Our Royal Purpose

It’s an epic day for Digital Royalty and you, our fellow renegades. Today, our online Digital Royalty University launches and our founder, Amy Jo Martin, releases her book, Renegades Write the RulesWe’re excited to start the next Renegade chapter of dR with you. Guns-a-blazin’. One of our core values here is “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Millions of fellow renegades have been along for the ride for several years, so we are inviting you to join us now as we explore the next frontier. ‘Social media’ is simply a new form of communication that allows us to exchange value, and as a result we can accelerate the process or learning as well as the process of innovation. Our first class is free today.

The journey to this point has been wild, unconventional and inspiring. For the past four years we have studied and experimented with social communication channels alongside the largest brands, celebrities and sports entities in all of the land.

It started with Amy Jo’s curiosity, which turned into an idea, which became a quest to start and grow a company and now we are out to change the world by sharing our lessons so others can leapfrog our mistakes and snag those lessons.

Everyone has a voice and social communication is the ultimate equalizer. There are no boundaries. There are no rules. We get to write them! This equal opportunity space allows people to get a job quicker, accelerate their business growth, connect with loved ones and ? Yep. It’s our little secret to be kept between us renegades.

Not only do we want to educate other fellow renegades on the value of social media and innovation, we want to give back. For every Digital Royalty University class purchased, we are giving back a class to teachers though our partnership with Teach For America. This is our Buy One, Give One model inspired by TOMS Shoes. We are on a mission to help bridge the communication gap between parents, teachers/faculty and students. Studies show children learn better when parents are involved. Can you imagine if your high school teacher, principal and/or coach had access to you and your parents via social media channels? Well we are teaching them!

After recently relocating our company to Downtown Las Vegas, one of the lowest educationally ranked areas in the nation with graduation rates that hover around the fifty percent mark, it provided an opportunity to bring our growing company here and also give back to our new community.

We’re excited to share the next big chapter of Digital Royalty with you and we invite you to give Renegades Write the Rules a spin, expand your knowledge of social communication channels through our University, and innovate your business as well as your life. It’s possible. Trust us, we did it and continue to do so. Where passion, purpose and skill collide, Royal Bliss resides.

Welcome to #TeamRenegades. Hat tip to you for joining the ride. Saddle up.

Digital Royalty Turns Three!

It’s Digital Royalty’s third birthday! Years in the social media industry are like dog years, so that would technically make dR about 21 years old, right? At any rate, it’s been a wild and crazy ride for the entire dR team and industry in general, but without a doubt an enjoyable and growing experience for us all.

In honor of our anniversary, here’s an inside look at major accomplishments and milestones for Team dR. I know I speak for the entire team when I say that each of us could have dedicated an entire blog post to answer the following questions, but to prevent annoying scrolling on your part, here’s a snap shot:

Britt Johnson: 

