You may have noticed some virtual jump high-fives between the Digital Royalty team this past Saturday. We were excited and here’s why.
Digital Royalty concepted and implemented the first-ever National Hockey League Hashtag Battle between the Los Angeles Kings and the Colorado Avalanche. The goal for the night was to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Kroenke Sports Charities as part of the NHL’s month-long Hockey Fights Cancer campaign. And of course, some friendly twivalry. The competition was on: #GoKings vs. #GoAvs. The teams donated $1 for each hashtag tweeted.
We wanted to get #GoKings in front of more than just hockey fans. Our broader target: the general sports fan or Saturday night tweeter who was looking to tweet for the greater good. But there were a few obstacles on the ice.
The Kings vs. Avs game wasn’t nationally televised, therefore, wasn’t easily accessible by the average sports fan. On top of that, it was a Saturday during college football season. The epic UFC 121, heavyweight championship event, was also taking place in the target market (Los Angeles) plus the San Francisco Giants were trying to win the National League Pennant against the Philadelphia Phillies. (Note, the UFC is a dR client as well so our team was performing a social balancing act. Everything netted out as planned. See below.)
We knew people would definitely be tweeting heavily about sports. But would they be tweeting about the Kings vs Avs game? We needed to influence a few key groups:
Kings and Avs fans. These teams have an intense rivalry and we wanted to translate it into a social competition. With bragging rights on the line, the tweets came pouring in.
NHL fans. The support of the NHL helped get the word out about the battle to hockey fans who may not have been closely following the Kings or Avalanche. This Coyotes fan is a perfect example.
Online Influencers. We targeted specific sports-influencers who helped us get the battle into the pathways of their followers. Baseball fan and actress, Alyssa Milano tweeted about the battle as well as the the pro-soccer team LA Galaxy. LIVESTRONG CEO, Doug Ulman (a pioneer at using social media for the greater good) supported our mission as did Sarah Palin who must not have been busy with SNL.
Charitable-minded. We anticipated that by this point the #GoKings mission would be reaching the eyes of people who would participate solely to help raise money for higher objective. We knew this had worked when we started seeing “I’m not a hockey fan but…” tweets.
With the chain-of-support in action, #GoKings leaped to the number one worldwide trending topic by the end of the first period (for you non-hockey fans, that’s approximately 20 minutes). Our trending topic status added welcome fuel to the fire. By the end of the game the official hashtag score was #GoKings 29,374 and #GoAvs 13,876.
We scored three W’s with the hashtag battle. Each team shared a new kind of spotlight and exposed their brand in the pathways of new fans, they increase their following on Twitter and most importantly the charitable organizations benefited.
In the meantime, the UFC 121 event was taking place in Anaheim, CA. To generate buzz on that front, Amy Martin was on the scene with UFC President Dana White sending out his personal phone number to more than 5 million UFC fans on facebook and twitter so they could speak with him directly and share their picks for the evening. By the end of the night, the UFC secured 8 of the 10 worldwide trending topics as the world watched history in the making.
Needless to say, we’ve posted this on our fridge at the dR office for a few days.