leverage pr beck bamberger stn digital

How to Leverage PR for Your Brand with Beck Bamberger

For brands to leverage PR effectively, it takes a lot more than a simple story in a publication.  At the foundation, it’s about building relationships between organizations and the public by having the ability to communicate a message effectively.

On this edition of the Business of Social podcast, we chatted with Beck Bamberger from BAM Communications to discuss how brands can leverage PR and influencers to generate more brand awareness.

Beck is a former, on-air host and executive producer which led her to an Emmy in 2011.  She is a contributing writer to publications like Inc, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Forbes.  AND she currently serves as the founder of BAM Communications, a public relations firm focused on representing the movers, shakers, breakers, and makers of technology.

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

Here are some of the highlights:

What is BAM Communications and what is a day-to-day like with your clients?

“We’re storytellers.  Our notion is that everyone has a story and it’s our job to elevate and showcase that story by keeping the narrative tight and consistent.

Our favorite situation is a company in stealth, that is doing something groundbreaking and possibly world-changing that we get to collaborate with to expose in the media.

We are here to fundamentally showcase their story mostly through editorial earned content such as getting into Bloomberg, the CNBC’s and the Tech Crunches of the world. Number two, in their content. Writing content and placing it. Number three, in their social channels. How we tell that story and keeping the whole storyline together.”

In terms of PR and relationships with media outlets, how do you balance multiple clients trying to get into the same places without overextending your welcome?

“This is why PR is one of the most stressful jobs in America.  24-7 you’re dealing with it. You are dealing with pleasing the client and pleasing the press and being the bridge between them. And the press owes you nothing.

The only way to get [the press’s] trust, is by befriending them first. Help them get their sources, help them produce the story and don’t always be funneling and pushing your clients on them for your obvious benefit.”

What is the difference between PR and advertising?

“Public relations can mean many different things.  Any and all publics you are speaking to. Maybe that’s your board, your shareholders, your employees, your internal communications, etc.  Typically what people think of is media relations and dealing with the press.

It’s long been known and debated, but editorial earned content is far more valuable and credible than anything you could buy an ad for. Consumers are savvy enough to know a paid spot.  That’s why you have to disclose it in magazines because you could say whatever you want in an advertisement.  If you want to get a whole story featuring your company, that’s much harder, but it’s going to be much more validating.”

How has social media changed your role over the last 5 years and how do you manage it?

“It depends what space the client is in, but you cannot simply ignore your social channels. It is another outlet that you can control.  You should leverage it to the best of your ability when you have a great piece of earned content come out.”

What data tools do you use to show clients the value of media outlets and influencers talking about their brands?

“We use one that we white label called TrendKite.  It’s very popular, but also expensive. It allows you to see how your press pieces stacking up compared to competitors. What are the social amplifications? What is driving the most to your website? Where did people click? And so on.

However, do we ever fully know the extent of clear ROI, no. This is the oldest problem in advertising and marketing. We can’t track where the influence of those eyeballs go.”

How can brands use social media to increase their PR for brand awareness?

“The number one thing when you get an earned piece is to share it and leverage it to the best of your ability on all your platforms. You’ll see a lot of brands doing this. They don’t say “buy our thing”, they put what the press has said. Whatever it is, That’s credibility and validation. The media functions as a validation tool and a signal to the consumer.

Don’t cut yourself off of a great piece of coverage by not leveraging it immediately and continuously on your platforms.”

How have you brought in social media influencers to extend that brand awareness?

“The whole influencer space is a bit of an upheaval. Currently, there is a large supply of these individuals, because anybody can do it if you get to a good enough mark. There was a great investigative piece in The New York Times about paid or bought followers and even bots that are mimicking real actual profiles.

It’s hard to distinguish and discern among the credible ones who could actually do something for your brand versus the ones that are fluff. One thing I always look at is followers on their Instagram; of those, when they post something, did they get one-hundred comments or did they get two? That seems like a red flag right there. Bots can even leave fake comments so you really need to be careful.”

With influencers and clients, what’s the justification for ROI?

“We usually take it as a “nice to have.” If you have some extra budget and want to experiment in that space, great! Should your entire marketing or majority of your budget be spent on just influencers? Probably risqué, probably risqué.

We dedicate some to experimenting with the hope that they really do have real followers in their niche audience that can actually move their product. But, some are going to be duds and you need to be okay with that.

For example, if I had a product, I wouldn’t touch the influencers right off the bat. I would first think about the outlets in which the product could be showcased in. Then, I would send a really cool, compelling gift box to the columnist or person I’m trying to reach. I’d try to line up a meeting or have an event in which we could put it physically in their hands. It’s a softer pitch that way.”

What is your overall feeling on influencers in the next five years?

“I think we are seeing a big balloon with influencers.  You’re seeing all this interest right now and then it’ll morph back into what’s realistic. A lot of people want to get in the game but then it’s going to shrivel to its true market instead of an explosive one.”

Earned media value; how do you attach a dollar value to an organic tweet from Lady Gaga for example?

“This is the ultimate end-all problem. We have no solution for this, no one does.

When it comes to clients, we don’t deal with that. If we’re trying to convince on a consistent basis, that’s a bad client for us. Our clients are ones who come to us saying, “we need PR, we understand it or we think we understand it, here is why we believe we need it, what can you do for us?”

