MLB hits a home run with fans on Twitter

How the league leans on Twitter to get baseball fans excited about the season.

Baseball’s biggest fan bases have always extended way beyond their teams’ home stadiums. But since everyone can’t be at every game, @MLB works hard to connect with fans no matter where they are and get people talking about all things baseball. 

And that’s especially true this year. With not as many people in the stands, engaging with fans online has been more important than ever. We spoke with Marissa Ruskin, director of social media sponsorship, and Steven Miller, senior manager of new media and content at MLB, about the baseball community, the future of the league, and how to hit a home run with fans on Twitter.

Twitter: How important has Twitter been to MLB, especially this season?

MLB: Twitter has long been a go-to social media platform for live reactions to the biggest moments in baseball. Whether it’s celebrating a wild World Series walk-off or engaging discussions around a controversial pitching change, this is the platform our fans seek out to respond to everything that’s happening in the sport at the moment. In 2020, Twitter became an even more vital outlet for fans to experience those connections. 

Twitter is where we post a large portion of our content daily because the conversation about baseball is pretty much constant, and we want to be leading it. Our goal is for a fan to scroll through our feed, either in real time or at the end of the night or next morning, and have a clear sense of everything important that happened in the world of baseball. But we don’t just show and tell — we really try to drive conversation. You’ll notice plenty of captions that end in a question mark, because we don’t want to talk at our followers — we want to start a dialogue.

Twitter: Your #FreeBaseball World Series campaign definitely got fans talking. Tell us about it.

MLB: The #FreeBaseball giveaway was everything its name promised: a free, authentic World Series baseball used during batting practice, engraved with fan Tweets. In the middle of Game 1 of the World Series, we DM’d selected fans to let them know they were getting their Tweet printed on an authentic BP ball. We shipped the balls in custom cases so fans could display their mementos for all to see.

Even before everything that happened in 2020, our objective when partnering with Twitter on a World Series activation was to increase engagement for fans watching from home. Then, making fans feel like they were still a part of the experience became even more pertinent this season, with a surprise and delight element as an added bonus. #FreeBaseball generated incredible responses and positive reactions, so I would say mission accomplished.

Generally we know from experience that gifting unsuspecting fans is well received, but we wanted to make even more of a splash with a limited-edition souvenir of a historic season. We’ve worked with Twitter on past activations, so since we already knew its reach and ability to drive conversation is unparalleled, we leaned on Twitter to amplify the #FreeBaseball hype. 

We ended up sending over 200 engraved baseballs to our fans. The promo video got 609K views, and the conversation surrounding Game 1 increased 35%.

Twitter: We love to see it! What’s in store for the future of MLB?

MLB: I think the media landscape and live sport experience will continue to evolve, and Twitter will remain an essential outlet for us to share content and engage with fans. We want to bring additional opportunities for fans to generate and create content. #BaseballTwitter is all about community, and we want to expand that community for baseball content creators on the platform. We’ll continue to experiment, introduce new camera angles, and offer unique ways to engage with our game — and Twitter will continue to play a key role in driving that momentum.

Shelby Clayton (@shelbyclayton) sits on Twitter’s Global Content Partnerships team, managing strategic sports partnerships with leagues, media partners and teams to bring the most premium sports content on Twitter and drive sales revenue.

December 18, 2020
  • Sports on Twitter
  • Sports2020
  • Perspective
  • North America

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