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Tweets, Life, and Dimes
By Josh Egel


Lakers Twitter Logo“Being excited after getting the #1 draft pick in the 2007 NBA Draft”

  • @trailblazers (28 May 2007)

“I am getting ready to watch tonight’s Kings at Celtics game!”

  • @SacramentoKings (19 Jan 2007)

“A little late, but is now Twittering!”

  • @PelicansNBA (17 Mar 2009)

As you can see from these tweets, at the beginning everyone is a rookie. The NBA has learned quite a bit about social media since apps started running our phones and tablets, but what to really look for in any NBA organization’s tweet, further than any of these epic fails, is the letter “I.”

“I” is the most personal letter in the alphabet because it is authentic, it means “you,” and it is human. Organizations rise and fall in their relentless pursuit of mastering the use of “I” in social media. Since 2007, the NBA has gone from being a rookie at using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to being one of the world’s best. At the Golden State Warriors’ Tweedia Day this became all too apparent when questions about social media were directed at 3rd year standout Harrison Barnes.

“Is tweeting going to be a future role you’ll have with the team?” a reporter asked.

He shrugged it off a little and admitted that although he uses social media, he’d rather focus on winning. The NBA revealed its genius here. Barnes doesn’t have to tweet under a hashtag for the Warriors or the NBA, all he has to do is be himself, tweet what he thinks, feels, and sees and he will indirectly promote the brand of the NBA without even referencing it because thousands of fans follow him because they want to interact with their favorite players.

The NBA has jumped over the hurdle of sounding like the Blazers in 2007, before they drafted Greg Oden at no. 1 over Kevin Durant. They avoided using “I” in an account that represents 30 teams, over 450 players, and thousands of employees by letting all of these people tweet for them using “I” without paying them an extra cent. That’s thousands of authentic and engaging I’s representing the NBA and with the power of each team’s set of unique hashtags, fans from across the globe can promote the league too.

This innovative practice of scalability and relationship building is the hallmark for anyone or any group to succeed financially.

*Scalability is defined as the ability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work in a capable manner or its ability to be enlarged to accommodate that growth. To make $1,000,000 this is required because very seldom does one person make that amount of money alone.

Think of it like this: a musician pays a manager, a marketing expert, sound engineers, producers and promoters to market him/her as an artist and a business to the rest of the world so more people will buy their brand. In this case, the NBA hires marketing experts, people to manage its teams, airlines to fly staff and players to cities across the globe all to expand its brand and make as much profit as possible. For this to work, people have to demand it and most importantly, like you.

Curry TweetingIn the 1970’s the NBA competed with the ABA to be the global stable for professional basketball. The NBA’s presentation, its quality of players, and overall excitement separated it from the ABA. It used relationship building by providing what its fans wanted and it used scalability by creating more teams in more cities and hiring more people to expand the brand. This was expensive, but in time it returned more money than it cost to create these teams. In 1976 the ABA merged with the NBA, ultimately paying off this expansion even further by absorbing more teams and more markets (or cities).

Fast-forward 30 years to now. Every decade something has revolutionized the way organizations build relationships with their audiences as they grow. There was radio, TV, cable TV, the Internet and now social media.

Yesterday someone tweeted a question to the Warriors.

“Can Steph Curry throw a football as well as he can shoot a basketball?”

Curry responded immediately: “No, I could be a quarterback but for the Warriors and Team USA, I’m here to play basketball.”

Ten years ago you would’ve had to email the Warriors to ask Jason Richardson that question at least one day in advance and a team of assistants would’ve had to sift through thousands of messages. Now that power is instantly at your fingertips and a broadcaster can open up a Twitter app and randomly select one question from a feed and send a reply in seconds. This is growth, this is power but it’s also free. Welcome to growing your business in the 21st century.




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