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It’s no secret social media is becoming more integrated in our daily lives. This is changing how we consume content.

MediaPost’s June 2016 report found that 87 percent of 13- to 24-year-olds use social media to regularly consume sports-related content. It’s no wonder companies are investing more time and resources into marketing and PR.

If you’re interested in finding work in sports or just a big fan, you need to know who to follow and understand the impact social media has on the consumer and fan experience.

Here’s a look at the best sports teams, events, and athletes you should be following on social media:

LA Rams

With so much competition in social media, sports teams are trying to step up their game to engage their fans. Attention is the most valuable commodity in a world of newsfeeds and Snapcodes.

The LA Rams are among the most fun, engaging social media presences. For example, they allow their fans to vote on the design of their new uniforms. They can cast votes on Twitter and Facebook.  

By getting fans involved in decision making, they’re giving them a purpose, and that purpose is shaping the future of the organization.

Cristiano Ronaldo

As one of the greatest soccer players of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo is a must-follow. His Twitter account, which has more than 50 million followers, is consistently active.

Best of all, he often shares positive and influential content. For example, he raises awareness for the Syrian crisis and Save the Children, posts pictures of his family, and shares images of his training. He’s educating his followers on important causes, sharing personal information in a fun way, and inspiring athletes with content centered on his conditioning.

When you work in sports, you need to remember the importance of making human connections. It’s easy to forget when you’re just looking at numbers and graphs on followers and engagement trends, but those numbers are real people having real experiences with your content.

Clemson Football

When we spoke with Shripal Shah, a lecturer in the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies Sports Industry Management program, he noted that Clemson stood out as one of the best Twitter accounts in sports.

“They have a unique personality and know how to connect with their fans,” he said. “They provide very entertaining and creative content.”

Clemson frequently posts snackable, fast-paced videos that are immersive and exciting, along with beautiful graphics. Shah highlighted the many benefits teams get with a robust social media strategy.

“It allows a sports team or brand to connect with their audience on a daily basis year-round,” he said. “They can also capture data from their fans and apply that to make their season ticket or partial ticket campaigns more effective when they launch them later in the year.”

When you understand how social media is changing the sports industry, you will know how to find work in sports and how to add value to that field.

Ohio State Buckeyes

The social media strategy for Ohio State’s football program has a specific goal. Zach Swartz, the Director of New & Creative Media, told Sports Illustrated, “Making this recruiting department the best in the country and having someone in here on a daily basis produce the content and get it out to the recruits. That’s the number one goal.”

Social media is creating a lot of new opportunities for work in sports. Swartz’s job was recently created, and he now oversees capturing important moments, telling stories, and producing content that gives recruits and fans a peek behind the scenes.

“My job isn’t making this program look good,” he says, “but being just the conduit to put it out there.”

The Buckeyes’ Twitter feed speaks for itself. They use unique hashtags, incorporate snackable content (like short videos) and emojis, and create fun graphics to celebrate team successes and raise awareness for their program.

Super Bowl 51

This year’s Super Bowl was not lacking drama or spectacle, giving social media plenty of reasons to explode with engagement.

According to Twitter Data, the hashtag #SB51 was mentioned 27.6 million times during the game and the pre- and post-game coverage. They also shared a map showing geotagging during the game.

After pulling off the biggest Super Bowl comeback victory in history, the Patriots shared some intimate celebration photos. These engagements get fans excited and develop a strong relationship. Fans feel like they’re a part of the action and can share in the excitement of their victory.

A Look Ahead

Good news for those who want to work in sports: there are several doors opening. We spoke to Allison Tucker, who also works as a lecturer in the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies Sports Industry Management program, and she shed some light on the opportunities for companies to engage their following.

“As technology evolves, communication evolves, and this is the most real-time communication vehicle on the market,” she said. “Social and digital media will continue to shape how sports marketers address fans and their needs.”

She also explained how social media changes the dynamics of the brand-consumer relationship. Not everyone who follows brands and companies started following them because of an ad campaign. Tucker points out that these are just passionate fans and customers.

This opens up opportunities for marketers to reach new audiences. Corporate partners can collaborate to reach similar market demographics.

The future looks bright for those looking to work in sports. You just need to identify how to use your skills and experience to create value in the industry. When you follow these social media accounts and stay informed about best practices, you’re learning from the best.

What social media accounts are you following? How do you plan on finding work in sports?

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