Phoenix Suns and Twitter

The Phoenix Suns are one of the most proactive teams when it comes to using Twitter in creative ways.  Here are some  highlights of what they’ve done so far:

  • They have multiple staff members all using Twitter, which allows them to be very interactive with fans and give their accounts distinct personalities while still promoting the team.  You can view a complete list of their staff Twitter accounts here on Suns.com.
  • They have three players also using Twitter – @the_real_shaq, @the_real_nash, and @jrich23, and Shaq is arguably the most popular user on Twitter today.
  • Recently when Shaq was out at a mall, he tweeted that the next person to come up to him and mention his “tweet” would receive free tickets to a  game.  They’ve also had Twitter trivia contests on the main Suns twitter account (@PhoenixSuns) to give away free tickets.
  • They hosted a Tweet-up, where people following the Suns Twitter accounts were able to buy discounted group tickets and get access to a very unique Suns experience.  Check out this video about the event:

 

  • They just celebrated Shaq Day – a virtual birthday for Shaq, where they encouraged other Twitter users to create Happy Birthday videos for Shaq and share the links on Twitter.  Each tweet was marked with the tag “#shaqday” so that people could easily find them.  You can watch the video that spawned the contest here, and one winner was chosen by Shaq himself to win a special prize.  We don’t know the prize yet, but I bet that it will get a lot of follow-up exposure on Twitter.  You can see all of the participation in this virtual event by going to search.twitter.comand searching for #shaqday.
  • Yesterday during the Suns/Spurs game, they participated in a “virtual chant challenge” between themselves and the San Antonio Spurs Twitter account (@SpursDotCom). Followers of the two teams were encouraged to tweet about the game and include either “#GoSuns” or “#GoSpursGo” in their messages, while the official accounts kept track of the number of chants. I believe the Spurs technically won the contest, but both sides won by generating fan conversation about their teams.

Most teams are still trying to figure out the best way to use Twitter, and the Suns are definitely leading the way.  Their ideas might not work for all teams, but their work should help teams come up with their own creative ways to reach their fans through Twitter and social media in general.

7 thoughts on “Phoenix Suns and Twitter

  • March 9, 2009 at 11:24 am
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    Any idea what Shaq is getting from the Suns for doing this? I think that compensation/a sense of commitment to the team would be the #1 road block from other teams doing something similar. With players having their own websites/blogs, they need an incentive for doing it through the team. Not that they necessarily should need an incentive, but that is generally how things are in the sports world.

  • March 9, 2009 at 11:59 am
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    Ryan makes some good points. In my experience working with professional athletes it isn’t difficult to get a player to agree to things like this, but getting them to follow through is an entire different story.

    You definitely need to create buy-in and find a creative way to show them the results/incentive.

  • March 9, 2009 at 12:34 pm
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    The Suns are really lucky to have a person like Shaq availabile for this. He isn’t doing this just because the team asked him to – he LOVES being able to interact directly with the fans. He always has, all throughout his career.

    You can see the differences in personality in how athletes use Twitter. Steve Nash has started using it, but he’s never going to engage people as often as Shaq will.

    The athlete definitely needs to realize that this goes well beyond the request of a team. This is about their own public image and a unique opportunity to interact with their fans in a way that still offers distance (its only through the web) and control (they can write about what they way, respond when they want, etc.).

  • March 10, 2009 at 9:30 pm
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    The key thing is that these efforts and more can EASILY be done by other teams. In today’s economy, they should be doing anything and everything they can to generate extra publicity and really connect with fans. It’s not a magic-bullet/cure for all ills but it does work for building relationships.

    It’s also important to realize that Twitter is only one piece of the puzzle. There’s probably an equal or greater opportunity to bring together fans and influencers who write blogs, discuss team news on message boards, etc.

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  • May 6, 2010 at 5:12 am
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    If the Los Suns were wearing their uniforms to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, I would be all for it.

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