Live-tweeters boost in-game @Suns conversation on Twitter

Friday, 27 June 2014

As the @NBA season was winding down and playoffs were on the horizon, the Phoenix @Suns looked for ways to increase Twitter conversation during the home stretch.

The @Suns joined forces with Fox Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) and NBA TV (@NBATV) and hosted three rounds of celebrity live-tweeters to engage with fans and boost overall Twitter conversation. Former Super Bowl MVP @Kurt13Warner, @AZCardinals all-pro wideout @LarryFitzgerald and two on-air personalities (@LeighEllis and @jeskeets) from The Starters joined the conversation to live-tweet games.

The @nba, @FOXSPORTSAZ and @NBATV joined forces to drive conversation around games with celebrity live-tweeters.

The Suns coordinated the live-tweeting with the broadcast by including pre-game calls to action and on-air hits throughout the game. They encouraged fans to participate in the conversation on Twitter by tweeting questions and joining in on the celebrities’ color-commentary. Comparing these four examples of live-tweeting to the average without showed an overall 18 percent increase in authors and a 34 percent increase in Tweets throughout the game.

Check out our custom timeline of some highlights from the three live-tweeted games.

Kurt Warner

Warner, former quarterback and Super Bowl XXXIV MVP with the @AZCardinals, appeared on the Suns’ pre-game show on March 28 and told the audience that he would be tweeting during the game. He encouraged fans to tweet with him and ask him questions.

The @Suns also tweeted to tell their fans that Warner was live-tweeting from US Airways Center in Phoenix and they should join the conversation.

He showed off his sense of humor and proved his good luck. He even suggested that the @Suns should put him in the game if they have a big lead.

He did an on-air hit with Fox Sports during the first quarter, appearing on screen to encourage fans once again to tweet with him to support the Suns. His username and the #AskKurt hashtag were also displayed in a graphic on air.

During the game, Fox Sports showed an on-air graphic with this Tweet from Fitzgerald to Warner, who tweeted back at his former teammate.

In all, @Kurt13Warner gained three times as many followers as his daily average and drew five times as many overall mentions that day.

Larry Fitzgerald

Like Warner, Fitzgerald promoted his live-tweeting on air with Fox Sports, calling out his username and the hashtag #AskFitz courtside in Phoenix on April 2.

Both @Suns and @NBA tweeted the announcement to get the word out to fans.

Fitzgerald provided enthusiastic commentary throughout the game and answered fan questions, from his prediction for who will win the upcoming Final Four to his favorite movie.

There were 870 mentions of the #AskFitz hashtag.

That day, @LarryFitzgerald saw 42 times more Retweets and 16 times more favorites than his average day. Overall his account had three times more mentions than usual.

Skeets and Ellis

The live-tweeting from #TheStarters TV show and podcast would not have been possible without the endless efforts of both NBA TV and guests from #TheStarters. NBA TV produced a two-minute segment for the Suns broadcast as part of their collaboration with #TheStarters, the Suns and Fox Sports Arizona prior to tip-off. Co-hosts J.E. Skeets and Leigh Ellis live-tweeted on April 12 during an away game for the @Suns against the @dallasmavs.

The usual parties all tweeted in advance; the @Suns account even had some fun with it.

Fox Sports also promoted the live-tweeting, displaying the two usernames and hashtag in a graphic on screen, as you can see from this @jeskeets Tweet:

They tweeted puns, play-by-play and hypothetical matchups involving the two teams’ players.

Both Skeets and Ellis saw boosts in engagement and followers as a result. @jeskeets gained 15 times more followers than the average day, while @LeighEllis had 39 times more favorites and a whopping 97 times more Retweets than usual. The hashtag #TheStarters was mentioned more than 2,000 times.

All data references are based on Twitter internal data.

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