A social media focus group in the 99-year old home of the Red Sox

Red Sox Twitter Focus GroupAnyone who reads this blog regularly can attest to my passion for social media and for exploring ways companies can leverage these technologies to better interact with their customers. What you may not know is that I am also a huge Red Sox fan. So when I got an invitation from the Boston Red Sox to visit their home offices for a Twitter focus group, I could not have said yes quickly enough.

On July 28, I arrived at the discreet offices near Yawkey Way and was shuttled into a conference room with 10 other members of the Sox Twitter community. During the hour plus that we were sitting in the offices that overlook the 99-year old ballpark, nothing was off-limits. The Sox’ social media team asked the focus group of their Twitter community what we liked, what we didn’t and what they could do better.

One thing that really stood out to me during this group was that there was no way for social media to scale in an organization as big as the Red Sox. Unlike many companies who make it a point to respond to each and every person who reaches out to them on the social Web, the Red Sox just can’t do that. They have over 116,000 followers on Twitter, they are a Major League Baseball flagship franchise that generates a lot of buzz, and a quick search of #redsox on Twitter yielded over 100 results in a two minute span. Responding to everyone is just not possible.

The Red Sox social media team understands this, but wants to make sure that when they do connect with a member of their community that it is something that is truly worthwhile. Events like tweetups and the focus group allow them to keep a pulse of the community in a somewhat scalable method.

After the event I headed over to the ballpark with other members of the focus group including Joselin Mane, Christine Major, Dave Cutler and Stephanie Silverstein. We discussed the event that we had just attended. We agreed that while the team is doing some great things in the space, they are still just scratching the surface. It would be great to see them implement some of the changes we suggested, like more behind the scenes action, contests and facts of the day.

I know that I will be keeping an eye on their accounts over the next 12 months to see what they roll out. It will be interesting to see how a team with such a rabid fan base continues to engage and grow their social properties. I would also gladly come back in for another focus group to chat with the team on social media.

If you are a fan of the Red Sox, what would you like to see them add to their social media activity? If you aren’t what would you like to see your favorite sports team do in social media?

Disclosure, in exchange for our time in the focus group we were giving a standing room ticket to see the game on the 28 of July. No blog posts were required or asked for. This was unsolicited.

6 Responses to A social media focus group in the 99-year old home of the Red Sox
  1. […] participants, Jeff Esposito and Stephanie Silverstein, recently posted recaps on their blogs (Jeff’s, Stephanie’s). I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about the experience as well. […]

  2. jeffespo
    August 1, 2011 | 2:11 pm

    @TrentOstrander Glad to provide you fodder over your tater tots

  3. TrentOstrander
    August 1, 2011 | 2:13 pm

    @jeffespo hah PB& J. Alll grown up! Also, would like to see #Redsox integrate trivia for those fans watching at home. (ie Aflac trivia Q’s)

  4. jeffespo
    August 1, 2011 | 2:13 pm

    @TrentOstrander They have a few times and they’re learning

  5. TrentOstrander
    August 1, 2011 | 2:15 pm

    @jeffespo nice, I’ll have to look for it when they try again.

  6. TrentOstrander
    August 1, 2011 | 2:15 pm

    @jeffespo nice, I’ll have to look for it when they try again.

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