#NFL Training Camps Go Social

To quote Genesis, “I can feel it coming in the air tonight”

Drop the word “tonight” and add the words, “today”, “tomorrow”, “this week”, “next week”, “this month”, or “next month” – the feeling that’s in the air is FOOTBALL!

That’s right, sports fans. Football is here. No, no games on the field yet. But, NFL training camps have begun. After yet another tumultuous off-season (arrests, litigation), fans, media, teams, players can all finally exhale and say, “THANK GOD!”.

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Many of us in sports media are dealt a double-edged sword when spring/summer rolls around. As someone who likes multiple sports, it perhaps doesn’t register with me as much as it does others. But, the spring/summer seasons brings plenty of off-field football news, usually of the negative variety. At least, that’s what gets the attention, right?

As we waded our way through the muck and mire of non-football news, fans and media waited expectantly for the fourth week of July to get here. We would read tweets or view Instagram photos or watch Vine videos from teams, and our football senses tingled. 

Now that training camp is here, teams are increasing their social media engagement through tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos or videos, Vine videos.

Setting the standard in social? The Indianapolis Colts

Colts FB post

The Colts social media team have been giving fans what they want: photos, video, contests and information. The Facebook (and Twitter) post indicating which hashtags they’re using should be a “must” for every team, school, league from here on out, no matter the sport. With Facebook adding hashtag support, fans will use hashtag searches more and more on there, Twitter, Instagram or Vine.

The Colts aren’t the only ones who have stepped up their game during training camps. Every team is utilizing social media in some form this year. Team social media groups have had a year to observe other league’s teams to plan and implement their social strategies. They’ve been able to see what works and what doesn’t, which type of hashtags have taken off (or not), and give fans what they crave most: MORE OF “MY” TEAM!

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Let’s take a look at what teams have done so far:

  • Teams use Twitter to tell fans what’s going on during the day:

What’s interesting to note about that Houston Texans’ tweet is the camp is sponsored. I haven’t looked into it in full detail but I would guess that every NFL team’s camp is sponsored. From a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense. Tweets themselves can be sponsored too – surprised more teams don’t have that, unless they’re working on that for the season.

  • Or they’re used to tease what’s coming up. When I went to publish this post, I had come across a tweet that piqued my interest. As of posting time, no further details from the Browns but I wonder how much social engagement this means:
  • The Seattle Seahawks incorporate it in a hashtag (#BingHawks):

Seahawks camp tweet

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  • Fans can watch press conferences online or find out how they can watch regular season games on their phone or device – have to stay on top of team news both for one’s fandom and one’s fantasy league team, right?
  • Photos of players/newcomers to team camp is helpful for fans:
  • Maybe this will spawn a hashtag to be used throughout the season: #BeardedBeauties

Steelers photo

  • Getting fans involved on social is one of the keys to engagement on social media:
  • But the ultimate key is, go figure, actually “engaging”. What a concept!

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Video is definitely a player in today’s social media world. Teams are embracing it on Instagram, Vine, their own YouTube channels…

We feel your presence at #BrownsCamp. Thank you #Browns fans!! - Quentin Groves

A post shared by Cleveland Browns (@clevelandbrowns) on

…or, in the case of the Minnesota Vikings’, Adrian Peterson, a helmet cam (click the first link in the tweet to see the video)

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FINAL THOUGHTS: My favorite thing that teams do is tweet out fan pictures. If you’ve seen some great ones, let me know because I’d love to add them to the post. Here are some of my favorites today. The first one was RT’d by the Kansas City Chiefs.

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CadChica Sports

One comment on “#NFL Training Camps Go Social

  1. Great love the social media

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