve your engagement on social.

Listen to the full show here: (and please subscribe to our podcast)

Here are the highlights:

[19:30] Where is the undervalued attention right now on social media?

"Influencers and the way brands are using them. You should be asking yourself 'what is your influencer strategy?' It’s part of the brand's strategy to check that box and it can be very impactful."

[34:02] If we have this conversation in 2023, what do you think the future of social media is? 

"I'm excited about three areas: one, gamification. two, experiential, and three, which might be further off, but blockchain and seeing how that impacts all industries. On the gamification front, what we've seen with HQ is interesting and how that can be applied to sports. Especially, what I will call gamification, the legalization of sports betting in the United States. That will be super interesting to watch how it impacts leagues. HQ is a case study of people tuning in and engaging with a broadcast on mobile. The question is, how will that impact live sporting events?"


Full Transcripts

Ep 16 - Josh Tucker Audio for iTunes

 

 

[00:00:05.35] David:  Hey. What's up, everybody, another edition of the business of social podcasts powered by STN Digital. We work with the experts to learn and stay up-to-date on the ever-changing digital and marketing industry. We are going to be joined by a guy that helps oversee a brand that's called the NFL. They only have about 24 million on Twitter, about 11 and a half million on Instagram and a solid I think, what, 17 million on Facebook, overseeing all that madness in the NFL 365 era that we live in, so super excited guys to speak with the director of social content at the NFL, Josh Tucker.

 

All right, guys, he has had stops at Golden Boy Productions, the Lakers, the Dodgers, WME and IMG, and he currently serves as a director of social at the NFL. Josh Tucker joins us on the business of social. Josh, my first question, I know you spent some time at the Lakers, LeBron is now a Laker as weird as that sounds. Do you think the Lakers are now the favored behind the Warriors in the Western Conference?

 

[00:01:10.01] Josh:  I am so ... One I'm thrilled to have LeBron on the Lakers, but two I'm so far removed from basketball.

 

[00:01:19.25] David:  NFL 365, yeah.

 

[00:01:21.04] Josh:  Yeah, well, like from what I understand I think the Rockets have to still be in that conversation, but am I thrilled for the City of LA, and like personally as a LeBron fan for him to be in Hollywood? Yeah.

 

[00:01:36.02] David:  Yeah, I mean, I grew up an hour east of LA, diehard Lakers fans. It's been a rough five years for us, man, after the Kobe era has been pretty rough, so it's nice to be back on top.

 

[00:01:47.11] Josh:  Yeah, definitely.

 

[00:01:48.35] David:  So you also worked at the Dodgers, and I know STN Digital is a company that I run, it's out of San Diego. And I know when you were on the keys back at the Dodgers you often had the state class of San Diego and some good gifts when you played the Padres, so I'm sure anchorman is a lot of your inspiration when you were on the handles.

 

[00:02:08.32] Josh:  Yeah, to your point, it's such a different time now versus 2012/13 and even in the 14, that like you look back on some of those tweets and those decisions and like we still talk about social and digital as the Wild West now. Back then like it's a really different landscape. So like those tweets, yeah, it's funny to be remembered for some of that stuff. But like I haven't hit publish on an account in a couple of years I think, like that was the best day of my career. Like, the day that I got to stop pressing publish. But it definitely is part of my past for sure.

 

[00:02:52.58] David:  I kind of want to go linear with you as well, your time at WME, IMG now, and in your estimation working at the NFL and obviously having time with the Dodgers and the Lakers as well, what's the main difference in your opinion working for a league or a team and then obviously like a more agency or conglomerate like WME was?

 

[00:03:14.23] Josh:  Yeah, I couldn't have been luckier in my career trajectory in that like the experience that I've had has been so fortuitous and like non-traditional, and not like this industry didn't exist seven eight years ago. So I started at a tiny now-defunct social media agency and it's like 2011/2012, and our strategy was you have to be on social media, specifically Facebook at the time. And then like our Twitter strategy and presenting the clients was like post one time per day, like that's how every day is like our strategy was.

 

Certainly seeing how the platforms have evolved, when I was at the Dodgers I really liked looking back was a social programmer I'll say, like managing the day-to-day programming for like Dodgers on Facebook and Twitter, like we're doing the play-by-play. We were doing marketing promotions, and like rich media didn't exist on social platforms the way it does.

