Do Creative Hashtags Earn More Engagement?

Imagine having the task of choosing your organization’s main hashtag to be used on all promotional materials. Sounds pretty easy, right?

An article by Sports Blog Nation ranked all of the NFL team’s new Twitter hashtags that are all-purpose, representations of each team. Twitter has deemed these the official team hashtags by adding an emoji of the appropriate team’s logo whenever their tag is used. Although the article ranks each in creativity, by using Social Mention, a media monitoring platform, we’ll really see if innovation in hashtag creation effects engagement and reach.

#RiseUp – Ranked one of the highest in SBNation’s article, the Atlanta Falcons hashtag has been the team’s slogan since 2010. It receives an immensely positive sentiment of 11:0, however only has a reach of 10 percent and strength of 7 percent. The team’s official Twitter account doesn’t consistently use the hashtag and focuses more on short term campaign hashtags. Since this is the team’s long-lasting slogan, it isn’t the most popular among social media, but is regularly used by loyal fans.

#FlyEaglesFly – Although there are outside influences that can cause these hashtags to fluctuate in popularity, the Philadelphia Eagles hashtag currently has a strength of 100 percent, meaning the team is definitely being talked about across social media. It’s sentiment is 16:1, greatly more positive than negative, and has a reach of 65 percent. It has a passion of 35 percent, meaning more people are likely to talk about it more than once. This hashtag is both creative yet identifiable as to which team is belongs to, which can make all the difference. Fans and non fans alike are likely to use the tag, giving it a much higher ranking when it comes to exposure.

#Chargers – These basic hashtags are categorized under mundane yet identifiable – boring, but straight to the point. Almost every NFL team has a hashtag like this, however, it stands as some teams’ official tag on Twitter. It’s easy-to-use when spreading news about teams instead of using their witty, fun and sometimes long slogan hashtags. The Los Angeles Chargers hashtag receives 100 percent strength, a 2:1 sentiment, 40 percent reach and 79 percent passion. This basically means that most uses of the tag are neutral and are somewhat equal when swaying positive or negative. The team’s recent relocation is definitely getting it some attention with its strong passion and strength, however even similar hashtags receive the same awareness. #Chiefs (Kansas City Chiefs) also has 100 percent strength and 124 percent reach, also likely due to the tags simple nature.

So, to answer the age-old question: Does Twitter hashtag-naming creativity effect engagement? Through this investigation, it doesn’t seem like it – the simpler, the better. Something that’s recognizable and short receives far more engagement than the slogan-like tags that seem to only be used by fans of those teams. Even if the hashtags sentiment sways closer to neutral, simpler tags greatly receive more exposure.

Social Media Audit: NBA Players

Following professional athletes on social media can be quite the experience. It provides the opportunity for fans to get a closer look at their favorite players’ personalities, day-to-day lives and even political views. There are many players in the NBA that use Twitter to connect with fans and Joel Embiid, Damian Lillard and Chandler Parsons are ones who stand out on the site.

The NBA recently released a memo cautioning official team accounts from “mocking and/or ridiculing” other players and teams in order to prevent social media feuds. This statement was released after Parsons and C.J. McCollum got into an argument on Twitter.

Will this stifle players from being active on the site or will they continue to entertain fans both on and off the court? We’ll have to wait and see, but I, for one, hope the Twitter antics never stop.

Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid): Philadelphia 76ers

Followers: +612K

Ask any NBA fan who they enjoy following the most on Twitter and Embiid is sure to be their top choice. The 76ers center uses his account to push the team motto to #TrustTheProcess and shows that he’s like any other sports fan when he sends out tweets during NFL and other NBA games. Give his account a look and I’m sure you’ll become a fan of “The Process” yourself.


Joel Embiid on Twitter

Wow I’m sorry but this is rigged…. Atlanta didn’t burn the clock down, didn’t run the ball at all. #Rigged


Joel Embiid on Twitter

We’ve had a fun ride ha.. This is the last day to vote so RETWEET this for the culture Joel Embiid #NBAVote


Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard): Portland Trail Blazers

Followers: +1.21M

Lillard has the largest following of the three with over one million people tuned into his tweets daily. This is because he’s hilarious and isn’t afraid to respond to the trolls who constantly message him. His ability to joke around makes him more personable and scrolling through his tweets is sure to provide some laughs.


Damian Lillard on Twitter

Did you know I’m talking about a documentary on him?


Damian Lillard on Twitter

What do you stick to?


Chandler Parsons (@ChandlerParsons): Memphis Grizzlies

Followers: +297K


This list wouldn’t be complete without Parsons–the catalyst to the NBA’s cautionary statement. It all started when the Trail Blazers joked and tweeted out a gif of Parsons missing a 3-pointer during a game. Parsons didn’t let that one go and replied telling them “Good luck in the lottery show this year,” implying that the team’s losing record would have them trying for a high draft pick rather than a playoff spot. Both parties seemed intent on keeping the light banter but the NBA’s response shows that they’re worried about these conversations getting out of hand.


