Spring is finally here – the polar vortex is on its way out (I hope), knitted hats and gloves are getting stowed away, last week the Red Sox collected their World Series rings during the Fenway Park home opener and now… The Masters. We can finally go to the basement and clean the dust off our clubs to officially welcome the golf season. I really can’t think of many things that are better than Sunday at Augusta.
This year’s tournament headliners got me thinking about how much the game has changed and how the new age of golfers are creating more buzz around the game than ever.
Golf has gone through a dramatic change in recent years, welcoming in a new era of world-class golfers. Maybe this is the evolution of the game – from Arnold and Jack getting their start with wooden clubs; to Tiger completely dominating the game and carrying the sport to new heights; to the new age of color-coordinated, social media-savvy golfers such as Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy. When some people think of golf they imagine a sleepy old sport that can only draw advertising from Rolex and Cadillac. However, this new era of golfers are breaking that stigma; raising the game’s visibility to a global level, promoting their brand through social media and creating new fans every day.
As an addict myself, I can truly appreciate how these golfers are using social media to revolutionize the game and bring it to new people. For instance, Bubba Watson runs a weekly #BubbaTalkLive on his website to discuss different topics in the golf world and provide personal insights on things that are on his mind. He invites his fans to participate through Twitter and answers their questions in real-time. Another great social user is Rickie Fowler who is well known for his bright-colored “golf swag;” this week he is running a contest for his fans to win the same Puma hats or shirts he wears on the course. Rickie can also be found frequently in conversations with fans while off the course.
Following these golfers’ interactions on social media teaches us PR pros that we need to be more engaging. Granted, it is easy for Rory MclIroy to drive conversations since he has 1.86 million Twitter followers, but his online success is a case study worth looking into in terms of how it contributes to his success on the course. In terms of strategies, the golfers’ are leveraging paid tweets for their sponsors, but it’s not always about them. They offer up conversations and contests to drive engagement as well. This is an important message to relay to clients – try moving away from tweeting about why product “X” is so amazing and try to create more meaningful conversations. Think of your fans/advocates and spend some time coming up with ways to really provide them with value and attention.
Who would have thought golf could inspire out-of-the-box thinking in social media and digital content? If golf has found a way to break down old perceptions and usher in a new era for the sport and its audiences, why can’t we bring some new, exciting social ideas to our next client meeting?
— Rickie Fowler (@RickieFowlerPGA) March 31, 2014