 

[00:04:20.10] David:  Yeah, so video is not ... you can't even post video back then in 2012, yeah.

 

[00:04:24.01] Josh:  Right, so by the time I left there we're programming seven channels on top of five additional, on top of Facebook and Twitter. We had access to new formats that didn't exist or like we didn't think of them as part of our programming cadence being like gif, video, and all that becoming part of our strategy. So like that was really like my baptism in like this world of sports social.

 

But like since then, and that's mid-2014, the platforms have evolved and continue to evolve tremendously. And I think like going from a sports team like the Dodgers and really like seeing that brand re-imagined from the Frank McCourt era through the Magic Johnson era, like that Renaissance was incredible. And to be a part of that was awesome.

 

Going to WME, immediately being thrown into this like world-renowned agency, and they've recently acquired IMG, and my first project was New York Fashion. And so like having to learn how to go from a calendarized organization where like our whole ... like our rhythm was based on the team's calendar to a project to project organization where like my purview was New York Fashion Week, IMG Models, IMG College, Gal. We acquired professional bull riding, like things like Miss Universities, Miss USA. Organizations that I never imagined working on, and trying to apply some of our learning to those like in sports to those properties was like a big transition.

 

But then realizing like how much bigger the world was than just an individual team was really what I learned there. And then like you go to NFL and you realize like, "Whoa, these leads are so much bigger than we can even imagine." And like the fact that I sit in New York and there's an office of hundreds of people dedicated to the single product, like every day, it's just ... it's wild.

 

[00:06:43.45] David:  I love to get your thoughts; it kind of sparked something of interest to me when you said it. WME being project by project, it sounds like a baseball lease; you kind of had the season and the offseason. And I know all these sports teams are starting to become 365 now, but how did you kind of work out if you did it all? Kind that work-life balance that I know from an agency standpoint when it's projects after projects after projects, there's really never that light at end of the tunnel or maybe the part where you can exhale if you will.

 

[00:07:11.57] Josh:  Yeah, baseball that was ... Being in social for the Dodgers without a doubt the toughest time commitment in my career.

 

[00:07:20.59] David:  Playing a game every day. It's crazy.

 

[00:07:22.57] Josh:  Every day, and I think we see a lot of that on social now with the burnout of some of the social managers that are there, with like I remember I couldn't work out or I couldn't go to a movie because like I was scared that we were going to make a transaction. And like I don't know if that like was real or necessary, but that was the reality of the way that I lived. And so it's just in the way that I was living it, it was unsustainable.

 

Moving to WME which still like our hours were non-stop and like you mentioned like going, we were going ... I would get calls in the morning and I'd be talking about PBR, going straight into New York Fashion Week which couldn't be more different, and then just talking to our IMG College partners, and like there was ... It was non-stop all the time. But like work-life balance in that world is better represented I guess.

 

[00:08:19.37] David:  A little bit more normal, okay.

 

[00:08:21.13] Josh:  Yeah.

 

[00:08:22.58] David:  Yeah, so how do you deal that? You said you haven't pressed publish which I think is interesting, I think that's where all these social media managers try to get to, right? Where they can do strategy, they can oversee. I guess how many people are on your team? And to your point about balance as well, like have you learned from that? Do you try to find people that just geek out over it and deal with it and know it 24/7? Or can you find ways to help supplement?

 

[00:08:46.57] Josh:  Yeah, so the NFL social team is very large, it sits across a number of different areas, especially to my team, the three areas that I oversee on a day to day basis are our player social media initiative, the Check Down, and then the third is our live content correspondence program. And so each of those is staffed differently, we also scale up significantly in the season to meet the needs of the calendar year.

 

But yeah, I'm hyper conscious of work-life balance for my team. And I want them to know that they can take time off, and especially in the offseason. I think like the organization as a whole especially within NFL media we're like conscious, you're working Monday night, Thursday night, all day Sunday, like Friday needs to be ... it's work from home day, if not, like a personal day to get errands done.

 

So I like to try to be mindful of it. I also like I think that there's members of our team that they are programming and always on, because like they love it. And like there's one guy, Bryce Gustafsson, specifically, who's been programming NFL social for I want to say four years at this point. And he loves being there and being the one to press send, and he's incredible. But that's like that's definitely something we're all trying to be aware of.