The question is, how much? But at least you could say to your client, “if you had paid for that, we know her pricing list, here’s what it would have been.”

When you have a volume of things to show to a client, we look at the aggregate of it.  Branding is an aggregate artist’s game. It’s not usually a one-time thing that triggers the consumer to act in such a way, it is an aggregate play.  So, you could stand to the body of your work and point.”

What’s your philosophy when dealing with a crisis and risk management?

“First thing, a crisis can happen anytime. You are never too small to have a plan in place in case an employee goes off the rails or there’s something with the co-founder. There are so many cases. It doesn’t matter your size, the amount of funding, or whatever. Have a plan in place, that’s the best thing.”

When something bad happens, what is your philosophy on the first thing to do?

“There are so many people who botched this. The number one thing is to address it and address it immediately. “We are aware of the situation involving X, we are working on the solution, we are looking into it etc.” Not addressing it, creates speculation. People are going to fill in the gaps and they’re going to talk about it.  You need to raise that flag to say, we are aware. If there is a certain time frame tied to it, this is when we will respond. Then you can get into the response once you have aggregated the information pertaining to the situation.

Ignoring is the worst thing. People will fill in the gaps and they will do it immediately, within hours.”

Looking 5-10 years out, where do you think PR is going for brand awareness?

“I think there is a slight backlash brewing with short-form content. We are going towards longer-form that is going in-depth. It’s always swinging, and I feel in journalism right now there is a huge crescendo at the moment.

I think there will always be the ten second little blips and videos that are bite size. But for the consumer that wants the in-depth and wants to really understand something, there is going to be a space for the long-form.”

What’s the first step a business can take for PR and their brand?

“You can start by making your own relationships.  You don’t go up to someone and say, “you want to write a whole story about me?” No, if you don’t know them, then you seem like a weirdo and that’s not going to be well taken. Start slowly. Pick out twenty outlets, find who writes for them, email them, meet for coffee, etc.  Don’t make the ask right off the bat.

Spend six months to a year building your own relationships with the different outlets.

When the time comes and you’ve spent the time and invested in making that relationship, that’s when you get favors.  That’s how you build a relationship.

The only way you can get coverage right off the bat is if you have a fantastic client doing fantastic things that is a perfect fit for this writer. But how many situations do you get like that? Less than you’d like.” 

How do you package that and make the publishers life easier?

“They’re checking on their phone, typically through emails which is the number one source they receive pitches. It needs to be short, sweet, and well packaged — bullet points, no more than ten sentences.”

You’ve been to more than sixty countries, how has that shaped your storytelling and the narratives you tell with clients and outlets?

“Storytelling is universal. It is all across humanity. We’ve been telling stories as long as we’ve been around fires, so that’s never going away. How we tell stories, of course, will change. This [podcast] is a form of storytelling, Twitter is a form of storytelling. So, it’s going to change and evolve.

I think it’s a good reminder of the customs and norms that every culture, whether that’s an ethnic one or a business one, pertains to.”

Tell us more about how people can find you.

“Our PR firm’s website is bamcommunications.biz and my personal website is beckbamberger.com.”


The Business of Social Podcast examines the digital advertising industry and analyzes how brands successfully increase their ad revenue and brand affinity through cutting edge content on social. In short, we talk to the experts so you’re able to keep your thumb on the pulse of the ever-changing landscape of social and digital media. (Powered By STN Digital)


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Industry Leaders Weigh In On NFL's Social MVP

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The Philadelphia Eagles were holding the Lombardi trophy by the end of Super Bowl LII.  But, which team was holding the trophy for best social media coverage this season?

We at STN Digital, a sports and entertainment agency in San Diego, reached out to our trusted industry experts to get their take. The question was simple, “Who do you think was the best NFL team on social media in 2017?

STN Digital

“This is even more difficult than selecting a top MLB team in social. I’m constantly impressed with the quality, creativity, and approach of many NFL teams; the Jaguars, Vikings, Cardinals, and Falcons to name a few. It’s hard not to pick the Panthers given how many hours were invested in that social strategy, but I’m going to stay unbiased here (they are still among the most engaging and responsive in pro sports). The Miami Dolphins do video far better than anyone else in the game. The Packers do an excellent job of blending their rich history and current success with high-quality visual content. The list goes on.

One team deserves serious recognition however: The Chicago Bears. The most difficult thing to do right on social is write really good copy, and the Bears manage to consistently nail it every time. They know when to be fun and are extremely clever. They know when to get serious – they know how to tell a story that resonates with fans in a powerful way using as few words as possible. Their twitter handle has a great sense of humor too.

The team is clearly committed to quality visual content. Every video photo looks crisp and every video is shot with digital in mind. Their graphics are also on another level, among the best in the league It can be such a challenge to make an older brand feel fresh, but the Bears have done a superb job with this over the years. They also respond and engage with fans, which always gets you extra points in my book.

Bottom line, the Bears manage to hit on all cylinders despite operating as a more historically conservative franchise AND while rebuilding on the field. Any social media manager will tell you the impact team competitiveness has on digital success, but the Bears manage to win on social even when the team is not winning on the field. A true testament of a very, very talented team.”

To check out the Chicago Bears, click here: Instagram & Twitter

Follow Dan on Twitter here!

