Speaking the Fans’ Language(s)
In my day job, I see tweets, upon tweets, upon tweets.
I see thousands of tweets each day. But, there was one tweet that caught my eye recently that stood out from the rest.
— CSUN Athletics (@GoMatadors) September 4, 2014
Upon further investigation, I found one from a different Cal State Northridge Twitter account:
— CSUN Men's Soccer (@CSUNMensSoccer) September 4, 2014
When I think of Spanish tweeting sports accounts, I think of Major League Baseball. Their @LasMayores Twitter account tweets league, team news solely in Spanish. At last check, they had over 112k followers. (Side note: They have 113k Likes on Facebook as well.) In addition to LasMayores, there are 15 MLB teams with Spanish-language Twitter accounts – some of which joined the platform as early as 2009.
Tweets in Spanish from a team account were nothing new to me. So, why did the Cal State Northridge tweets pique my curiosity? They weren’t the first in college to do so. The Miami Hurricanes follow the MLB model with a Spanish-specific account of their own, @LosHuricanes. Big Hispanic/Latino influence in Miami, the Canes understand their audience.
So what was it about these other tweets then?
They came from what looked like to me, a predominantly English speaking account at a non-power conference school. Fascinating and innovative. But, what was the impetus for this?
According to Kevin Strauss, Assistant Sports Information Director at Cal State Northridge (CSUN), this is actually another step in their fan engagement process. Fan engagement in terms of asking for fan input and…listening to it. Says Strauss, “On June 2nd, we launched the “Rise of the Matadors” pride campaign. In addition to new logos and word marks for our athletics department, our goal was and is to connect back with the roots of the University. According to census data, nearly half of all residents in Los Angeles identify themselves as hispanic (CSUN is located in Northridge, CA, a suburb inside Los Angeles city limits). Knowing our community and providing our news and updates in English and Spanish helps us reach all of those that are invested in our University and programs. “
This initiative isn’t a new thing for CSUN. Back in 2010, Strauss says, CSUN began recapping stories with a Spanish translation for men’s soccer. According to Strauss, CSUN’s Director of Communication, Jorge Martin, and his team, “have made Spanish-language news a priority high on our list”. Tweeting sports news in Spanish is a natural evolution in the Matadors efforts to connect with fans.
CSUN isn’t the only one who is venturing to connect with their Hispanic/Latino fanbase. The Pacific Tigers of the West Coast Conference (WCC)will be highlighting the return of men’s soccer with some Spanish-specific initiatives later this month.
I spoke with WCC Associate Commissioner Jeff Tourial about the Tigers’ plans. Tourial is in charge of Broadcast Administration & Strategic Communications for the conference which includes their livestream platform at TheW.tv.
Men’s soccer was recently added back to the Pacific Tiger sports fold this year after a nearly 20 year hiatus at the Division I level. As part of the process, Tourial says, Pacific is aiming to broadcast at least two of their men’s soccer games later this month in both English and Spanish. Along with the broadcasts, @PacificMSoccer will begin sending occasional tweets in Spanish. Tourial told me that all broadcasts will be available on mobile and tablet devices as well as online making it easy for fans to watch Tigers’ soccer.
CSUN and Pacific display the best asset for any school, team or brand when it comes to social media: listening.
But, they’re also speaking their fans’ language.
In this case, bilingually.
Know of any other teams or schools stepping up their efforts to reach the Hispanic/Latino community? Let me know on Twitter, @CadChica.