 

[00:10:23.07] David:  So yeah, tell me about those three different buckets, like with the players initiative, and I really want to dig into the Check Down. But from a percentage standpoint, how much does that I guess take your day on a day-to-day or your role?

 

[00:10:35.12] Josh:  Yeah, sure. I came in initially to start the player social media initiative, and the idea was that the league has now 53 million followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our clubs about 180 million in aggregate, but our players reach about 380 million on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So we have a full dedicated staff to programming NFL social channels, each club has their own dedicated social media team. But our players who are not content creators, they're football players, who reach the largest audience. They didn't have any resources whatsoever, so we now work ... we scale the program to work with about 500 players. And the idea is that we have a ton of content, and they want access to it.

 

And so like we were like the cringe-worthy moment is like our players going Googling their name, downloading an AP photo with a watermark on it when we have access to that content. So the dream for that program is at some point every player when they get back to their locker postgame is that they have photos and videos from that game to publish and share on their social channels, to engage with fans.

 

[00:11:56.33] David:  How are you envisioning that being delivered? Is it like an NFL player's app that they can just download into their camera roll, like how do you see it working?

 

[00:12:05.08] Josh:  So the 500 players I mentioned are on a tool called Socially, and so right now we deliver content to our players through Socially.

 

[00:12:16.27] David:  So similar to green fly and some of the other competitors out there.

 

[00:12:18.52] Josh:  Yeah, definitely. Yeah, and so Socially, it's a mobile web-based tool which we use, and the preferred methods of communication are either text, email, or Twitter DM. So like we found that our players enjoy the flexibility of that. They even click the link and then have an access to an archive of content of stuff that we've shared with them, and it's three-click publishing cross platform if they want.

 

[00:12:47.52] David:  That's awesome, man. I guess in your opinion where do you think the percentage is in terms of exactly where you want it to be and where it is currently going into this season?

 

[00:12:57.45] Josh:  It's a great question. Like, I said the dream is to scale this to the whole league. I think like in three years if you ... two years ago if you had said we have like two full-time dedicated heads in addition to myself and are working with 500 players and the caliber of players that we're working with, like we would all be in disbelief. Like, it's awesome, and we're continuing to augment our content offering for players.

 

Last week we were able to send social producers out to a workout with DeAndre Hopkins to Shaun Watson, Saquon Barkley, Odell, and be there as like their social content creators. And I've seen all of ... And Todd Gurley was there. And have seen them be able to use that content. So as we continue to evolve this program, like continue to be excited about what we're doing and providing to them.

 

[00:13:55.30] David:  How much of this can be automated in the future, meaning with tagging and algorithms and things like that that the DeAndre Hopkins touchdown or the OBJ one-handed touchdown grab can automatically be sent to that player through a platform like this?

 

[00:14:10.35] Josh:  So at some point all of it. We're not there yet. We are working with Socially to integrate with AP and put filters, so that like photographer tags, or our live content correspondent tags automatically get sent to our team who then can go through the tags and make sure it's the right, curate it, and make sure it gets to the right player.

 

We have another video tool, WST, which most of the major sports leagues used. And the dream is that they're categorizing and archiving all highlights so that in real time we can distribute that. So like that is definitely the dream of the program.

 

[00:14:52.18] David:  I want to dig into the Check Down, because ESPN has Cycle, Turner Sports has Bleacher and House of Highlights. And I think the NFL, you guys did a really good job of saying, "We want to talk about pop culture. We want to integrate a little bit of humor." That just doesn't make sense coming from the NFL brand and kind of the brass at the front office. So let's make a separate channel that we can explain that vision, so I'd love to hear from you if that's kind of how you guys approach that and if that's kind of your vision for that platform?

 

[00:15:23.08] Josh:  Yeah, very close to if not exactly. And I think I would add, the volume of content coming from NFL and to support our marketing initiatives to engage avid fans is so tremendous. Like, we weren't in a position to be able to curate all this incredible content from around the internet, and then really so this gives us the opportunity to own all football related conversation from football to ... Or Dell doing the shake, and like and everything in between. And so that was really like a core reason we (lost?) the account, it's allowed ... I guess it's created a new revenue stream as well.

