With primetime live games, fantasy, scores, stats, original branded content, immersive experiences and 60 million monthly uniques, Yahoo Sports is shaping the future of sports and fandom on mobile.
In 2019, Yahoo Sports re-imagined its social media strategy aimed at growing reach and awareness for the brand and its offerings, particularly on Instagram and Twitter. To grow reach, Yahoo Sports needed to be visible and relevant to new verticals of fans while still maintaining a deep relationship with existing, die-hard sports fan users.
We approached our social strategy with two objectives in mind 1) broaden our audience and 2) maintain our existing audience. Yahoo Sports saw an opportunity to utilize an authentic voice and reach a world of people who are interested in and connected to sports culture, outside of just die-hard sports fans.
The go-forward strategy combined classic sports information with a new style of creativity and voices in order to optimize and balance our content strategy. As such, the strategy was dependent on our investment in the goal – we hired a new team of creative, social media professionals to move us forward. We tasked this team with infusing the overall ethos of Yahoo Sports throughout their efforts – to be fan-first in everything we do, from the talent behind our original shows like “Fantasy Football Live” to the way we speak to fans on social. We’ve also made strides in video content made specifically for our audience on social, like The Fantasy Football Survival Kit on Yahoo Sports Fantasy Twitter, Dunk Bait on our Yahoo Sports NBA Twitter, and Breaking It Down on our Yahoo Sports main handles. These shows and segments also highlight our internal Yahoo Sports personalities/experts for an authentic and credible voice.
To maintain our existing audience, we continued to infuse our classic sports data, stack graphics and quote graphics – and added new lifestyle angles within 25% of our content that leveraged Yahoo Sports voices and major moments in pop culture that intersect with sports. Given the nature of social media and sports, we knew that fans want to learn about their favorite players as people and connect with that lifestyle-focused content. With that in mind, we enticed fans on social media with a mix of unique and quirky content like memes, pop culture references, and immersive experiences. This helped to create content targeting angles that interests fans.
A great example of how our new approach to social media worked was with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. We created an Instagram story where users could feed Mahomes ketchup (a condiment he’s known for loving) by clicking through our Instagram story experience. Another example involves a video Yahoo Sports filmed of athletes wishing New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a happy birthday. The content in the video touched on Brady’s life outside of football and got the attention of Brady himself, among many others.
We also created a new social media series called “Rate This Fit” in which we showcase the often-attention-grabbing outfits players are wearing off the field or court – typically NBA players. The Instagram story asks users to rate the player’s style choices. One additional example is our “Who Wore It Best” series, in which we compare a player in their outfit to an inanimate object or another player with a poll.
These creative and engaging pieces of content have really resonated with audiences, providing new ways for sports fans to discover, follow and engage with Yahoo Sports.
Engagement, reach, and overall impressions have skyrocketed since we began to pivot our strategy:
Yahoo Sports Instagram grew 53% in 2019, as opposed to 10% in 2018.
Yahoo Sports Instagram had a total of 37.8M views in 2019, which is a 606% increase YoY.
Yahoo Sports Twitter handles grew 23.7% across active handles and Twitter engagement increased by 73% YoY on our main Yahoo Sports handle.
Social media plays a unique role in the sports industry overall. We’ve gone from reporting news and stats via our social channels to being a fun, trusted and interactive voice for fans to engage with on a deeper and fully relatable level. Our approach to connecting with fans on social media has helped to not only transform our channels but also to establish new and longer-term ways to bring fans into our funnel and roster of Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Fantasy offerings.