  • Career highlight while at dR?: One my my greatest highlights came only a few weeks after I started working at dR during the Fast Five golden ticket hunt with The Rock. Being able to see fans receive personal phone calls from their hero was such a unique experience. It opened my eyes to the reach and impact of social media, but also how it can connect people in a very personal way.
  • How has the social media landscape has changed during your time at dR?:  Besides @JustinBieber growing from 9 million Twitter followers to 19 million, the major change in the last year is that brands are spending more and more on their social efforts. So much so that money is being allocated to digital staffing and social ad spend as opposed to traditional marketing tactics. It seems as though people are finally viewing social media as a necessity as opposed to a trend (Finally!).
Kirsten Stubbs: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: I’m always a bit taken aback when I’m able to help people for whom I have great respect. A few of those times stand out:  Helping Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid develop strategies to inspire his fans on Twitter, TIME writer Joel Stein half-jokingly challenging me to make his so-called mundane lifestyle (like his love affair with peanut butter coexisting with his child’s peanut allergy) worthy of social media, and helping up-and-coming stars on The X Factor USA utilize social media to make their dreams come true (and then getting to watch it happen.)
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: Age is irrelevant if you make it irrelevant. If you come into anything confident in your abilities, passionate about what you’re doing and tireless in your work ethic, no one cares if you’re 18 or 80. Results speak far louder than years. Do good work and good things will inherently come to you.
Amanda Perkey
  • Career highlight while at dR?: Professionally: Being a part of the cultural shift at FOX Sports. The growth from the 2011 World Series, start of the NFL season to the Daytona 500. Good things to come for the FOX Sports crew. Personally: Meeting Terry Bradshaw (There is a LONG back story but I’ll spare you).
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: A day doesn’t go by where I don’t learn something that can’t be applied to my life and/or career. My lessons can be applied to both… I’ve learned to trust my gut, help other people reach their goals and to have confidence in every person I work with and for. I have a lot more, but figured I’d spare you.
Chad Martin: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?:  I’ll never forget the night I was sitting at dinner with Amy Jo, brainstorming how to leverage Shaquille O’Neal’s move to the Boston Celtics. We came up with the concept that Shaq should ask his Twitter followers what his new nickname should be. So she sent him a text and he agreed to tweet. Minutes later, we look up at the TV in the bar and his tweet was being featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Talk about real-time.
  • How has the social media landscape has changed during your time at dR?:  Social media started when we started and has drastically changed by the day ever since. We were on a call with Facebook the other day talking about their ad platform and they wrapped the call by telling us, “we’ll give you a call in a day or so, because we know things will change by then.” Pretty standard.
Britnee Johnson: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: Attending my first in-person Digital Royalty University training sessions in August of last year with more than 100 FOX Sports employees. It was energizing explaining the impact that 140-characters can have on the sports world and watching people have an “ah-ha” moment.
  • How has the social media landscape has changed during your time at dR?: Twitter received an entirely new makeover since I first started at dR. The evolution of this one platform alone has impacted how I look at the social landscape in general. Adaptation is key!
Alana Golob:
  • Career highlight while at dR?: I’ve been fortunate to have countless incredible experiences during my two-years at dR. Besides having the opportunity to meet Matt Lauer at the Today Show (swoon!) and live on Tony Hsieh’s tour bus for three months, I think one of my greatest moments came last year when I completed the Digital Royalty University training program for the 250+ DoubleTree by Hilton properties around the world. Over the course of six weeks, I led 32 webinar training sessions for 500 employees on multiple social platforms. It was definitely a growing experience.
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: I’ve learned so many valuable lessons during my time at dR that I am truly grateful for. The main one that stands out to me is the importance of self confidence. It doesn’t matter what age or gender you are. Confidence is the best weapon you can arm yourself with. For most it doesn’t come easy and for me it’s a work-in-progress. Look at it this way, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, how can you expect others to? When it’s go-time, you have to do whatever it takes to put on that game face and own it.
Erinn Ray: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: I just started three weeks ago, so I anticipate many highlights to come. Thus far, getting to now work with the first person I ever followed on Twitter, @Diego_Dog, the company’s Chief Dog Officer.
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: Act now. From my experience, little comes to those who sit and wait, just do it. Whatever you are waiting for, the moment or opportunity will pass you by. The faster you fail the sooner you can figure out what works.
Jessica Smith: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: I can’t say there is one specific event or person that I have met.  Only that after many years and many jobs, I truly feel appreciated and valued.  I have a sense of importance in someone else’s life and find rewarding satisfaction in helping facilitate the success of those around me. Even if that is simply and humbly getting them to where they need to be.
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: #1: Confidence. You are capable of just about anything. You just have to figure out how. #2: Kindness. Never under estimate the power of the smallest  gesture, a hug, a card. Maybe even a bag of Skittles. Lose the inhibitions or false ideas that you are not capable. YOU ARE!
Laura Lombardi: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: I think my career highlight at dR was honestly the phone call I got on a random Wednesday night from Amy Jo and Alana to be a part of the team. I’ve had a lot of amazing moments since then including chatting with LA Reid from The X Factor about Twitter, but for me personally that is still my stand out moment because it started this amazing journey.
  • How has the social media landscape has changed during your time at dR?: One way how the social media landscape has changed during my time at dR is obviously the Facebook Timeline pages. And I’m just gonna put this out there, I’m a lot like Facebook, I like to constantly reinvent myself and evolve, but I’m learning a lesson I hope Facebook does too. Sometimes it’s good to commit for a while.
Diego Dog: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: Definitely sleeping on my royal throne in the office. (And, when the humans accidentally drop food on the ground.) Life is all about being at the right place at the right time. Oh, and did I mention sleeping?
  • Career highlight while at dR?: The joy I feel while witnessing the individuals on my team grow is indescribable. It’s not just seeing them become more successful though. We’ve found that when passion, skill and purpose collide, happiness resides. My goal is to help others find that blissful collision and now I’m watching my team help others find theirs. Powerful.
  • How has the social media landscape has changed during your time at dR?: In the beginning, I viewed social channels as a stepping stone to eventually promote something. As a marketer by trade, social was a perfect way to naturally integrate brands into conversations versus interrupt the conversation. Then one night everything changed. Social media was something much bigger. Not only my outlook on social media changed but my outlook on life.
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: People are the most important part of business. It’s not what you do, it’s who you choose to work with. From team members to partners and clients, the people make all the difference in the world. Who you say ‘no’ to is just as important as who you say ‘yes’ to.
Cheers to many years and welcomed changes ahead.