 

And I think it's just been a fun project for a lot of people on the team. It's been able to allow us to push creativity further than we traditionally could on an NFL account.

 

[00:16:19.17] David:  I'll vent a little bit because I've had ... I won't name names, but I've had clients kind of when it comes to Bleacher the excuse is always, "Well, they have hundreds of millions of dollars." When it comes to Check Down it's, "Well, they have rights to NFL highlights." But we've dug into the Check Down and looked at it as a case study, and you guys at least a couple months ago were only using like less than 10% of actual highlights you own, the rest of it is UGC content, it's content you're creating, who's the GOAT, LeBron or Tom Brady, when the NBA Finals was going on. So you could probably number is better than I do, but you guys aren't succeeding simply because you have the highlights to NFL.

 

[00:16:58.09] Josh:  No, and I think that we want to be better at curation than anyone else. So I think the team has gotten really good at that. I think like we all are, like you look across the Bleacher ecosystem and House of Highlights, you look across the Cycles and the other, probably like even their Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, everyone is getting really good at curation.

 

So at the end of the day our distinguishing factor is going to be our highlights for sure. So like we need to lean into that. But we want to be better a curation than anyone else for sure.

 

[00:17:38.43] David:  Yeah, I think one example just for the audience to know of is you guys did a really good job during the NBA Finals really injecting yourself into that conversation through football, right? So you had Steph Curry throwing the football in practice, you brought in the LeBron MVP debate with Tom Brady, just finding ways that you can inject the NFL conversation with what everybody's talking about right now in the sports landscape.

 

[00:18:00.08] Josh:  Yeah, and I think like a really cool area that we can marry the Check Down with player social is exactly in that space. And so we have at least 500 players on Socially, we can send out a text request saying, "Who do you think is going to win the NBA Finals?" And so we had read over 50 responses from our players, we're able to create custom content that way. And so trying to figure out ways to like find unique angles to participate in conversations is exactly what we're trying to do with both of these [unclear 18:31].

 

[00:18:31.45] David:  So on a Sunday how many posts go out across social media if you know that number, at least maybe Twitter? How many posts from 12 to 12?

 

[00:18:41.34] Josh:  From NFL Check Down?

 

[00:18:44.02] David:  NFL.

 

[00:18:44.34] Josh:  Like, I couldn't put a number on it, because just it doesn't sit within my world. But I wouldn't be surprised ... like I think we're well over a hundred clips, if not more. The tonnage there is insane. I think like moving forward trying to be smarter about is evaluating the distribution strategy, and really like we do consider our model league club player, and so how can we pull different levers across those three verticals to make sure that we're not saturating people's timeline.

 

[00:19:28.07] David:  Right, you mentioned House of Highlights earlier and what Turner and Bleacher had been able to do. Have you guys thought about that, posting every single touchdown, every single NFL highlight in something into that form rather than using the main mother ship account as the NFL?

 

[00:19:44.31] Josh:  There have been conversations about it, but nothing that I have today.

 

[00:19:50.17] David:  Got you. So would love to hear just some of your thoughts, we talk about volume ...

 

[00:19:56.45] Josh:  I'm sorry, I get that back, like there is a watch channel to game highlights. But like for creating a new standalone page that's just dedicated to highlights, like that I'm not sure if it's on the roadmap.

 

[00:20:12.43] David:  Got you. So where do you, I mean, being in so many different places, NBA, MLB, the agency side, WME, and then now at the NFL, as we sit here at 2018 I ask every guest this, but where do you see the undervalued attention right now on social media where you guys focused at?

 

[00:20:31.33] Josh:  That's a really good question. So I would have to say influencers, and I know that seems silly, but like influencers and then talent fully understanding and comprehending their worth. And this might be because of where ...

 

[00:20:51.06] David:  So it's distribution at the end of the day, I mean, that's just clear distribution, yeah.

 

[00:20:54.41] Josh:  Yeah. And I think this week we've seen a crazy ... like an unbelievable case study in this space with like Kylie Jenner disrupting an entire industry with like ...