STN Digital

“Call me a homer, but in my mind the Atlanta Falcons take the cake here.  The social staffing additions they’ve made over the past year-and-a-half are paying dividends, as they probably double as MVP and Most Improved.  Their diversity is impressive.  From an access standpoint, they give their fans the inside look at anything and everything regarding team practices, travel, events and more.  Their production quality on videos, graphics, and photos are stunning.  They mix it up well, their content is wide-ranging and interesting.  They know how to use each channel for its purpose too.  On Instagram, high-quality images and short video clips get fans pumped up in a medium where the visuals tell the story.  On Twitter, they’re playful and confident but not cocky on a medium where their brand voice comes through easiest.  Their social copy is short and straight to the point for brand-building messages, never using more words than necessary.

I have no issue admitting that I probably see more Falcons content than others, so take that for what it’s worth. There are other teams that I think do a phenomenal job (Cowboys, Panthers, Cardinals to name a few) but Atlanta’s the best.”

To check out the Atlanta Falcons, click here: Instagram & Twitter

Follow Jaryd on Twitter here!

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“As someone who works closely with all 32 clubs all year long, it’s almost impossible to select just one MVP this year. Overall, I was thrilled with how every single club stepped up their game on social (and specifically on Twitter) – creating more meaningful content and interactions with their fans on a daily basis. Kudos to all of the social managers who developed and executed such fantastic strategies all year long.

I like to think of the social MVP as someone who checks off all the boxes – live content, strong visual identity, brand voice, creative video content, and interactions with fans. While I truly can’t pick a favorite, I will showcase a few of the best examples in my opinion from teams this year.

Live Content – Team’s went LIVE more this year than ever before, bringing teams closer to the action every day of the week. The Dolphins, Seahawks, Steelers, Eagles, and Broncos CRUSHED their Periscope game this year bringing podcasts, studio shows, press conferences and more to their fans every day.

Visual Identity – The Dolphins, Vikings, and Falcons, in my opinion, have created a stunning, consistent visual identity. The visuals are always relevant to their brand, they evoke emotion, and ultimately allow their presence on digital to feel cohesive in a way that many other teams don’t have.

Brand Voice – So many great examples, but hats off to the Browns who even with a tough season yet again were able to evoke humor and sarcasm to make the best of their season, despite the performance on the field. Eagles are a close 2nd here with outstanding interactions with fans from their account all season long and this incredible championship Tweet, reminding fans that there is indeed a human element behind these accounts.

Creative Video Content – Impossible to select just one, but the Cardinals, Panthers, Steelers, and Falcons really stood out to me this year in terms of creative, eye-popping, and new video content which not only told a story but looked good in the process.

Long story short – NFL teams as a whole crushed this year on Social and can’t wait to see what next season brings to the table!”

Follow David on Twitter here!

STN Digital

“With respect to the Panthers, Cowboys, and Cardinals, my 2017 NFL MVP of Social Media has to be the Jacksonville Jaguars. Not only did they have an engaging, memorable, turn-around season on the field, they had one on the interwebs as well.

The Jaguars have not had much to cheer about over the past few years, so when opportunity arose this year for the Jacksonville football team, the social media team capitalized on every facet of conversation – from specialized photo/video content to back-and-forth banter with fans, to sending the most viral – and vicious – NFL tweet of the year.

The Jags also did a great job of cross-promoting – not only with their adversaries on the field but with other entities across all sports. A key initiative in Social Media marketing is to garner the attention of fans who may never come across your brand, and the Jags capitalized on that. Well done, Sacksonville.”

To check out the Jacksonville Jaguars, click here: Instagram & Twitter

Follow Randall on Twitter here!

STN Digital

“My pick for the NFL’s best social media team is the Carolina Panthers. Take Valentine’s Day alone—the Panthers’ Facebook feed featured a clever “catching feelings” edit, Kyle Love answering romance questions as “Dr. Love”, a link to a gallery of Panthers fans that have gotten married & more. Their social media channels capture the heartbeat and storylines of the team but manage to consistently stay fun, fresh and relevant. There are glimpses from inside the locker room that feel authentic, clever partnerships like “Sweet Victory” with Krispy Kreme, and a nice mix of produced graphics and edits including the #MyCauseMyCleats videos. Whether it’s a player milestone or pop culture reference, the Panthers’ social team doesn’t miss a beat, covering both with creative content and a sharp voice that seems made for social.

While my pick is the Panthers, there were so many great social media teams across the NFL this past season. I also want to give a mention to the Chicago Bears for their creativity, social franchises, and well-produced video edits.”

To check out the Carolina Panthers, click here: Instagram & Twitter

Follow Tracy on Twitter here!


So, what did it take to be the best NFL team on social in 2017? The answer isn’t cut and dry, but the teams that ranked above the rest clearly had a diverse array of content and didn’t slack on the details.

After hearing from the experts, we got great insight on what made teams stand out from the pack.  It wasn’t nearly enough to master a single element.  To be a true champion, it required the full package: live content, visual elements, brand voice, the ability to stay relevant with pop culture, and above all – originality.

In 2017, the bar was set high.  Here at STN, we think there is an opportunity for several teams to rise during the 2018 season.  As we look forward, one large opportunity we see is for teams to create original episodic series for social/mobile.