Parsons uses his account to answer fan questions and laugh at jokes about himself and I’m sure he’ll continue to do so.


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Written by Gabriella Miller

Traditional vs. “No Ad” Sports Campaigns

LA Kings Jersey

Anniversary campaigns are a significant part of an organization’s growth and success, especially in professional sports. Anniversaries are a milestone that symbolize a time of achievement, seniority in a league, and, let’s face it, a really good time to celebrate.

Usually, sports organizations go the traditional route – a new color or design added to jerseys, an updated anniversary logo, extra fan events and the years-in-existence plastered all over the home stadium. But is this strategy reaching social security status, aka, is it getting kind of old?

Two National Hockey League (NHL) teams provide great examples. The Los Angeles Kings are beginning their 50th anniversary campaign. Updated, redesigned and highly-priced jerseys have been released, a new logo has been unveiled, an opening night ceremony has been planned, and the hashtag #LAKings50 is in full use on their social media accounts.

LA Kings Jersey

However, the Arizona Coyotes have a different strategy as they approach their 20th anniversary: it’s what the Phoenix Business Journal likes to call a “no ad campaign.” The Coyotes released this letter on their Twitter and Facebook pages, apologizing for their past campaigns and announcing they’d be eliminating the use of “cheesy” slogans. Instead, “Coyotes 2.0” wants their advertisements and overall marketing strategy to be player-focused. They are pushing towards a “show, not tell” approach by explaining that they don’t want to just say it’s “Hockey the Hard Way,” they’re going to show you.

“Maybe it’s because of the 20 years or the work we’ve done over the last three years, but we feel like it’s time to let the team do the talking,” said Arizona Coyotes’ CEO and team president Anthony LeBlanc.


Both the Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes are motivated by their team’s performance to produce their anniversary campaigns. For example, the Los Angeles Kings have won two Stanley Cups in the last six years and were in the playoffs last season. Their traditional, sales-focused campaign seems appropriate considering their current status in the league.

The Arizona Coyotes haven’t made the playoffs since 2010. For the Coyotes, there’s not much to lose, therefore anything to change up their current marketing and promotional strategies can potentially be beneficial.

The Coyotes “no campaign” campaign strategy doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after some explaining — but the real question is if it will work. And from their model, time will only tell as the season progresses towards playoffs next year.

Written by Ashley Ingber, Assistant Account Executive

5 steps to improve your live tweeting of sporting events

One thing I really enjoyed while working on the newspaper at Chico State, The Orion, was live tweeting sporting events.  It’s unfortunate I no longer have the opportunity to live tweet sporting events for the Orion because it was one of the most fun and interactive experiences about reporting on sports. It gave me a chance to interact with my followers and really show my talent as a live tweeting sports journalist.

I now find myself at sporting events wanting to tweet out the score of the game, or take a photo and tag @theorion_sports even though I am no longer a part of the organization. I several times got best “breaking news reporting” for my weekend sports tweets and coverage when I was on The Orion. This is an honor given out to someone who has gone above and beyond with their best breaking news reporting efforts for that week. That honor was something I cherished and was proud of.

Here are some tips I find useful for live tweeting at sporting events.

Tip No. 1: Introduce yourself as the live tweeting correspondent for the event.

I have seen it too many times, journalists don’t introduce themselves through Twitter saying that they will be covering the game. It is necessary to do this so your followers on Twitter will know that you are covering the event and will be providing updates throughout the game. It is also good to tag your news source that you work for to show you’re a reputable reporter.

Tip No. 2: Tag the athletes or relevant people/organizations in your tweets if possible.

Athletes and notable people may enjoy and are likely to retweet them after the event. Many, if not all, college teams have social media accounts, which can help you connect with or follow the team and the players on it. This means that your tweet could be seen beyond your followers.

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Tip No. 3: Try to include everything relevant to the event in your tweets.

The key word here is “try”. Trying to fit all the information into 140 characters can be a tough task, so before you send out your tweet, review it. Make sure all the information you have in there would be relevant to others reading the tweet. If you can’t fit it all in one tweet, write out “1/2” at the beginning of your tweet and on the second one put “2/2”. This will ensure you are providing all the relevant information to your followers. Also think about what your followers are looking for: the score of the game, who is playing well and how much time is left.

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Tip No. 4: Post photos in your tweets.

Give life to your tweets by posting photos while reporting on the game. This can give those on Twitter a great image of what you’re tweeting about. Although it can be tough to do in the midst of a game, it is always nice to give an image of what you are covering.

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Tip No. 5: Don’t forget to tweet out the final story.

This is the key to getting your story read by as many people as possible.Post a tweet at the end of the game announcing the score and say that you will have a story up in a little while. Once the story is written, post the link and encourage your Twitter followers to go read it. Usually your organization will tweet the link of the story, which you as a journalist should retweet or tweet yourself.