 

[00:21:06.01] David:  I think she has four employees and makes about $800 million, so not doing to [unclear]

 

[00:21:10.56] Josh:  I think like talent becoming smarter, understanding their worth. But also the way that brands see influencers, like in terms of like, "Oh, what's our influencer strategy? We need influencers?" It's part of brand strategy to check a box.

 

[00:21:28.24] David:  100%, you're so right on that.

 

[00:21:31.05] Josh:  And so we're seeing how impactful influencers can be. And like Kylie Jenner is like the perfect example of like how powerful one person can be, and like the value of that person's brand can be. And I think like we see that with The Rock, we've seen that with like what Juju has been able to do for himself. And I guess I'll add like influencers aren't just celebrities, and we hear the term micro influencers a lot get thrown around, but like actually figuring out what that means, how you can leverage them. And I think like with algorithms today, like everyone has the opportunity to be an influencer.

 

[00:22:16.37] David:  Yeah. I think you're totally right now. I think it's an industry issue where people do the influencer game to check a box, it's a sexy thing to say about a brand or a launch, "Let's get influencers talk about our brand." And I think you'll probably agree with me, the number one thing I see is just the lack of genuine content. If an influencer, if there's a mommy blogger out there that has a very genuine relationship with their fan base, and she posts an ad for Forever 21 on her feed, it just doesn't get the engagement because it's not being genuine to that fan base. So if you're going to use influencers, allow them to speak to their audience the same way they do daily and let them curate how they're going to get that message across.

 

[00:22:54.35] Josh:  Definitely, yeah.

 

[00:22:56.36] David:  So what platforms, I mean, you guys obviously use that the major four, but looking at IGTV and vertical storytelling, of course I'm sure when that dropped across your desk you're like, "Well, we got a couple months left and now we got to figure out this strategy which is always fun." We always talk about on the show like it's the best part of our industry but it's the worst part of our industry, while you think you got everything figured out here comes IGTV. But how do you guys think you're going to attack that this NFL season?

 

[00:23:22.19] Josh:  With IGTV specifically, we like are constantly meeting about ways that we can deliver content optimized to our fans through each platform. And so the conversations that we've had today or to date have been about like how do we use our own content to program that. And so we're looking at historic hard knocks footage, we're looking at top 5 lists, top 10 lists, listical style content of best catches, best iterations, with the Hall of Fame engagement like how can we build content around inductees this year, stuff like that.

 

But another, like part of the beauty of the Check Down is we can experiment there, that we couldn't necessarily experiment on the NFL channel for it. So those are things that we're looking at now. We really ... I love the challenge of building content for vertical video.

 

[00:24:35.09] David:  I do too. So how much of your job is in your digital inventory, meaning creating systematic content that sponsors want to be a part of? Do you have your hands dirty in that, and are you guys really in depth on your rate cards and finding ways to integrate sponsorship and partners the right way for your audience?

 

[00:24:58.01] Josh:  Yeah, so my role hasn't been focused on that so far. The driving forces of monetization for NFL social are platform partnerships. And so that is really like what we ... when we talk about social revenue, like that's where we live predominantly.

 

The Check Down was sponsored by Samsung, the presenting sponsor was Samsung. My team oversaw creative ideation through execution of that, and then distribution on Check Down, and with looking collaboration with that FL social team, distribution and amplification on those accounts. But fortunately I don't have to get into the nitty gritty of rate card at the NFL, but that was like a core part of my job at WME.

 

[00:25:57.14] David:  So do you think that ... I mean, I always say on the show that we're getting there, 2018, as we go to 2019/2020 I'm sure you agree with me just more partners are going to be want to be involved in digital exclusives, like an IGTV top 10 list and be a presenting sponsor, the same way they were sponsors with NFL Network and on the linear feed. Have you seen that transgression through your career, just they want be more involved in digital-only type of exclusives?

 

[00:26:24.59] Josh:  Yes, I think that ... and I hope every year that it gets better. But I think like we're looking at a new generation of digital salespeople, and I think that like once we find that common language and understanding and really truly understand the value of social and digital and can explain that to the C level and above, then we'll see that take ... like that part of the industry take off.

 

[00:26:57.49] David:  So to your point, for so long for 20, 30, 40 years there's been a certain way to sell and make revenue and get monetization, and now the last five or ten years or so there's now this new inventory, but to your point it's difficult to translate exactly what that inventory is or how to sell it properly if you've been doing it the old way from a sales standpoint?