With news like the Facebook algorithm continuing to shift our industry, it becomes increasingly important for organizations to find new ways of engaging with fans. In an effort to capture attention, who’s going to be the first sports team to create an original series that lives on Facebook Watch, Snapchat Discover, and/or IG Stories? The opportunity is there for a sports team to seize the day in 2018.

STN Digital is a social marketing agency and production house focused on social monetization and original content. To see more examples of how we partner with our clients emails us at info@stn.digital

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How to Monetize Your Social Media with Jordan Maleh

Every day, more and more cords are cut from traditional TV.  With OTTs (over-the-top media) like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, how has streaming impacted live sports?  

On this edition of the Business of Social podcast, we chatted with Jordan Maleh from the Big Ten Network to discuss media rights and how to monetize on social platforms in the new digital age.

Jordan has been a Marketing Manager for the New York Knicks, the Director of Digital Marketing at Michigan University and is now the Director of Digital Marketing & Communications at the Big Ten Network.

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

Here are some of the highlights:

In 2018, where is live sports going with OTT (over-the-top media)?

“As a rights holder, that’s the competitive advantage we have. We are in a great position.  Our bread and butter is live sports.  We basically became the leader in the space when we launched our app BTN2GO, the first app to ultimately produce and stream live games.”

How do you transition linear and live sports to digital and OTT, but also respect the bread and butter [selling the rights] that has got the network there in the first place?

“I think about that every day.  As a rights holder, we also own the ancillary rights. Technically, we own everything revolving and aligning with a school. So the question from our perspective is, how do we extend the window of live sports? We need better areas to sell our digital opportunities. For example, we are becoming more focused with on-campus opportunities — how can we tie in advertisers there?

The ultimate question is, how are we maximizing our rights, not only from an over-the-top perspective but from a digital and social perspective and what are sponsors interested in?”

How far are we from large corporations moving away from traditional ads like TV and more towards a digital-first approach?

“The percentage of people streaming are continuing to rise, however not to the scale of viewership in the traditional matter. But those percentages are rising and the brands understand where the consumption is taking place.

The challenge is that the space hasn’t matured enough.  Today, Nielsen can say these are households and this is what you sell against. No one has said that about digital in terms of total views, this is what you sell against, here is what a CPM is and it changes based off a scale.”

As we move into 2018, how do you begin to put together a package for digital sponsors?  How does it work?  Is it views?  Is it impressions? website visits?

“A great example is Libman, the green mop company who wipes the basketball courts at every Big Ten school across the country. They are a great client because they’re open to new ideas.

During March this past year, they were open and had a detailed plan.  From our end, we started churning ideas of not only highlights but also custom content. We attack it by a simple number of activations. So, how many pieces of custom content could we produce? That was the number we were looking at.

Libman was our first digital-only sponsor.  Last year during the basketball tournament, they had no linear opportunities, they weren’t interested.  This year they’re back. So you start to get a sense of how successful it was.”

The Facebook algorithm: do you think the change has opened space for other networks to help with more organic reach?

“My initial reaction was that content is going to be swallowed for a while.  But as you talk with sports-minded people, the leverage we have is the content and how it creates an expression or an action with people.  It’s just natural.

However, another opportunity we’ve thought about is Facebook groups.  Most people in groups are seeing group related content in their feed. We’ve been thinking about creating 14 BTN Facebook groups that live within our Facebook page.  The question then becomes, are you investing too much time into building a ‘group chat’ where you’re sharing content that you own the rights to?  And then a year from now the model changes and the algorithm opens up again.”

What are your thoughts on the Instagram algorithm and how old posts are coming back to the top of the news feed — making it difficult for real-time sports updates?  

“We’ve begun to shy away from date-specific content.  We have an advantage because we are first to market with our highlights.  But we’ve found that each highlight must be really unique for it to rise to the top.  It can’t just be your average dunk.  

We’ve tried to find a healthy mix.  We’ve tried posting more and also slowing it down, but it’s still hard to tell.  We just have to throw things against the wall or slow it down ultimately.

Again, this goes back to us as a rights holder.  How are we maximizing our rights where we don’t need to lean on the platforms themselves.  Yes, they are an outlet, they are a distribution platform but can we create content that we know will be successful no matter the algorithm and can guarantee revenue.”

David Brickley:  “The reason you hire someone like Jordan Maleh, with a background at the New York Knicks and Michigan, is because you need someone that is willing to dig into it.  Someone that is constantly tweaking and geeking out over the process, in order to make sure you’re squeezing every ounce of brand potential on the different social platforms.”

Is email still a major approach and KPI internally?

“At BTN, we are lean when it comes to CRM so I believe that’s one opportunity we have to ramp up during the next fiscal year. We have the social and digital space, leaving us room to grow when it comes to email.

We have a good understanding of who our audience is.  Right now, we are trying to skew younger.  With the younger generation, I think most people would say it’s social over email. But I’m with you, I’m an avid email fan.”

How do you talk with higher-ups in your organization, who may not be in the day-to-day,  about changes made in the industry that impact your entire department?  For instance, the Facebook algorithm and how strategies that worked today, won’t work tomorrow.

“We have a head start because our engagement tends to be more volatile anyway.  Since we are a TV network we tend to rely on big plays, but we also look at overall tonnage.