First Social Media Incentive Program for Athletes

By: Britt Johnson

The NBA, NFL, and other professional sports leagues are all too familiar with handing down fines to athletes (and owners/coaches) who violate their social media policies. The UFC has no interest in collecting money from its own athletes. Instead, they are doing the reverse in handing out the cash—$240,000 annually to be exact.

This week UFC president Dana White announced the first-ever incentive-based social media program for fighters during the UFC Summit in Las Vegas where more than 300 fighters were required to go through Digital Royalty University social media training. The allotted money will be dispersed as quarterly bonuses to fighters who make the most impact with their personal Twitter accounts.

Competition was in the air as the program was announced to more than 300 fighters at the annual UFC Summit at the Red Rock Casino in Vegas. Thousands of fans, fighters and media outlets followed along here using the #UFCSummit Hashtag where thousands of tweets were exchanged real-time throughout the week. Mashable and Sports Business Journal also covered the news.

The UFC understands the power of social media. The goal for the incentive program is to encourage the athletes to embrace these new communication tools and increase fan engagement. The UFC and related Twitter accounts are already known for their fighter-to-fighter interactions. The heightened engagement will strengthen the organization’s network, allowing for quick message delivery, more fighter-to-fan interaction and most importantly it provides exclusive value to new and existing fans.

Starting June 1st, Stikeforce and UFC fighters will be divided into four groups depending on their number of followers. From those groups, three winners will be named in the following categories, each receiving $5,000 for most followers gained, highest percentage of followers gained and most creative campaign.

A social media powerhouse himself, Dana knows the influence Twitter followers carry. Factor in a few hundred additional social media-savvy athletes, and you have a force to be reckoned with.

For more information about Digital Royalty University, email Info@TheDigitalRoyalty.com

Is company-wide training part of your social media strategy?

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By: Alana Golob

By now, most brands have had their “ah-ha” social media moment and have realized that in order to build equity, see return and create conversions, a clear strategy must be developed. Hours need to be invested. Many marketing and public relations VPs are scurrying to fill a social media manager type of position to take their existing presence to the next level. Additionally, “Find us on Facebook” and “Follow us on Twitter” messages are being stamped confidently on all advertising creative.

However, do the legal, human relations, sales and operations departments know how social media is impacting their aspect of business and how it can improve their bottom line? HR could be saving dollars from hiring outside recruiters and decreasing staff turnover by using these new communication tools to recruit talent, monitor employees and evaluate candidates. Does the president of your company, most likely the single most influential person behind your brand, have a social media presence? Humans connect with humans, not logos.