 

[00:27:17.25] Josh:  Definitely.

 

[00:27:20.06] David:  All right, so I want to see how much you can get into this, but with the league social media policy for NFL teams and NFL clubs, I know that's been a topic on Twitter almost every season. So does that run through your department and how do you ... I guess, how does the league handle what's okay to post, what's not okay to post, how many things you can post? How does that kind of come down?

 

[00:27:42.32] Josh:  Yeah, so there is a dedicated group that services the clubs, and they work hand-in-hand with our business development team and like our overall NFL social content team to develop the policy. My involvement in that is limited. And if you asked me to like go over like pieces or aspects of it, I couldn't give you the specifics. So I'm sorry that I can't be more of a help.

 

[00:28:15.09] David:  No worries, I just want to get your opinion on that. I mean, I guess somewhat similar to that or I think a similar question, I think Adam Silver and the NBA have really been praised with their ability on I think on social. I think what you talked about the players initiative, the NBA has found a way to give their players more voice. So I just want to hear from you, and you worked a little bit in the NBA and the MLB, but is there anything you can take away from a league like the NBA and do you guys look at other leagues to see what's working and maybe apply it to your guys' strategy?

 

[00:28:43.47] Josh:  Yeah, we're constantly looking at other leagues and what they're doing. I admire MLB social, I admire ... like they're incredible and have been so far ahead of everyone for a long time. NBA social is incredible. I think when I look at the NBA specifically and especially where I say within the NFL, like their players are so social. And it's like there's ... You look back at Shaq as one of like the godfathers of Twitter, and sort of like culturally it's a different sport, and I think like our players are coming from a different way. Like, we look at the top 15 high school basketball players, everyone knows them, like LaMelo Ball is not included, but like at least in that class, like LaMelo Ball, Zion Williams, like these are household names. And so culturally like these players are growing up to be social media superstars.

 

And it's different in the NFL, and even furthermore like our quarterbacks are often some of the guys that are least likely to participate in social. And so it's very different, and I think like we can look at the way that we've treated cliffs. But like the sports are so inherently different that it's really tough to compare. But like of course, I'm so like so in awe of what the other leagues do. But I think like our social team, the work that they do is incredible as well.

 

[00:30:30.05] David:  Yeah, I think, I mean, to your point, the free agency buzz around LeBron's decision, I mean, it's as if you're in the middle of the season first of all. And then you have Joel Embiid trolling LeBron saying that, "That's always going to be Kobe and Magic's town. Don't go to LA," type thing, so you're so right about that. I mean, how much of that has to do with more NFL players and how much does it have to do with that you guys wear helmets? Well, I think that's a big part of that.

 

[00:30:55.55] Josh:  Yeah, and so that's part of what we're trying to do with player social and the Check Down. More players on more platforms, but also more helmet off content and trying to get your behind the scenes content and show you who these guys are. In every conversation with every player like we try to educate them on the benefits of social and ways to show personality, and so we're definitely combating that, which like I don't know if there was like a fix tomorrow that we'll come up with, but it's definitely something that on a day to day that we're conscious of.

 

[00:31:32.39] David:  And I think, I mean, was it last year or two years ago when Tom Brady finally decided to get on Instagram type deal, and started creating some content. That was actually really well done and got some noise. Are you hoping that potentially this next generation of quarterback ... because quarterback is the guys that are on the camera the most, and you can see their face more often, and I think people relate with them more, do you think this next generation of quarterbacks, the Shawn Watson's of the world will become more social, Joel Embiid, LeBron James friendly?

 

[00:32:01.57] Josh:  Yeah, I think in NFL it really varies locker room to locker room. And so I think like we'll see transformations within each of those locker rooms. I think like Tom Brady being the ... like being credible social media superstar that he has been, it is hugely beneficial to all of the personalities around him. I would love to see that. And I think like I was talking to someone at the NBA, and not this last draft but the draft prior, a hundred percent of rookies drafted in the first round came into the league on minimum two platforms. We don't have those numbers, and so part of it is encouraging these guys to participate to begin with.

 

And so we're definitely trying to educate these players. And I think we have a great young core group, and there's definitely an emphasis on young players, rising stars, and then specifically quarterback.

