The Dallas Cowboys is the NFL (National Football League) franchise with the highest number of Facebook likes, currently 7.7 million, one million more than any other team. The Cowboys have the best overall social media presence in the NFL, according to social media analyst Starcount, which also ranks the Cowboys as the sixth best sports team in the world on social media.
Charlotte Jones Anderson
Executive Vice-President and Chief Brand Officer, Dallas Cowboys
What is the Cowboys’ main aim on social media?
Our primary goal is to get a deeper engagement with our fans. We already enjoy an inordinate amount of visibility through broadcasting, so we want to be able to reach and start a conversation with our fans beyond what they see on TV.
We really see social media as the platform to interact with our next generation of fans. We have fans from an older demographic that we are pretty good at communicating with, but we need social media to reach to a new and younger market rather than just assuming that they will eventually come to us.
Which social media platforms work best for the Cowboys in terms of reach?
Though we have our largest following on Facebook, it’s more of a page where people used to go. Now there’s Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, which we feel can get us to our fans a lot quicker.
We really want to engage with fans as young as possible to build that brand affinity, and that’s the reason why we started our Snapchat campaign this summer.
We have also launched a completely new platform called 5 Points Blue which is a site driven by women for women. It’s more of a lifestyle social network that has already been immensely successful.
How do you measure success on social media?
There are pretty good metrics in terms of likes and retweets, but beyond that we measure success based on comments, whether or not content has been shared with friends, and whether or not those friends are coming back in to the conversation.
We are also currently entering into a contract with a new analytics company called Fan Manager that allows us to be more strategic in how we are reaching our fans. That will let us know who the main influencers are within various demographics so we can reach out to them.
There’s tons of data out there, the challenge is to analyse it and strategically use it to grow our fanbase and generate the engagement that we’re seeking.
It’s hard to measure a brand awareness increase on social media when we already have an outstanding profile on TV, and social media followers only count as a fraction of the numbers we attract through that. However, those numbers are growing every day so they are very important for our future.
Do you make a financial return directly from social media?
We’re always looking for ways to monetise in the areas we’re involved in. For social media, that monetisation presents itself through our sponsors that are also looking to engage with their consumers. They use our visibility to activate their own strategy.
Obviously improving our fan engagement also leads to revenue streams via merchandising, ticket sales and other consumer goods.
What are the main challenges you face in your social media strategy?
There is so much clutter on social media – everybody is talking about everything so you’re trying to break through the noise of constant communication for your message to be heard over the next one. That’s everybody’s challenge.
However, we enjoy the fact that a lot of people are curious about what we’re doing, how we’re performing, what’s behind-the-scenes, and that helps us keep our content interesting.
To read case studies detailing leading sports rights-holders' social media strategies, please click the links below.
Social Services Introduction
Case Study 1: Past Event – 2014 FIFA World Cup
Case Study 2: Future Event – ATP World Tour Finals
Case Study 4: Athlete – IMG Golf
Case Study 5: League – NBA
Case Study 6: Sponsor – Puma