The social media landscape continues to do what it does best . . . evolve and grow quicker than anyone seems to realize. It’s a way of life and more now than ever, consumers are turning to their Facebook and Twitter pages for value in the form of advice, breaking news, exclusive content, customer service and entertainment. Consumers expect brands to be online with an attentive ear. If you’re not actively listening, engaging and responding to your audience, it’s similar to not answering the phone or unlocking the doors for business. And, it’s very likely your competitors are listening to those tipping point consumers who are trying to get your attention.

For social media to be truly successful and for that transparency to be apparent, social media must be embraced by every level of the brand from the executives to those who interact with the consumer on a daily basis. There are several challenges. First, no one is going to embrace and support something they don’t understand. Second, the employees who do embrace and support these platforms on a personal level may not feel empowered to use it on a professional level. And last, it is a powerful tool that can be misused in untrained and uneducated hands. That’s where company-wide training comes into play.

If you haven’t taken the next step yet it’s time to go “all-in” by providing your staff with the proper education needed to build a cohesive social media communication strategy for the entire company. Digital Royalty University (dRU) is our education division comprised of curriculums that are delivered both in-person and via webinar series. These education sessions are customized for brands ranging from thousands of employees to five employees.

DoubleTree by Hilton is an example of a large brand that has embraced social media and invested in training to provide the necessary resources for each of their 250+ locations around the world. They’re now able to develop and execute a localized social media strategy. In addition to working with the brand, Digital Royalty University (dRU) is leading a six-week webinar series for more than 500 DoubleTree by Hilton employees. The training is broken down into five separate customized curriculums that cover everything from account set-up on a variety of channels, to best practices and tips on how to build an engaging online community. Additionally, training is a way for DoubleTree by Hilton to bring their deep-rooted CARE culture to life through social media.

When supported by the entire company, social media can also be an effective culture-building tool. Take Tony Hsieh and Zappos for example, social media isn’t just a strategy, it’s part of the company culture. Too often companies focus too much on which employee should be responsible for their social media presence, when they should be focusing on who doesn’t have a presence online and developing a strategy to get them onboard.

For more info on Digital Royalty University (dRU), email: Info@TheDigitalRoyalty.com

— Note, since this blog post was written, dRU has added Google+ to the curriculum.

Geo-Targeting on Facebook

If you’re in California looking to buy a new purple unicorn and the national company that you like who sells purple unicorns posts a special Facebook offer at their stores in New York, what happens? You become an annoyed purple-unicorn-less Californian.

Geo-targeting is a helpful tool available on Facebook Pages. With a few simple clicks, you can customize posts based on country, state/province, city and language.

Just a few examples of how you can use geo-targeting:

  • Sharing information sensitive to time zones
  • Offering information in different languages
  • A/B testing by region or offer (compare conversion and engagement rates)
  • Localized stunts or events

And here’s how you do it:

  1. When posting a status, link, photo or video on your Page, select the ‘Everyone’ drop down menu below the text box and click ‘Customize’.
  2. Enter the country of choice (and optional filter by state/province and city).
  3. Enter an optional language of choice. Press “Okay.”
  4. Post your geo-targeted status to be seen only by those specified in preferences. After you finish posting, the custom preferences will clear and subsequent posts will display to all audiences unless otherwise specified.

Interested in learning more best practices on social media outlets? Learn more about our education division, Digital Royalty University, by emailing info@thedigitalroyalty.com.

The Business of Humanity

By: Amy Jo Martin

This was one of the most impactful moments of my life. I realized social media can allow us to accelerate the act of kindness.

I was on the elliptical, perusing twitter on my iPad to pass the time, when the news broke about the earthquake in Japan. Twitter was instantly inundated with the breaking news. The live footage on CNN showing semi trucks getting washed away and people trying to outrun the waves in their vehicles will be something I never forget. It was an epic moment for the world for those who were awake. On 9/11, I was on vacation on a remote island in the South Pacific that had nearly zero connectivity. Due to the impact on flights and air safety, I was stuck there for an extra week due so I’ve always felt disconnected from what it was truly like to experience the tragedy first-hand.

