VIDEO: Tapping Athletes and Advocates for Brand Storytelling at Scale

Sports marketing pros at MLB, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks discuss how they scale social media engagement leveraging their athletes.

PhotoShelter’s 20/21 Vision: The Workflow Summit banner on panel for athlete advocacy

Great creative doesn’t work if it isn’t seen. Publishing content on your brand’s official social media channels without boosting it with ad dollars only goes so far. Distributing more content to your brand advocates to post is the new organic way to increase reach and engagement. 

Listen to how some of the biggest names in sports discuss how tapping athletes for advocacy marketing ensures that media reaches as many people on social media as possible in this panel at PhotoShelter’s 20/21 Vision: The Workflow Summit event. 

Panelists Karen Ramming, Social Media Director for the Golden State Warriors, joined EJ Aguado, Player Marketing Manager at Major League Baseball (MLB), and Patrick Hooper, Director, Integrated Marketing for the San Jose Sharks. Andrew Patterson, SVP of Partnerships and Strategy at Greenfly, moderated the discussion. 

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“These guys play 162 games in 175 days. So, if you’re going to add any habit to their daily routine, that needs to be an efficient habit. And we believe that the Player Social program through Greenfly is as efficient as it gets.”

— EJ Aguado, Player Marketing Manager, Major League Baseball 

Sports marketers everywhere have had to adapt across all of these areas quickly. These leading organizations are successfully using advocacy marketing principles and technology to amplify content to fans far beyond the reach of their owned social accounts. 

The three marketers each found that social and digital channels filled content and fan connection gaps when the pandemic forced teams into remote play and empty sports venues. Ramming noted how her team pivoted to social media to replicate gameday experiences and continue executing sports partnership contracts. Aguado and his team used IG Live and other content formats to collaborate with MLB players for direct athlete-to-fan connections. 

Hooper shared how advocates, social media and technology enabled the Sharks staff to provide compelling content during both their first remote NHL Draft and remote training camp. The team exchanged content with draft prospects through Greenfly and also onboarded Sharks365 fans to create media welcoming these players. The remote training camp forced the team to think creatively about producing content with a socially distanced, skeleton crew. They adapted by co-creating media with players, showcasing their personalities and authentic stories. 

Remming echoed her team’s efforts to humanize players with content highlighting their lives off the court — building emotional player-fan bonds and brand loyalty. And Aguado spoke about the MLB Player Social program, which distributes content daily to over 965 players, helping them develop their personal brands on social and grow the sport — particularly among Gen-Z audiences.  

The panelists shared how they each use Greenfly +Connect to integrate with PhotoShelter to get personalized media to athletes for immediate and easy posting to their social networks. Ramming found that athletes understand the importance of building their own social presence and personal brand through content. Hooper has seen success using a bi-directional content exchange with players and understanding their social content needs and interests to tailor media. Aguado spoke about sharing a wide variety of content within the league and teams, and with players, including media captured by the MLB’s Live Content Creators and photographers, custom player graphics, and hype video edits.

All of the panelists agreed that social and digital media’s currency has never been higher with changes brought by the pandemic era. 

Watch the full panel discussion above. And download our new story on how Abu Dhabi Cricket has used the Greenfly-PhotoShelter integration to get edited live tournament images distributed to players in just over one minute and give fans a more engaging experience beyond the broadcast.

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