Sports Networking and Social Media
In this interview, I talk with Jason Peck (Product Manager – eWayDirect) about how he has used social media to expand his network in the sports world and how he uses social media in both his personal and business life. Jason is seen as a thought leader in the Sports Social Media community as he was one of the first individuals online to really capitalize on the amazing power of social media to build a voice for yourself to talk about what you love every day. Jason recently released an ebook titled “Sports and Social Media Predictions 2010” where he gathered the thoughts of 15 individuals that are actively involved in the Sports and Social Media space online.
Meet Jason Peck
Jason Peck is the product manager of eWayDirect’s social media platform, where he works with developers on the company’s platform for branded online communities, helps clients implement successful community strategies and helps build eWayDirect’s brand online. He has been blogging for over four years on his current website (http://www.jasonfpeck.com), where he writes about the intersection of sports and social media.
As a consultant, Peck has worked with brands and startups such as Vype, ZexSports, LocalReplay, Canadian Television, and PrepChamps. At PrepChamps, he helped build the community to almost 70,000 members, and was responsible for on-site content, their email newsletter, brand presence across multiple communities, content partnerships and working with the tech team to improve the user experience.
Social Media Interview
1. How did you get started in social media?
In high school, I was mainly into sports, but my best friend was mainly into computers and the internet and I didn’t really know what that stuff was. We ended up starting a website where it allowed us to share what we were doing on the weekends with our friends. It was a blog, but very basic. That got me interested in sharing things online, figuring out what was interesting and how to connect with people. From there, I gradually got into social media starting with Facebook when it was mainly for college students only. I didn’t really think of it from a business perspective, more that it was cool.
I guess things really changed for me when Twitter came out. I actually wrote a blog post about Twitter calling it “another stalker tool”. But then, I started following people, celebrities, politicians (ie. Barack Obama). It was still early in Twitter and I didn’t have a lot of friends using it, but you could start to see how sharing things online and just being online, it was very easy to connect with people that shared similar interests.
2. How do you find the balance of managing your personal and business accounts?
I really don’t separate my account, but I don’t go out and do crazy things. There is nothing really that I do offline, with a few exceptions, that i don’t want people to know online. For example, if I’m going out to a football game and I’m tailgating and having a few beers with some friends. If I take a picture of that and put it up on Twitter or Facebook and that makes you not like me, well, then we are probably not meant to do business together or be buddies.
I guess you do have to balance that to some extent, but people want to do business with others that are interesting and trust. You have to wrap some of the personal stuff with what you are doing online.
To answer you first question, how do I manage my personal and business activity, it’s hard. I try to keep a schedule where every morning I check Twitter and email. I’ll go through my checklist of responding to people, to see who’s mentioned me or who is talking about our company. I probably should get a better system, but that is the tough part about social media. It really is hard to scale your personal conversations and connections.
There really is so much out there and you need to pick and choose. Just because someone tells you that you need to be on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, it doesn’t mean you have to do it in the next 5 minutes. I think you have to pick one, get comfortable with it and go from there.
3. Which social accounts do you focus on the most?
Twitter is the big one for me. It is so easy. It is my news firehouse, way to find out about what people are saying, way to find out about what is important and a way to meet interesting people.
Linkedin is good for converting an off-line connection to make that connection more formal online. I try to hit up the Linkedin groups, answer questions and try to be helpful.
Facebook is something I use more for personal because it started as something that I used to keep in touch with friends from college.
I use other tools like Google Alerts for keeping up to date on keywords, Social Mention and Netvibes as a listening dashboard.
4. What other resources do you use online to keep up with trends?
With regards to sports, I check SportsMarketing20.com. It’s a great community of people that are interested in sports, new media and technology. Chris Brogan has an awesome blog. He’s one of the most passionate guys I know in the social media space. Amber Naslund writes AltitudeBranding.com. SocialMediaExplorer.com is another good one.
It’s kind of interesting, but I used to read, well try to read 50 blogs per day in my RSS reader. But, for me, Twitter has replaced that a little bit. Because I know that if I am following people that are smart and that I trust, and a number of them are mentioning an article, it’s probably something that I would find interesting. So, I don’t necessarily have to try to keep up on everything on my own now, I rely on those that are my friends and contacts online to tell me what’s interesting.
5. Do you have a social media WOW moment?
I don’t really have one of those huge moments, but I did have a good experience from a customer service perspective a few years ago. It was with a small screencasting software company called Jing. I was having problems with it and couldn’t get it to work right, so I just tweeted “Hey, I’m having a problem with Jing, is anyone else using this?”. Within 5 minutes, the founder of the company had responded to me and asked me to send him my phone number and email address so he could address my problem. I thought, if the CEO from a small, underfunded startup company could get back to me in 5 minutes, what could a giant brand like Nike or Coke or a sports team do from a customer service standpoint.
From a sports side of things, what really got me excited about blogging was following Gilbert Arenas. He was probably the first major pro athlete to not just have boring thoughts and canned material, but he talked about his personal life, thoughts and behind the scenes. Looking at him blogging was a turning point to think that other players and celebrities should be doing this stuff as well.
6. Do you have any advice for someone just starting out in social media?
It depends, if you are looking at it from an individual perspective, you have to decide what you want to get out of it. Are you looking ways to save time? Then maybe you should setup your accounts in a way that can allow you to manage your accounts in an efficient way. If you are looking to connect with people at different events or are looking to learn from people, then Twitter might be the answer.
Before doing anything, what a lot of people tell companies to do is listen. Ask people what they want to hear from you as opposed to guessing what you should be writing on your social media accounts.
Connect with Jason
Skype Name: SportsBizGuy
Personal Website/Blog: http://www.jasonfpeck.com
Business Website/Blog: http://blog.ewaydirect.com
Facebook (Personal): http://facebook.com/jasonpeck
Twitter (Personal): http://twitter.com/jasonpeck
Twitter (Business): http://twitter.com/ewaydirect