After the earthquake hit, my heart pounded for four hours straight. The tragedy and aftermath in Japan was one thing but nobody knew what was about to happen as the tsunami hit other regions. Those next few hours represented a crucial period of time we’ll never be able to get back. We had one shot at taking measures to prevent more possible casualties.

I wasn’t sure what to do but I felt accountable and compelled to help in some way. With zero traditional journalism or “reporter” experience under my belt, I put on my research hat and sifted through relevant tweets and links. Conveniently, most valuable people, stories and media outlets found their way to the surface fairly easily. However, these valuable pieces of info didn’t always have the largest distribution. Not knowing what to do, I started retweeting, asking people to send me valuable content so I could share to a larger audience and connect the dots. There was nothing special about me wanting to help, everyone did and everyone was. The only difference was my reach and I couldn’t go to sleep without offering it up.

This wasn’t about promoting or marketing anything, this was about people coming together virtually to help each other. It was the business of humanity.

Social channels are communication tools. Just like the telephone. They weren’t invented for marketers or crisis communication situations. Humans decide what they want to communicate. Certain large news organizations with huge twitter followings went dark that night. I’m sure if they were sleeping, uneducated about how to help more using these tools or concerned about the way their brand would be perceived but for the sake of saving lives, I hope they get it figured out. They should be held accountable to inform. Sometimes you need to put Charlie Sheen in the backseat and focus on the right thing to do.

Give NASCAR A Chance

By: Amy Martin

We tend to dislike what we don’t know. Many people don’t understand, or better yet “get,” NASCAR. Whether it’s a factor of the old points system (which just changed) or pure lack of exposure, many people make fun of the so-called “monotonous day of left turns and mullets.”

I took a trip to Daytona 500 as a complete NASCAR Rookie and gave NASCAR a chance this past weekend and I swear on my iPhone I didn’t see one mullet. Here’s what I learned:

Drivers are unusually accessible. I noticed this is a similar characteristic of UFC on this front. Drivers do fan Q&A’s and autograph sessions THE DAY of the race. The Daytona 500 happens to be the biggest day of the year for NASCAR. I don’t think Brett Favre was chatting it up with thousands of fans the day of the Super Bowl.

I received a magical “hot pass” and could go anywhere. It was uncomfortably exciting having unlimited access and at times I worried about getting in the crew’s way. I was a part of the action and wasn’t the only one. Bottom line, fans have access.

Here’s my theory on this strategy, why it’s smart for any sport and why social media will amplify the strategy if embraced by sports. (A.K.A. my key business takeaway from this weekend):

  • Access leads to connection. (Fans are able to sign the actual race track.)
  • Connection leads to relationships. (At all ages.)
  • Relationships lead to affinity. (You can’t fake this affinity.)
  • Affinity leads to influence. (There’s a reason so many brands are attracted to NASCAR.)
  • Influence leads to conversion. (These fans would likely buy anything this driver is selling.)

Which means NASCAR fans treated exceptionally well by the sport are more likely to buy the products attached to the cars. Smart. Here’s an example of the fan affinity I witnessed.

So, let’s look at some numbers:

  • 150,000 fans in the stands were impacted by the philosophy above – a huge number for one sporting venue on one specific day but perhaps not big in the grand scheme of sports.
  • 30 million viewers watched on TV
  • 500+ million users on Facebook, 175+ million on Twitter and last year YouTube had 700+ billion views. This winning formula comprises the max potential reach.

Point being, there is huge potential when you apply this same access via social media to a larger audience. What if the same behind-the-scenes access available to fans physically at Daytona 500 was available to those billions of potential fans who are not watching the race on TV?

Fans like this one:

It turns out I wasn’t alone in my NASCAR-phobia. The response I received from non-NASCAR fans who followed my Daytona 500 adventure was overwhelming. Many who thought they disliked NASCAR had actually just never given it a chance. After seeing behind-the-scenes photos, video and other content from my time in Daytona, some decided to tune into the race for the first time ever.