Again, we try to tie it back to revenue, which makes the conversation easier. Going back to Libman, we focus on the number of activations.  If we’re working for more reach, then that’s where we need to get into the ad model of boosting posts to try to reach a larger scale.

Our executive team has an understanding of what takes place and the ebbs-and-flows.  But for now, the algorithm means we’ll have a little bit more ad dollars coming from our end.”

What’s the number one KPI that your role is responsible for at BTN?

“When I first got to BTN it was viewership, viewership, viewership.  Then it shifted to streaming, which falls in line with downloads. So, last year, it was downloads and usage of the BTN2GO app and retaining those people.

A message that came from our president was that we are now a content company.  So the model is to get as much content out as possible while maintaining our core principles of eyeballs streaming and the overarching theme of maximizing our rights.

I foresee the next KPI as social ROI, once we are able to figure that out.”

What are your thoughts on mergers or acquisitions in terms of sudden opportunities for a social platform and audience as it moves over in the deal?

“From an outsider looking in, the question becomes what takes place with the regional and social handles?

A similar example is the SEC network under the umbrella of ESPN.  So really it’s, who is the king?  You’ll probably fall under whoever is the king.”

Who do you think is doing it right or smart on social media?

“In the sports world, the group thinking is incredible. With that said, in order to stay ahead, I believe you have to remove yourself.  Business Insider is a platform I look at, in terms of how much content they turn.  In the sports world, I tend to rely on Bleacher Report.  I marvel at how fast they turn content.

Coming from a different lens, one thing I look for is who is stealing content?  That’s important to us as a rights holder.  We understand who is stealing content and sometimes platforms make it easy.”

How do you balance wanting to increase your brand message with people stealing content?  How does that factor in?

“If it gets excessive that’s when it’s no help to our brand.

In terms of buying the rights, the overall pillar is how we maximize that.  We want to be in a position to have conversations about partnerships with people from those platforms who are interested in our content.”  

BTN is doing some cool, new things to increase television and digital viewership, can you tell us a little more about the programs you have coming?

“We’ve recently created a new campus program that we are really excited about.  We are hiring people to be ‘boots-on-the-ground’ who are both producers and editors that we call Multi-Platform Video Producer-Editors, or MVPEs.

Our goal was to have someone fresh out of college, who could be embedded within the athletic department.  The idea is that this is not a newspaper, or a blog coming from a press conference.  It’s someone within their walls, seeing the day-to-day.

After a really successful fall and winter pilot at Penn State, Minnesota and Michigan State, we hope to expand the program to 7 or 8 schools.

The next steps are to figure out the ad sales opportunities.  Now, we’re able to sell more locally.  We’re excited about the opportunity, we’re trending in the right direction, and I think this model can be carried out across all 14 schools within the next 3 to 5 years.”

And our random question for the day, can the XFL be a successful business model that actually pays off?

“I’m optimistic!  I don’t know for how long, but I’m optimistic in the entertainment.

As we talk about being a difference maker and going against the grain, I’m not going to question Vince McMahon.”


The Business of Social Podcast examines the digital advertising industry and analyzes how brands successfully increase their ad revenue and brand affinity through cutting edge content on social. In short, we talk to the experts so you’re able to keep your thumb on the pulse of the ever-changing landscape of social and digital media. (Powered By STN Digital)


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The Future of Social Media with Bryan Srabian

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He’s been called a Social Media Trailblazer and a Digital Guru.  When we first met in 2014, after only 10 minutes I knew right away… “Wow. Bryan just gets it!”

On this edition of the Business of Social podcast, we chatted with Bryan Srabian, from the San Francisco Giants, to discuss the future of social media and how the sports industry is fighting to stay one-step ahead of the curve.

Bryan Srabian is the VP of Digital Media & Brand Development at the San Francisco Giants. He also teaches a Sports Master Program (Sports and Social Media Marketing) at the University of San Francisco.

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

Here are some of the highlights:

With the shift in the Facebook algorithm, how has the organic reach dropped at the sports level?

“Organic is a challenge and I think the days of hitting your max are really gone unless you’re doing something above and beyond like winning the World Series, the College Football National Championship or something that goes viral.  We’re learning that if you have great content, it’s worth carving out a budget and trying to maximize the eyeballs.  

From a sports perspective, we are a little different than brands because our fans are actively posting and connecting with us.  The algorithm is another piece of the puzzle that will continue to change and evolve.  We just have to stay ahead or at least with the curve.”

New platforms & networks?  How do you choose whether or not to invest time and energy when it could potentially be a total loss?

“Only a few years ago people were afraid of missing out and began jumping on everything.

I think it’s a balance and you’ve got to be smart.  You have to be active on a personal level and in this day and age it’s hard to stay on all the different social networks, which is why I believe we are seeing the maturity in some of them.”

As we head into 2018, where is the untapped potential in terms of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat and where would you rank those different platforms?

“The one thing we’re not mentioning is YouTube.  We don’t really consider it a social channel, it’s more of a content channel, but our video team even brought it up at a meeting this week.  It’s a platform we haven’t really explored or use a lot, but we should continue to create content for them.

Instagram and Facebook continue to lead in terms of massive numbers and what people are on.

