Three Predictions for Sports Digital Media in 2019

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Global social media usage rose once again in 2018 by 13 percent. Given that 61 percent of sports viewers follow sports accounts on social media, platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are only going to continue to be a major part of the marketing strategy for sports teams, brands, and media outlets in 2019.

The real question is, how?

To get a better understanding of some possible answers to this question, professionals from around the space offered their thoughts on what’s in store for social media in the new year. 

More organizations will adopt the “less is more” approach

There was a time when organizations liked to toss large amounts and different types of content at the wall to see what would stick. That period has gradually been phased out over the last several years. Many brands will now simply put more attention to detail into a smaller quantity of content that better represents their brand guidelines, creative vision, and what their fans really want to see.

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“My main prediction for 2019 is that we’ll begin to see less, but higher-quality content,” said Courtney Kramer, social media manager for the Alliance of American Football’s Birmingham Iron. “I think we’ve already begun to see it, but no longer will fans interact with every piece you put out; they’ll pick and choose, and if you leave them with less, but more meaningful pieces to choose from, it will provoke them to want to interact with them.”

Marketing departments will utilize a better understanding of social media workflow

In a similar vein, organizations understand the impact of social media better than ever in 2019.

Because of this, creators and companies will continue to dedicate resources to making their social content better and more engaging to attract more fans. In addition, this ends up making it easier on creators after a year where burnout was a major topic of conversation in the #SMSports community.

“More and more resources are going to continue to be put to social media content creation,” said Gilbert Chavarria, art director at Team Infographics. “That means a lot of creative folks out there are going to be crazy-busy putting out an ever-increasing amount of content.

“I think those that work smarter and more efficiently as they balance creativity and output will become more and more valuable to teams and brands. Social media these days is a long game. Teams that build for that will see the most returns from their social efforts in the long run.”

Tweaks for stories will continue

The live/chronological updates that stories now enable creators to give fans have proven invaluable with many different platforms imitating the style that Snapchat made popular.

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However, as evidenced by Snapchat’s declining user base and the generally negative reaction any time Instagram makes a change to the UI, there are some tweaks to be made. Expect both social platforms to continue to make changes to the feature in 2019 and creators to change their strategy along with it.

“The “story” platform is going to continue to evolve, especially now that we’ve seen YouTube jump into the fray,” said Jeff O’Keefe, senior manager with Golin for Toyota Racing. “Additionally, creators must continue to come up with content specifically built for the platform.”