I first “met” Mike via Twitter during last year’s Penguins and Capitals playoff series. Since then, we’ve had a great dialogue about social media and the NHL.
Mike manages the NHL Fan Page on Facebook as well as the NHL on Twitter… and you can find him on LinkedIn as well.
I recently asked Mike some questions and will share those along with his answers below:
1. What’s in your social media tool kit (desktop clients or Bberry/iPhone apps)?
I am a social media simpleton. I use CoTweet and OpenBeak for Twitter, and Facebook for Blackberry. On the analytics side, I subscribe to a service called ViralHeat.
2. How did you get here/how did this job come about from the NHL?
This is my third season at the NHL, and I started as director of corporate communications. Our senior VP of digital media, Perry Cooper, appointed me to lead a newly formed social media department at the start of the 2009-10 season. I had been running point on social media stuff prior to that, so it was a natural transition to doing it full time.
3. Most rewarding moment you had over the past season from your perspective?
I was interviewed on behalf of the NHL by Josh Bernoff, who is writing a sequel to Groundswell. I may wallpaper my bathroom with the pages from the new book that mention the NHL.
4. Where is the NHL going with social media? What are your/the NHL’s long term goals/ideas?
We are building windows into the NHL on 3rd-party sites, so we can expose fans to the game and capture a share of their minds when their not necessarily on NHL.com or watching a game. Our long term goal is to become more pervasive in the hearts and minds of fans in North America and beyond, and to give them many more reasons to spend time, energy and emotion with us.
5. Your blog, “From the blue seats“… where is this for you now?
I need to water it and put it in the sun before it shrivels up and dies! I am hopeful that I will have more time to dedicate to it this summer and all of next season. What I’d like to focus on is social trends in sports, and occasionally some opinion pieces on the game itself. I am all ears if people have ideas.
6. Are you currently incorporating any league sponsors into your social media spaces, if so – how?
We promote all of our partner activations on our social media. It’s an area that we’re becoming smarter and more sophisticated with, and are developing business models around. Currently, we’re really excited about the Bud Light Canada Facebook app that’s out there right now.
7. The NHL has more followers on Twitter than Facebook fans – why is this?
When we were named to the “recommended user” list by Twitter, we were seeing very strong weekly growth rates. Once Twitter changed the mechanics of the recommended list, our growth rate slowed. Now, with the integration of the Like button on NHL.com, we’re seeing hypergrowth on our Facebook page. I don’t think it’s a referendum on the technographics of our fans, or our success/failures on one platform or another. To me, it’s circumstantial.
8. How do you stay current on new tools and trends? What are you reading (online or otherwise) or who do you listen to?
I love to read Fast Company, and Lauren Goode’s stuff in the Wall Street Journal. She is a terrific reporter. Of course, MediaPost, Mashable and TechCrunch are must-reads, and I also try to stay current on industry analyst reports. I also learn a fair amount from Gary Vaynerchuk, who has been an adviser to the NHL this season. My favorite bloggers are Shannon Paul and Guy Kawasaki. Truly, I wish I had more time to dedicate to reading up on Trends.