And that was just me. What if NASCAR allocated more of its manpower to engaging fans and non-fans on social media utilizing the same all-access philosophy they provide those who physically attend events?

If my #GiveNASCARAChance experiment is any indicator, I would say they could tap into an enormous pool of fan potential simply by showing the true spirit of the sport – a unique mixture of athletic, engineering and mechanical prowess, a sport that truly appreciates its fans– and eclipse the overriding (false) stereotype of mullets and boredom.

I’m always stressing the importance of exposing the human behind the brand. This is being done in the physical world but why not extend it to the larger virtual world?

Of course, when it comes to racing, the cars are the stars. This makes sense for the manufacturer and the sponsors involved because the brands involved stay the same but drivers change. The representatives evolve in accordance with changing times, but the brand holds true. What if the car became the voice of the human? It’s happened before.

I’ll admit it, I was wrong about NASCAR. After removing my stigma-laden misconceptions, I was left with a new understanding of the sport: It’s unpretentious. Fans are comfortable and confident and the staff is happy to be there. I noticed a level of underlying respect exchanged between fans, staff, crews and drivers. It’s a unique and refreshing experience that I had no idea I would love. NASCAR has huge potential to reach new audiences and relevancy and social media may be the perfect channel to do convince people to give it a chance. Your move, NASCAR. Gentlemen, start your engines…

Interested in learning more about NASCAR? Here’s more of my adventure leading up to the Daytona 500:

Social Media's Super Bowl

So, the Mashable Awards are like the Super Bowl of social media. Well . . . kinda. South by Southwest and a few other events are also right up there. Anyway, I was invited to attend the awards last night and if you didn’t see the live stream . . . below were the highlights, in my opinion. Additionally, I captured a few photos to document the festivities.

It was a night for the Birds and the Bed Intruders:

Angry Birds – They received the largest buzz from the crowd last night. Rightfully so, there were 50 million downloads last year. I was fortunate to sit next to the Angry Birds on their fancy ”winner’s couch”. They left me with this souvenir for the Digital Royalty office.

Hootsuite (Owl) – I hung out with Ryan Holmes, Founder of Hootsuite, throughout the evening. Rewind a year, Ryan and I went hiking in Runyon Canyon about a year ago and along the hike he told me about his plans for Hootsuite in 2010. Mission accomplished. With more than 1 million users and a platform we claim as our favorite at Digital Royalty, Ryan was deserving of his award. It just goes to show that everything's a possibility.

Twitter – This was an interesting moment. Twitter won an award but nobody from Twitter attended to accept the honor.

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TwitChangeWell deserved! Thanks to Eva Longoria and 150+ other celebrities who had a total of 97 million+ Twitter followers (many of which are Digital Royalty clients) half a million dollars was raised for children in Haiti. After months of communication, I was able to meet the guy who thought of the idea and made it happen, Shaun King. He accepted the award. Digital Royalty was proud to lend a hand during the campaign By the way, stay tuned for the next Twitchange during the Super Bowl led by Troy Polamalu.

Bed Intruder, Antoine Dodson - As for the Bed Intruder himself. If you're not aware, a guy by the name of Antoine Dodson was on the news several months back. His serious situation and news segment has turned into an empire for him. See video above. The original Bed Intruder YouTube video has had more than 28 million views and there are countless spin-off videos with millions of views as well. The internet has allowed this to happen for Antoine. Recently, Antoine appeared in one of our client's video blogs (Dana White).

More than 1,200 people attended and for the past five years, all of us have been saying “This is the year for mobile.” Finally, it happened. Also, the “Social Good” has become a buzz word which is a very good thing.

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Celebrity Shares Phone Number with 4.3 Million Fans

It happened so quickly, some of us may not have even noticed. But one night, several weeks ago, a president of a professional sports league sent out his office phone number to over 1 million fans. By accident.