Twitter is vital in terms of sharing news and information in real time.  Social media professionals know how critical Twitter is, not just personally but on the professional side of things as well.

Snapchat is interesting because they’re still secretive.  We don’t know a lot about it, its smaller than Instagram but their demographic is vital to us.

We’re putting a little more money into Facebook this year, in terms of ad placement and digital spend. But we’re also looking at Twitter and Instagram for a stronger video presence.”  

How do you set a social strategy for sponsors and partnerships with the landscape changing so frequently?  

“I should emphasize we have not figured this out.  It’s a real challenge for sports teams and how you fully monetize when you’re talking about sponsors. The first step is to have good communication with your partnership team.

In general, we try to have a ‘social first’ mentality.  When a Giant fan logs on to our Instagram account and sees our post, it should be something they want to see.  If it’s a sponsored post, you must make sure it brings value, whether it’s entertainment, education, or something witty. If it’s too much of a sales offer or an off-brand marketing message, it’s not going to do as well.

Our goal is to really communicate what the partner’s vision is, what our vision is, and trying to create those branded posts that are almost seamless.”

Has HQ Trivia unlocked a new way of social engagement?

“The live aspect of it, the community aspect of it, the instantaneous of it and it’s only ten minutes, twelve minutes. I’m really excited about that whole aspect and I agree with you, I think they’ve really got something on their hands.

There is something about that appointment television because you know people are all connected to it at the same time and then there’s that conversation that happens the next day at the water cooler or on social media.

They’re doing a lot of things right that are exciting and we are hoping to take the spirit of that and integrate it into something this year.”

How much effort do you put into establishing more users on your own properties such as email subscribers, website, apps, etc.?

“Email is still a strong base for us, but not as strong as maybe five or ten years ago but still provides a good return on investment in terms of direct purchasing.  The use of push notifications and our mobile app are things that I think are big assets for sports teams.

StubHub is becoming a partner and it’s a place fans are going to on a consistent basis.  So, understanding that those partnerships also have big databases and message points as well — how can we use them to get our message out?

Our job is to continue to tell the stories and use our media outlets as a way to continue to reach our fans. It’s funny that we didn’t mention traditional media until later in this discussion, but they’re still a viable option for us.”

Outside the Giants, who do you think is doing it right or smart on social media?

“I am going to give a shout out to the Sacramento Kings who continue to do some really cutting-edge things.

They don’t have the same fan bases for example as the Warriors or the Lakers, but you look to teams like them who are really doing innovative things, some visual things, some fun things and you try to learn from them as well.”

Where do you see the MLB going in the new digital world, in terms of how people view these games and stream them live?

“It’s very critical to our success.  In-market streaming was just live last year, so for the first time, if you were Direct TV, Comcast or Xfinity the dish subscriber through NBC Sports, you could watch games via your computer, iPhone or whatever.

The MLB TV app continues to be one of the tops in terms of engagement out-of-market games.

They [the fans] might not be sitting and watching a two-and-a-half-hour game on television, but they want to see the highlights in real time or condensed after the game.  They also want to see stats and have access to the players in different ways. So, I think it’s up to Major League Baseball to continue to innovate the overall fan experience.” 

Statcast has been a huge development by Major League Baseball in the way that fans are experiencing games.

Twitch is one of those networks that is really something to watch and understand.  It’s the E-league and I’m really intrigued because video games play such a big part of the culture now.”

How have arenas changed to facilitate mobile, Wi-Fi, and social sharing and how are they continually looking to facilitate the web experience, while people are in seats watching games?

“In 2004, the Giants became the first park with Wi-Fi access, but it wasn’t until 2007 when the iPhone came out that it really became a big deal.

We’ve had to continue to build up our Wi-Fi because fans are continually taking pictures and posting on Instagram, Snapchat, Tweeting, and posting on Facebook to share their experiences. That’s really our main job is to keep up and make that experience seamless.”  

How do you balance arming your fan base with the ability to share, but also protecting the licensing rights with live streaming, is that a worry?

The live aspect isn’t much of a threat yet, just because of the perspective people are getting.  There is something cool about streaming and in fact, we encouraged it in the beginning.  I haven’t seen any instances, from my own perspective, where the league has stepped in to shut anyone down from streaming live from a game.

However, now that Wi-Fi and cameras continue to get better and stronger, you might see more of this becoming an issue but at the same time we want to engage with fans and I hope we are open to sharing these in different ways.

Rights are obviously an issue that everyone takes seriously but within the social scale, we’re trying to engage and share as much content as possible. So, as of now, it hasn’t been an issue.”

Going into 2018, how are you measuring success on social and what would you say would be the number one initiative inside that building in terms of your strategy?

For social media in general, it’s not just about reaching a certain number of followers, engagements or retweets, it’s really about helping our different departments reach their goals.  Whether that’s our partnerships, tickets, or community relations department, it’s about coming up with ways to help tell their story and maximize that on our social network.

We’re trying to be brand ambassadors for many people internally but at the same time we want to stay connected, innovative and try to stay ahead of the curve.”


The Business of Social Podcast examines the digital advertising industry and analyzes how brands successfully increase their ad revenue and brand affinity through cutting edge content on social. In short, we talk to the experts so you’re able to keep your thumb on the pulse of the ever-changing landscape of social and digital media. (Powered By STN Digital) 

Industry Leaders Weigh In On MLB's Social MVP

The Houston Astros were the 2017 champions on the field, but what MLB team won the World Series of social media coverage?

