Sports Marketing + Social Media = The Future of Sports!
In this interview, I talk with Brian Gainor (Founder – PartnershipActivation.com) about how social media has allowed him to expand his personal network and provide valuable insights on new, creative ways the sports industry is leveraging new technology to provide more engage sponsorship and marketing ideas. Brian is a well respected sports blogger that has been able to build a business around his passion for sports.
Meet Brian Gainor
Brian Gainor is a passionate sports marketer with agency experience as well as an extensive background working in the NFL, NFL Europe, and collegiate athletics. Brian Gainor founded Partnership Activation Inc., as a means to provide sports business professionals with consultation of industry best practices and innovative sponsorship/marketing concepts.
Since its inception, Brian has used http://www.PartnershipActivation.com and the Partnership Activation 2.0 newsletter as portals to educate and network with those working in sports business around the globe. He has been featured in CNBC, ESPN.com, SportsBusiness Daily, and Yahoo! Sports.
Social Media Interview
1. When did you first start using social media to communicate with your audience on Partnership Activation?
I first started Partnership Activation in February 2008 and had been working at a sports marketing agency. I felt like I need to start something on the side to really differentiate myself in the business. My end goal was to network, share industry best practices and ideas. I had been using social media for 6-7 years and first started back in college. It’s really evolved over the past few years and is really exciting to see where it is today to where I started with things back in 2008.
I saw an opportunity out there to put out more content that included new sponsorship ideas for sports. We’ve started to see other blogs now catch on like TheBusinessOfSports.com and SponsorPitch.com. It’s great to see this movement come on the past few years where people are starting to share ideas to help others in the industry.
2. How do you find the balance between managing your personal and business social accounts?
I’m kind of fortunate since many of my friends and colleagues all work in sports. So, my personal and business life intertwine. I really use the blog, PartnershipActivation.com and Linkedin to focus on the business aspect.
As for my Twitter account, I use it more from a personal perspective where people get to know me and my personal opinions. But, it is also another great means to drive traffic back to my website. I love throwing out personal thoughts and connecting with people one on one because that’s what it’s all about. Twitter is best for networking and connecting with like minded people and seeing where our paths might cross down the line.
3. How do you use other accounts like Facebook and YouTube?
I use Facebook as a great way to stay in touch with family and friends. I’ve developed a Partnership Activation Facebook Fan Page to compliment all of the other stuff I’ve done with the business website.
I use YouTube to find out the newest viral videos and will post them on my website and tweet them out to my followers on Twitter.
4. Are there any particular tools that you use to manage your social accounts more efficiently?
Hootsuite is a great platform to use, especially if you are on Twitter because you can easily copy and paste links. It is kind of a one stop shop for managing your social media accounts.
A lot of people connect all of their accounts together. The only ones I connect together is Twitter to my Linkedin. The reason being, on Linkedin, they have a status update function and a lot of times when I send out a tweet on Twitter, the topic is relevant to someone that might be looking at my profile on Linkedin.
I’m starting to get a lot more active with Foursquare as well. I believe it’s going to have a big impact on the sports world. I’m trying to “check in” to as many places as I can to stay ahead of the curve since there are going to be a lot of people experimenting and trying to learn what it is.
5. What resources do you use to keep up with social media trends?
I use a mix of traditional and non-traditional sites. For sports business content I always check out SportsBusinessDaily.com and IEG.com on a daily basis. At the same time, a lot of my content comes from people I follow on Twitter such as Jason Peck, Darren Rovel, Russel Scibetti and Lewis Howes. Those guys do a great job of putting out content.
I actually find a lot of content on Flickr. It’s a great photo sharing tool. If you navigate the site and search with certain targeted keywords, you can find quite a bit of unique and recent content. Also, on YouTube, if you go to the “Browse” section and choose “Sports” you can find the recent rising videos, the most viewed videos of the day and the most watched videos.
6. Do you have a WOW social media moment?
I don’t know if I have a particular story about connecting with a particular person, but for me it’s been amazing to start my site 2 years ago and now see it grow into 50,000 hits/month and the newsletter goes out to 5000 sports business professionals across 40 countries.
I’m now on Skype in the morning with guys that work in the sports business in Europe and they are filling me in on new trends in the UK. I just think it’s very powerful that without social media and PartnershipActivation.com, I would never have been able to connect with people across 40 countries in all aspects of the industry including agencies, teams, brands and people that are selling promotional products.
It just goes to show you that if you put a little bit of time in and learn how to use the social networking tools, it can really do a lot for your professional brand and your career. I think it’s been really cool that you can connect with people all around the world.
7. Do you have any advice for other people just getting started with social media?
My one piece of advice is don’t be afraid to try to be a thought leader and an expert in your industry. I think that’s the best way to elevate your career and keep it moving forward. I think a lot of people are nervous or hesitant to start in social media or start a blog. But, it’s really so simple.
I got started using a blog service called SquareSpace.com. It costs between $20-30/month. It’s really easy to setup and navigate, even if you have limited knowledge of HTML. Either that or just use WordPress. It’s relatively easy to use and I think that if you just make that initial step by starting with a blog or getting active with a Twitter account, you’ll be really surprised by the results and the people you can connect with.
One of the most underrated things about Twitter is the networking opportunities. There are so many people on Twitter that are open to discussion. I think it’s a missed opportunity if you are not on Twitter or if you don’t have a full profile on Linkedin. I think it’s really easy, it just takes some initial effort to get going and then you’ll feel more confident about what you are doing. It really doesn’t take much these days to make an impact.
I encourage anyone watching this video to reach out and connect with me. I’d love to hear your story and hopefully our paths will cross somewhere down the line.
Connect With Brian
Skype Name: PartnershipActivation
Partnership Activation Website: http://www.PartnershipActivation.com
Facebook (Fan Page): http://www.facebook.com/pages/Partnership-Activation/126025237417578