If you’re a long-distance Rockies fan like I am – greetings from rural Wyoming! – you rely on social media to help you keep up with the team and to connect with other fans. The Facebook 2015 MLB Fan Map shows Rockies fans clustered mostly in Colorado, Wyoming, western Nebraska, and a tiny sliver of western Kansas, which means communicating with fans who live outside major media markets, as well as those around the world, so social media becomes especially important.
The Rockies’ top-notch social media team is led by Julian Valentin (Assistant Director – Social Media & Publications). Completing the team are Lauren Jacaruso (Assistant – Social Media & Publications) and Matt Dirksen (Team Photographer). Together, they keep fans up to date with news and highlights, provide promotion for marketing and merchandise, share graphics (photos, videos, and GIFs), and interact with fans (even trolls).
On their social media page, the Rockies list the following accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram. They also have Snapchat and a Spanish-language Twitter feed, @LosRockies. There’s also a YouTube channel, though it’s not linked from the social media page.
If you’re thinking of expanding your Rockies social media diet, here are a few possibilities to consider. As with any social media platform, there are strengths and challenges – and in a few cases, the Rockies have largely abandoned the platforms.
Facebook – With 921,282 Likes and 847,862 followers, the Rockies’ Facebook page is pretty standard in terms of content. It’s regularly updated with pictures and videos. They also use Facebook to signal boost content from other platforms fans may not follow. So, for example, a Charlie Blackmon Tweet about seeing The Last Jedi gets shared on Facebook. The Rockies Facebook team announces coming events and Rockies news while keeping fans engaged. As Facebook accounts go, it’s pretty standard, but it’s a great place to see what other fans are thinking.
(In case you’re interested, in terms of Likes, the Rockies’ Facebook page is ahead of the Athletics, the Rays, the Padres, the Diamondbacks, the Marlins, and the Nationals. The Facebook and Twitter numbers are from SportsGeek.)
Twitter (@Rockies) – Rockies Twitter has tweeted almost 79,000 times to its more than 500,000 followers, and it’s on Twitter that the social media team’s voice comes through. The content here is highly engaging. Moreover, they respond to every tweet (even the trolls) and it’s where they have the best time. In the mood for a snowball fight with the Cincinnati Reds? Done! Feel like celebrating Thanksgiving with Nolan Arenado gifs? No problem. What about a weekly vocabulary lesson? Covered! What about a game called in emojis? No problem.
The Rockies do less well on Twitter compared to other teams in terms of numbers. With 500,000 Twitter followers, the Rockies only have more followers than the Marlins (321,000) and the Padres (370,000).
Instagram – On Instagram, the Rockies have posted 7,098 pics to 285,000 followers. Since Instagram is the fastest-growing social media platform that targets a younger demographic, this is a good place for the Rockies to devote resources. They tend the Instagram feed carefully, providing new pictures and videos. Given the great photos the Rockies regularly share, this is a natural fit. (Rockies players tend to prefer Instagram, but that’s a post for another day.)
Things to Try
Twitter (@LosRockies) – The Rockies’ Spanish-language feed has 21,540 followers and is less active with only 13,253 tweets, but it’s still a great follow. This account tweets at least once or twice every day and provides a great forum for Spanish-speaking Rockies fans, as well as those learning Spanish by way of the language of baseball.
SnapChat – The Rockies have a SnapChat account, but it’s hard to tell much about it. This seems like an area with great potential for the Rockies given that the platform has more than 173 million daily users, and is quickly evolving. I look forward to seeing where the Rockies take this.
Google+ – 26,369 fans follow on Google+ although it has largely been abandoned. If you only followed the Rockies on Google+, you’d be wondering what happened after Ben Paulsen finished off Spring Training 2016 with a double against the Mariners. I’m not sure why it’s still linked from the Rockies’ social media page. Google + just never caught on, so it’s easy to see why the Rockies’ social media team wouldn’t invest much energy here.
Pinterest – With only 2,958 Pinners following, this isn’t one of the Rockies’ most dynamic platforms – the most recent pins I could find were 8 months ago. This seems like a missed opportunity. Given the Rockies’ strong visual content, it would be easy to pin some of it here and appeal to a new audience. But there are some Larry Walker pins, and Dinger has his own board. Three boards have no pins at all, however, so if you want to see some “Rockies Events,” you’re out of luck.
Tumblr – Tumblr doesn’t provide access to follower numbers, but this is another abandoned account – the most recent post is from 2016 Rockies Fest and features an interview with Walt Weiss. This seems another missed opportunity given the Rockies’ social media team’s love of GIFs. Tumblr is a flexible platform, and it’s more popular with 16-24 year olds, which gives the Rockies a chance to encourage new fans.
YouTube – The Rockies’ YouTube channel has 3,078 subscribers and not much content or activity. What’s there is dated. But if you’re looking for videos from #RockTalkLive, including Charlie Blackmon’s interview in the series’ debut, this channel has you covered. This seems like another overlooked platform for the Rockies. YouTube reaches more 35-49 year olds than any cable network in the US.
I have nothing but admiration for the Rockies’ social media team. They’re great during the baseball season, and they keep fans engaged during the off-season, too, which can’t be easy. I can hardly wait for them to broadcast the Annual Arenado Family Wiffle Ball Game – and that’s content you won’t find anywhere else.