 

[00:33:08.55] David:  This is probably a bad example, but I remember the story with Antonio Brown Facebook Live in the locker room type thing. Obviously, I don't think that's okay regardless of the culture that is inside of a locker room, but to your point with the head coach or the GM or kind of how the owner decides to run the franchise's a little bit, "Hey, it's a Green Bay Packer way. It's a Steeler way. We don't do that stuff. We focus on football. We focus in between the lines, in between the whistle." And that's just truly a culture element I think that maybe hurts the introduction to social for a lot of these guys.

 

[00:33:38.20] Josh:  Yeah, that was definitely an excuse.

 

[00:33:42.42] David:  I will make you expand. From a business perspective what social platforms seem to be working the best right now for you guys?

 

[00:33:52.38] Josh:  I won't single a platform or platforms.

 

[00:33:56.53] David:  You love all of them, all your partners, they're all amazing.

 

[00:33:59.17] Josh:  We are platform agnostic. Really like each platform is so unique and we found different ways to engage our audiences on each platform so differently that I couldn't pick just one.

 

[00:34:19.27] David:  Let me see if I can ask this a different way. What platform gives you the best organic engagement?

 

[00:34:26.16] Josh:  I don't know if I can single one out there.

 

[00:34:32.19] David:  I'm going to guess Instagram, but I could be wrong. Well, from what we've seen anyway Instagram the last ... with the Facebook kind of algorithm being turned down a little bit as of late, Instagram is kind of been that for a lot of different brands anyway. So I'll ask some more futuristic questions. Five years out, I think you talked about the player initiative, the Check Down, getting players more involved, but if we look ... If we have this conversation like in 2023, what do you think the future of social media is? Where do you think we're going in terms of our next steps?

 

[00:35:04.15] Josh:  Yeah, I think that what excites me the most are probably like three areas. And like one would be gamification, two would it be experiential, and three would be, and this is like maybe further off, is like block chain and seeing how that impacts I think like all industries. Like, on the gamification front like what we've seen with HQ and like the applications for that in sports, whether it's ... and especially with what I'll call like gamification, like the legalization of sports betting in the United States, that's probably super interesting to watch how it impacts teams or leagues specifically. But I think like HQ as a case study of like people tuning in and engaging with a broadcast on mobile, and how like that has implications on live sporting events.

 

I think another area is social application of fantasy, and so like for me automated insights for example as like a product is so awesome. But like how does that become social? And how are we engaging people to share across their channels and celebrate a win on their channels?

 

On the experiential front like we're in the middle of an experiential renaissance with I think like everything from Coachella to Burning Man, and even like Capital One transforming their branches into the Capital One Cafe, the Museum of Ice Cream, and things like that and like these like made for ...

 

[00:37:04.24] David:  Pop up shops, Fuma to draft, yeah, 100%.

 

[00:37:07.47] Josh:  Exactly. And then block chain I think like as a whole. I think like whether it's data that's like digital advertising industry, pure ticket exchanges, things like that like, I think there's just like a ton of application there.

 

[00:37:27.46] David:  It's funny, first of all HQ trivia is mentioned almost every week on this show. So if I could buy stock and something, it's your point, it's appointment view television but on the mobile device. So I totally agree with you there, and I think that's super interesting. So I want to get into the bottlenecks or challenges that you guys face, I would assume there's so much going on and so much possibility for content that you never feel like you're finally like, "All right, we're done for the day. We're all good." There's never a sigh of relief, but I'd love to hear like your current bottlenecks or challenges that you guys deal with on a daily basis.

 

[00:38:04.54] Josh:  Yeah, I think like to the challenges and like never feeling like we're done, I think that's just like an industry wide experience. And to your point about like tomorrow one of these platforms could drop a major update that just transforms the way that we have to think about our jobs as a whole. Bottlenecks it's the same thing that you see in every company, and I think like I think for us because we're so seasonal in nature, like our calendars are built on this season. But like our trials and tribulations are the same ones that you're experiencing I'm sure.

 

[00:38:48.15] David:  Yep, absolutely. So I got some rapid-fire questions and I'll get you out of here. I know we're recording this on a Friday, so I want to get to do it to your weekend, man. All right, so rapid-fire here, what is the one social or marketing tool that you could not live without?