What happened next? Well, the expected. The phone began ringing off the hook and fans retweeted the phone number, spreading it like wildfire. What was less expected was when the pro sports president began fielding these calls and carried on conversations with numerous fans for close to 90 minutes.

This was Dana White, President of UFC. What was Dana’s initial reaction? “If I’m dumb enough to tweet my number on here, I’m going to sit here and I’m going to talk to these people.”

At Digital Royalty, we listened to the overwhelmingly positive fan feedback and knew we could build upon this situation, learn something from the “accident” and make it something bigger. We used Dana’s serendipitous, misfired tweet as inspiration to develop a concept that will give fans unprecedented access to this larger than life personality. We always set out to bridge the virtual and physical worlds, providing value to fans when, where and how they want to receive it.

Dana now has a socially dedicated phone line with a number that will be available through all his social media channels, which total 4.3 million fans on Facebook and Twitter combined. Whenever Dana has free time to chat with fans, he’ll turn the phone on and invite the 4.3+ million people to give him a ring. Taking time to talk with fans is something that Dana really enjoys. This concept wouldn’t work without an authentic desire to connect with his fans.
When asked about accidently tweeting his number, Dana said: “And then when it was over I was like, that was cool, I’m actually glad that happened.”

On Saturday, Dana gave his phone number to the 4.3 million fans. Within 5 minutes, his number reached over 9 million people via social media due to celebrities retweeting the number. We shared the experience virtually by hypersyndicating video of this taking place for his entire network to watch. The fan reaction was just as we anticipated. Fans from the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and all over the world called in to make their predications moments before the event. A powerful testament to social media providing a unique value to fans that can’t be found anywhere else.

The Miami Heat Goes MIA

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A few hours ago, I watched “The Decision” on ESPN and Lebron made his announcement. He’s Miami bound. So, I decided to click over to the Heat’s official Twitter page to see what they had to say and I discovered the unimaginable. They were speechless. Hadn’t tweeted a peep in over six hours.

Where were they I asked? How could they not show up to their own party? Did the NBA make them sit on their thumbs? Nope, because other NBA teams were active even though things didn’t net out as they’d hoped.

This was their time to shine. The spotlight doesn’t get much warmer than this. It was important for them to have a presence especially in the HEAT of their moment. The team just spent nearly $300 million on three people and the World was talking about them.

This was a land grab. Brand new eager fans and old fans with renewed hopes were ready to take a step up on their loyal fan ladder. They would have loved to hear from the official voice of the team. Instead, they heard an outdated message. The Heat’s Twitter page was still trying to recruit D. Wade who announced 48 hours prior that he was committed to their team along with Bosh.

What happened to the human behind the brand? Did the social media intern go on vacation? Thumb sprain perhaps? Maybe the Twitter password was misplaced? Nope, because Facebook was the same. I was expecting to see a virtual pep rally or live video of Will Smith performing “Welcome to Miami.” but instead I heard crickets.

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Wouldn’t it have been nice to have Chris Bosh and D. Wade streaming live from the court? Maybe a little Miami Thrice music playing up and under? J. Lo could have popped in to do the happy dance with crowned Heat dancers? They could have RT’d all the celebs who were celebrating, or simply expose the emotion inside the office. The Miami Heat was the glue to make a production like this happen and tell the story . . .  virtually . . . live.

There were missed sponsorship opportunities as well. The Heat could have sold their twitter background, integrated marketing partners who are welcoming King James with open arms (and open checkbooks).

Then about an hour later, they arrived. Well, kinda. They shared the same quotes from their coach that we’re also live on TV. Fans want photos, exclusive video, things nobody else can hear, what insiders are saying, what it’s like to work in the front office right now . . . these are things that only the Heat could have provided. Nobody else on this planet had access like they did. Opportunity missed.

Lesson: This space is alive and it doesn’t turn off. You can’t disappear all of a sudden because fans will stop trusting you. Fans are GRADING you at all times.

And, the way Lebron and Dan Gilbert handled this is another post.

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