STN Digital, a sports and entertainment agency out of San Diego, reached out to our trusted industry experts to get their take. The question was simple, “Who do you think was the best MLB team on social media in 2017?”

My vote for the social media MVP for 2017 goes to the Chicago Cubs. After a whirlwind season in 2016 that saw them hoisting the World Series Trophy, the Cubs came back for the 2017 season with an even stronger brand voice. They embraced the winning mentality of the club but never lost sight of what brought them success in the first place – a fun, good-humored tone and lots of amazing gifs.

Additionally, no one understands that social is a two-way street better than the Cubs. Whether they are engaging with followers on a one-to-one basis or hosting a #CubsSocial Media Night, they never fail to make their fans feel like they are a part of the team. Whether it is a look into the personal life or a player or an epic celebration, the Cubs consistently showcase content that brings you right into the action.

Tough to give the @Yankees yet another trophy, but I would give them both MVP and Most Improved Player. In what has been historically a very corporate account, they’ve made a number of improvements (including the Jessica Smith hire).

They played into pop culture more like with this Game of Thrones Tweet, they embraced viral content, they are much more conversational and not afraid to quote tweet opposing players or roast their archrivals.

Overall their voice has improved quite a bit and they aren’t opposed to speaking the language of the internet. Best of all, they still know their the Yankees and aren’t afraid to flex on the rest of MLB.

This is tough, but with respect to the Braves, Rockies, Cubs and Mariners, I think the Indians take the cake here. I’m a big fan of social and brand voice, and I think Cleveland’s plays really well across their channels.

On Facebook they focus on quality over quantity, posting only what they know their fans will engage with and not extra clutter. The informal “voice of a fan” really comes across on Twitter, where they playfully mix GIFs, videos and photos while staying on top of and participating in trending topics.

Plus, they get the fans involved, which is important. Fans want to feel like they’re being listened to, and you can tell based on their engagement numbers that the Indians do this masterfully. Their Instagram account is free of promotional material and instead focuses on photo quality on a platform that prioritizes visuals over text.

As a White Sox fan it pains me to say the Cubs make a great case for being the #1 MLB team on social media. While there’s a ton of great competition from teams like the Astros and the Dodgers (I love a good Gatorade drenching) when it comes to compelling visuals, the Cubs hit it out of the park when it comes to fan engagement. They’ve built interactive communities with their fans via their social channels.

From personalized 1:1 replies, to retweeting run-of-the-mill fan tweets to fan-centered video pieces, their fans are always part of their story. The Cubs content and quick-witted personality stands out as well but they truly put the “social” in social media by keeping their fans at the top of their lineup.

This may be slightly anticlimactic, but I’m going to award the best MLB social media team to the best team on the field this past season—the Houston Astros.

The Astros’ social team did a nice job of mixing mediums and keeping the look and feel of the content fresh, while staying true to the team’s identity. I appreciated the strong alignment of their “Earn It” campaign (and corresponding #EarnHistory and #Earned hashtags and catchphrases) as the anchor of their voice. These phrases were consistently included in the polished, timely creative content and graphics. On the field, the team had this contagious enthusiasm and chemistry, which made the group so much fun to watch. This translated into immersive social media coverage that did a great job capturing the dynamic of the team and personalities of the players. It was also nice to see the team on and off the field incorporate #HoustonStrong into their messaging to support the city after tragic flooding.

While it is definitely an advantage to produce content for a championship contending club, I thought the Astros’ social maximized a very special season.

It’s not easy to select just one MLB team as the best in social, several clubs do an outstanding job of sharing creative content, interacting with fans and investing properly in the platforms in an engagement-focused, rather than a sales focused way.

The Indians and Phillies do a tremendous job weaving humor into their Twitter copy while cultivating a unique voice and responding to fans. The Dodgers have a great approach on Instagram, they innovate while establishing a strong visual identity. The Yankees are just awesome (I’m biased). The Cubs have the right balance of strong copy and powerful visual assets that highlight the past and present. The Astros are known for compelling and innovative visuals, they go the extra mile to make things look good. The list could go on.

One team deserves special recognition: The Colorado Rockies.

Social is about speaking with your audience, not at them. Nobody does this better (in pro sports) than the Rockies. The organization clearly prioritizes fan interaction. From Twitter polls to decide on header images to the sheer response rate, the Rockies get it. They build content around fan interaction. They understand that the fan is the most important part of the team and that social should be used to strengthen the relationship between brand and fan AND serving as a catalyst for community development.

It’s not just about Twitter engagement, however. The Rockies understand the importance of capitalizing on exciting moments in real-time, given how quickly they are able to post relevant photos to social during games.

The Rockies have developed a recognizable voice. They know when to use humor and when to highlight the drama and intensity of the game. They don’t hide after losses. They are not scared to take risks on trying something new (like only tweeting emoji during a game). They provide behind the scenes looks. They humanize their players and their brand. Most importantly, they make the fans feel loved. That will always be the most important thing. If you can make fan engagement your brand on social, you’ve done it right.


So what does it take to be the best MLB team on social in 2017? The answer: it’s subjective, sort of.

