@MichaelPhelps takes over @Ravens to live-tweet game

Friday, 13 December 2013

For their first-ever account takeover, the @Ravens recruited one of their most famous fans to live-tweet their game against the @Vikings on December 8: @MichaelPhelps.

The 22-time Olympic medalist tweeted from the @Ravens Twitter account throughout their snowy showdown and unforgettable finish.

As a result, fans stormed to his live-tweet session: @Ravens saw 2.6x as many as Retweets as its daily average, 3.9x as many favorites and 4x as many followers, according to Twitter internal data.

Here’s how the @Ravens teamed with Phelps to great success. Inspired by the account takeover the @49ers did in the preseason, the @Ravens thought Phelps would be a great candidate. He’s from Baltimore and also a big Ravens fan who attends almost every home game, according to Dave Lang, the Ravens’ digital media manager. The team contacted Phelps to gauge his interest, and the swimmer was receptive and excited.

He said yes to me right away and thought it was something he could really have fun doing.

— Garrett Downing(@gdowning14)Ravens digital media staff writer

On the Tuesday and Wednesday before the game, @Ravens tweeted that they would have a surprise guest taking over the account. On Thursday they announced that Phelps would take the helm at Sunday’s game and continued to promote the takeover throughout the week.

On the morning of the game, @MichaelPhelps reminded his 1.4 million followers to follow his @Ravens live-Tweeting.

Downing set Phelps up with a laptop, and suggested that Phelps use TweetDeck during the takeover to track @replies, hashtag mentions and other interactions. Phelps tweeted regularly throughout the three-and-a-half-hour game.

His most retweeted Tweet came during the game’s crazy finish.

“It was great to have Mike’s reaction Tweets to the late-game events, which were probably the same reactions many of our fans had,” Lang said.

Lang said that instead of signing each Tweet with “MP” Phelps decided to include an original hashtag, #MPtakeover, which organized the conversation and made it easier for people to converse with the Olympian. According to Topsy, there were 14,840 Tweets with #MPtakeover.

I came by at halftime to see how it was going, and he was pumped that the #MPtakeover hashtag was trending in Baltimore and other cities.

— Garrett Downing(@gdowning14)Ravens digital media staff writer

In fact, during halftime Phelps did a little impromptu contest with fans to come up with an additional hashtag for the second half.

He retweeted the winner: #PurpleSnowDay. Subsequently, his second-half Tweets included both hashtags, such as this heavily-retweeted playful jab at @steelers coach Mike Tomlin:

“The original plan was for him to just tweet in the first half, but he was having so much fun with it, he wanted to continue through the end of the game,” Lang said.

When the game finished, Phelps handed the reins back to the team, but not before thanking fans and the Ravens.

With the success of the Phelps’ live Tweet, Lang said that the team plans to do another account takeover in the future. And they already have a volunteer: @Orioles All-Star outfielder Adam Jones (@SimplyAJ10).

Do you know of other innovative uses of Twitter? Write to [email protected].