Tech Watch: Social Media Mascots

Category:  Tech Watch
Saturday, May 26th, 2012 at 4:31 PM
Tech Watch: Social Media Mascots by David Hunter, Epic Web Studios

Social Media loves mascots.

That’s what Jerry Rizzo, Penn State alum from Philadelphia, quickly learned in what came to be a Social Media Cinderella story. Rizzo snagged his position as Social Media Coordinator for the Philadelphia 76ers after they announced there would be a voting contest to introduce a new team mascot. Rizzo, a longtime 76ers fan, thought it would be fun to create Twitter accounts for each contender and promote the contest.

With Rizzo’s touch, the mascot contenders, B. Franklin Dogg and Phil E. Moose, came alive and were getting noticed. Voting increased, and the 76ers began seeing a huge increase of Twitter engagement – so much that they offered Rizzo a job.

Rizzo’s story is just one example of a team’s success using Social Media in conjunction with their mascot. Facebook and Twitter accounts of beloved mascots offer teams a chance to be informal, with clever comments and quick-witted puns that engage fans and promote interaction.

National teams are already catching on, with mascots like Oklahoma City Thunder’s Rumble the Bison and Miami Heat’s Burnie engaging fans on Facebook and Twitter. According to a recent article,these teams are in the top three on the NBA social media leaderboard, so their efforts are not going unnoticed.

With teams finding success, why couldn’t Erieteam franchises benefit as well?

Creating accounts for Erie’s local characters could build a bigger presence for our Erie sports teams. Shooter - Erie Otters, Clutch – Erie Bayhawks, C. Wolf and his sidekick, Perry the Perch – Erie SeaWolves, could bring their talents online and offer  entertaining one-liners for both parents and kids to enjoy.

While C. Wolf, Clutch, and company are active and present during games, the interaction doesn’t have to stop once we go home. Audiences are more likely to bond with an animated character than a company logo, and creating these handles could offer a way to get others involved: starting conversations and promoting events in a casual, fun, and interactive place.

Simply having a Twitter account for your mascot isn’t enough to engage fans, however. There are both right and wrong ways to market your mascot.

The right way: Be personal. Your account should embody your character’s personality. Voice and tone are important factors to consider: Is your mascot silly? Sarcastic? Angry? Young? Old? Male? Female? What do they like? What are their hobbies? Get into character and get creative.

The wrong way: Writing about your mascot in third person takes away from the idea he or she is really the one talking. Post in first person and always consider if what you’re posting is reflective of your mascot’s persona.

As for cost and manpower of creating a mascot account, it shouldn’t take up too much. While somebody should be in charge of handling the account on a day-to-day basis, everyone in the organization can contribute ideas and thoughts in order to make content as creative and fresh as possible.

The bottom line: Mascots are fun. We love them and the entertainment they bring to our favorite sports. Marketing them through Social Media is working for the big teams, sotrying this tactic locally could get our teams more exposure – all while giving us a few laughs and endearing us more to the mascots who represent the teams we know and love.

-Erin Lynn

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