By Chance Keenan, account executive

Can’t We All Just Get Along? – Respectful Competition

As an Oakland Raiders (and Athletics) fan, I know what it’s like to be disappointed. I love my team, but let’s admit it, we’ve had some rough seasons. What makes it even worse is friends getting in your face about it.

I’ve found myself rooting against teams just because my friends (that are clearly against my team) are wearing their jersey. Well, it’s time to step up and say, “I’m tired of it!” Can’t we all just get along and like our own teams in peace?

It’s always fun to support your team, but what about your friends?

Here are some tips on how to be competitive in a respectful way:

1. Don’t get in anyone’s face. It’s always fun when your team has scored, is winning, etc., but respectfully cheer for your team and don’t say anything bad about the other.

2. Walk away if something bad happens in the game that you are going to overreact about. No one plays a perfect game every time, so get up, take a deep breath and relax.

3. Don’t hate just because your friend is. It isn’t always a good idea to follow the crowd. Have your own opinion and don’t put anyone down just for the sake of putting them down.

4. After a win, don’t post on social media about how another team lost. Support your team and be a true fan!

No one likes to be put down for something they can’t control. So remember, keep calm, and be respectful. All that being said… Let’s go Oakland!

For a deeper understanding on why people are so competitive visit this Psychology Today article or to learn more about competitive friends read this CBS article.

sports team rivalry
A little team rivalry between friends. Photo credit: Catriona Lund

Pass the Ball to Women

The sports industry has typically been a male-dominated field. Large amounts of time are devoted to showcasing men’s athleticism on SportsCenter each night and men typically hold coaching positions and jobs within sports media.

This trend may be due to the characteristics associated with sports, which are also equated to men: tough, rough and strong. It’s natural that they would be sought for their opinions and expertise.

Women also played a prominent role in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and they are paving the way for the rest of us.

I would love to incorporate my love of sports into a future career in public relations. If that career happens to take me to the San Francisco Giants then I certainly won’t complain. After all, there is no better place to be than AT&T Park with the beautiful view of the Bay, Gilroy Garlic Fries and Ghirardelli hot chocolate to combat the ocean breeze.

Enjoying a Giants game with my dad and brother, Joe.


However, positive changes within the sports industry in the last decade have given women a more prominent role within this exciting field. Media personalities such as Erin Andrews of FOX Sports and Anne Killion of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area prove that women can be just as knowledgeable about sports as men.

Growing up I played a variety of sports like soccer, softball, volleyball, competitive cheer-leading (yes, cheer-leading is a sport) and basketball.  Even though I did not continue my athletic career into college, my love of sports has not waned.

With the importance of public relations in today’s social media-obsessed climate, many professional sports teams are utilizing individuals in this field to promote their players and organization.

Why shouldn’t some of these experts be women?

Leading the Horse to an Empty Lake

Is “Student Athlete” the correct label, anymore?

By Joelle Cabasa, Photographer/Videographer

Fact: Student athletes fulfill their manifest destiny… as pull-cart mules.

Europe in the Georgian era (1700s – 1800s) is today’s college sports.  Before the calmer times of the Victorian era, Europe’s colonialism was rampant across Asian countries.

Colonialism, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “control by one power over a dependent area or people.”

Corralled into a pool of “opportunity,” student athletes lose their right in the recruitment process under the long-lost ideas of fair market value.  Instead, they are given scholarships based almost entirely on their athletic performance, while millions of dollars are raked in by the athletic department.  

Pretty low-key issue, right?

Remember Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley?  You heard right — he and his coaching staff are awaiting a $9 million severance paycheck, even though there was still four years left on his contract and incoming athletic support was projected to be about $15 million.  

These big financial investments subsidize the coaches outrageous salary or contracts to boost the success of their sports program.  

Is this remotely fair?

Present day student athletes are exploited from the moment they commit to the sports program.  Expectations include, but are not limited to, good academic standing, individual athletic performance, exorbitant time commitment, noble character and accurate representation of university standards, as well as a willingness to maintain emotional and mental stability for the sake of program success.

Not too much to ask, right?

With so much at stake, a closer look at recent events is necessary to understand the huge investment these students make just to receive a decent education.  The time commitment required by student athletes can make them vulnerable. So, should these individuals be called “athletic students,” instead?  

Titles and responsibilities are skewed, money is passing through everyone except the “performer,” and it is the student athlete who is receiving the least protection.

The scuffle between a head coach and his player at Morehead State was a great example of the inconsistent, inverse relationship that raises so much discussion with the media and nationwide university officials. View the quick clip here.

Is this just the progression of an entertainment-driven society?  Or is it truly for the love of the game?

All of the above could be true, but we can recognize as a society that we might be pushing these student athletes too far just for the sake of selfish entertainment.  

How about fair treatment now?