 

[00:39:02.27] Josh:  Crowd Tangle.

 

[00:39:05.24] David:  Interesting.

 

[00:39:07.45] Josh:  Yeah, Crowd Tangle is my favorite tool that we use. And it programs and helps us understand the data or things on social that we never knew before.

 

[00:39:22.31] David:  Awesome. West Coast or East Coast?

 

[00:39:24.52] Josh:  I'm from LA, I live in New York. West Coast.

 

[00:39:32.19] David:  Nice. It's a little more sunny out here. I was going to ask you to rank and order Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat but I don't think you're going to do that, so we'll stay agnostic on that. Who is a must follow on Twitter?

 

[00:39:45.47] Josh:  Who is a must follow on Twitter? Man.

 

[00:39:50.29] David:  What's the first thing that pops in your head?

 

[00:39:52.04] Josh:  I would say the Check Down.

 

[00:39:54.47] David:  Yeah, but you can't say that. It's got to be ... maybe Juju.

 

[00:39:58.33] Josh:  Juju is great. I think Bala Ashar is awesome. Bala Ashar or Elon Musk.

 

[00:40:12.24] David:  I love it. What is one of your guilty non-business follows? I'm going to maybe guess Kylie Jenner, but I don't know.

 

[00:40:20.42] Josh:  Guilty non-business follows. Gosh, this is really ...

 

[00:40:28.25] David:  I'll admit, mine's WorldStarHipHop I got to admit.

 

[00:40:33.46] Josh:  I guess I'll go with the Quan.

 

[00:40:39.59] David:  Okay, right on. All right, so in our industry FOMO is a major thing since everything like we talked about this entire podcast, it moves so quickly. What's the one thing you would recommend everybody in the industry reads daily or follows daily to kind of keep you up to speed in this ever-changing world that we live in?

 

[00:41:00.46] Josh:  Yeah, it's funny, like my FOMO is not for like things happening now, it's like a hundred years from now. So like I love the daily, the podcast, and that's not an industry specific thing. But I think like it's just so meaningful to just stay on top of current events, and they do such an incredible job. And then I probably, like my second would be Revisionist History, another podcast.

 

[00:41:32.56] David:  Awesome. Any last thing, I guess advice, as we let you get out of here for anyone of working in the social media space?

 

[00:41:42.56] Josh:  Yeah, I always tell anyone that I work with, be positive, be proactive, and be a problem solver. And if you do those three things I think you can cut it in the industry.

 

[00:41:57.11] David:  I love it, man. Once again, guys, Josh Tucker, breaking it down here for us on the business social. The director of social content in NFL. It's been a pleasure, man. I appreciate it. I appreciate the time.

 

[00:42:06.52] Josh:  Thank you so much.

 

[00:42:08.09] David:  Thanks, Josh. I appreciate it. Good conversation with Josh Tucker. Man, what a ... so far, I mean, a pretty young dude but had a pretty cool career starting in LA with the Lakers, the Dodgers, and going into WMEIMG, and now director of social content. I don't even know how he does it with all these different platforms, and I'm sure there's so much content. I mean, on a Sunday alone. He didn't really know the number; I'm going to say thousands of posts go out every Sunday. But I thought there was some cool stuff that came out of it. Obviously the undervalued attention question that I asked ad nauseam on this program, but I think it always gives us a really good indicator on where we're at.

 

He said influencers, and I think just what they're doing with the player social media initiative I think is so smart. The players, the 500 players, he talked about, they have more of a reach than the NFL does, so why not tap into players that need help? They don't know how to create content, they're not paying agencies $10,000 a month to create content in most cases, so being able to get your brand out there with your players just makes total sense.

 

So the player social media initiative that he spoke about, I wasn't aware of all the nuts and bolts of it. That was super interesting. What they're doing with the Check Down I'm a huge fan of that strategy, being able to play in the pop culture and all that. And also Crowd Tangle, I think that's a good piece of advice, so if you're not using Crowd Tangle, there's a tool that you should along with everything else he said, but a good conversation with the director of social content over at NFL Josh Tucker. As always I want to thank David Ferker, Auntie Lightning and Sam Howard for all their help on this show. This has been another edition of the business of social podcast powered by STN Digital.