While the answers from our experts varied, their explanations stayed fairly consistent. To be considered elite, it’s important to focus on the brand’s voice, 1:1 engagements, a vast gif library, the ability to stay relevant with pop culture, appropriate use of sponsored content, and campaign-based content all have a significant impact on how the rest of the industry evaluates you.

As we look forward to the 2018 season, we at STN Digital think a large opportunity for teams will be original episodic series for social/mobile.

Who’s going to be the first sports team to create an original series that lives on Facebook Watch, Snapchat Discover, and/or IG Stories? The opportunity is there for a sports team to seize the day in 2018.

ESPN has dedicated a team to produce two “SportsCenter” shows per day on Snapchat Shows. Brands as large as the Yankees, Lakers, or Dallas Cowboys have the same right as ESPN to produce exclusive original content for their fanbase.

STN Digital is a social marketing agency and production house, focused on social monetization and original content. To see more examples of how we partner with our clients click here.

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How Brands Can Capitalize on Influencers with Ashley Iaconetti

The world of influencer marketing has become part of our everyday lives, with celebrities and micro influencers nudging us to buy products they love and actually use. Brands are able to tap into new audiences through influencers and can increase brand awareness, leading them to impactful results.

However, often times brands are so focused on getting their product in the hands of influencers that they lose sight of what determines success (or ROI) with their influencer campaigns.

On this edition of the Business of Social podcast, we chatted with Ashley Iaconetti (from The Bachelor) to discuss how brands can be successful with their influencer marketing strategy, what platforms work and more.

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

Here are some of the highlights:

On what brands do wrong when working with influencers:
One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to different brands, is when they want things so specifically tailored to their message and I’m like, “That’s great, it looks fine but it’s not going to get my audience’s attention.”

I know they want it to look pretty and be very PR friendly, as if its an ad in a magazine. But that ad in a magazine is different because I have a very specific following and I understand my audience so well at this point, that they’re just going to swipe right by [your PR friendly post].

For example, I just worked with a vitamin brand a couple weeks ago and they wanted [to control the entire message and copy]. My point to them was, “You are going to waste your money on this, so let me add a little bit of my own personality to it.”

On her main advice she would give brands on working with influencers:
If you’re a brand out there and you’re working with influencers, I would suggest you allow them as much creative freedom as possible, because those are the posts that you’re going to get the most engagement on.

Think a little out of the box and let the person’s personality shine through because those are the ads that are going to do the best. I had a Beyoncé recreation ad that I did, and the amount of likes that I got on that picture are the equivalent of the amount of likes that I would get on a post when I was fresh off The Bachelor. It was that kind of attention that that post got and not only that, it translated so much into sales.

On how her Snapchat engagement fell after Instagram Stories was released
I don’t know how many followers I had on Snapchat, but I was averaging 70,000 views per snap. This was before Instagram Stories even existed and then as soon as Instagram Stories came out, my views went down 40,000. So, I was like, “Hmm. I’m not going to use Snapchat anymore.

On what social platform gets the most engagement
It’s got to be Instagram. I don’t understand Snapchat. As someone in their upper twenties, I never really got fully entrenched in Snapchat. There was maybe a year there where I was using it regularly, but I think all the traction is on Instagram.

The way that they have it set up, so that you can tag to go to another profile and then you can swipe up to even listen to something or visit the website. I know that Snapchat just integrated the new website link, which… thank goodness because if not, I found it to be honestly pointless in like half the things that I promote.

I stopped [using Snapchat] once Instagram Stories was released, and I started using the swipe up, I basically, abandoned Snapchat. I’m not going to just type in a long URL on top of a Snapchat picture.

On her thoughts on Facebook
On the topic of Facebook, I am confused why brands request a multiplatform contract, where I need to do a Instagram Story, Snapchat story, a Instagram post, and then a Facebook LIVE.

I’m like, “Facebook Live? really?” I never use Facebook anymore. I’ll post if I want my friends and family and my parents and their friends to see something, but I just don’t think it’s a millennial platform anymore.
My biggest fear is that Instagram does too much and that Instagram will end up turning into their parent company (Facebook).

On how branded content affects her personally:
If I were a fan, I believe that I would probably be more affected by podcast ads. We’re just able to put a lot more detail in there and you can hear the excitement in our voice. I think you could honestly tell when Ben and I are excited over a company.

For example, we love MeUndies, it is my favorite underwear, we also love Omaha Steaks and I feel like that really comes through when we are discussing it (genuinely) together. I think there’s something about the (natural) discussion of the product as well. So, I think those are the strongest ones in my opinion.

On the first brand she ever worked with as an influencer and how much they paid:
Okay, this is insane. I had like 75,000 followers, just coming off my season of The Bachelor and I was asked to do a promotion for Hulu and I got paid $500 to do it and it was just a picture of me watching a show on my computer screen and I was like: “You are going to pay me $500 to put a picture on my Instagram?” It was the coolest thing.

Listen to the full interview on The Business Of Social podcast here:

The Business of Social Podcast examines the digital advertising industry and analyzes how brands successfully increase their ad revenue and brand affinity through cutting edge content on social. In short, we talk to the experts so you’re able to keep your thumb on the pulse of the ever changing landscape of social and digital media. (Powered By STN Digital)