The Round Rock Express are a class Triple-A Pacific Coast League minor league baseball team in Round Rock, Texas just north of Austin. The team is currently affiliated with the Texas Rangers and play their home games at Dell Diamond. The stadium can seat more than 11,600 fans. It opened its gates in 2000 and has been home to the Round Rock Express since then. The marketing team for the Round Rock Express wanted to explore how they could engage their fans more and increase their presence and awareness on Social Media.
Ball clubs depend on fans coming to the game as a key financial success factor. The metropolitan Austin area population has grown by more than 50% since the team began playing at Dell Diamond in 2000. Though the average attendance has been on a slow uptick over the last few years, the increase has not kept pace with the surrounding population growth.
The Round Rock Express marketing team knows that its fans are incredibly enthusiastic and loyal. They felt they needed to raise the awareness of the team and attract more attendance to the ballpark. Traditional media has its costs and limitations associated with it, so the marketing team decided they would try Social Media to achieve higher awareness and engagement, which they believe will drive a long-term increase in the number of fans attending games.
Working with Social Flash Media, the Round Rock Express decided to initially deploy a single Social Flash “SURGE” unattended photo kiosk at the stadium to see if fans would use it. What intrigued the Round Rock Express marketing team was the social nature of the photos being taken. Not only did fans take more than 140 photos every game, but they chose to share them immediately across their personal social network.
Like most ballclubs, the Round Rock Express also had special days to attract a greater audience. For instance, they have a Princess Night where children come to the game dressed in costume, Military Appreciation Night, Harry Potter Night, and other themed experiences. The Social Flash SURGE Kiosk would capture these built-in experiences and allow the fans to share that moment.
Continuing to broaden their engagement, the Round Rock Express deployed Social Flash Media’s MOBILE product about the stadium grounds. Express representatives running iPads and running the Social Flash MOBILE application could capture and brand photographs anywhere and have those images sent by text or email to the fans on-the-spot for sharing on social networks. With several iPads deployed in the field, the photo count typically surged from about 140 per game, to over 700 photos per game. Of course, this proportionately drove incremental digital engagements.
As you can see from the photos below, the Social Flash MOBILE offering acts like a portable photo booth and can capture real-life experiences in the field. The Social Flash Media app can use the same promotional campaigns that are on the Kiosk and can switch between campaigns through a simple swipe across the screen. Fans receive their photos immediately after they are taken and sent from the iPad.
The Round Rock Express dramatically increased their social presence and awareness using Social Flash Media’s SURGE Kiosk and MOBILE products. Their happy fans became brand ambassadors for the team. The sharing of their experiences over their personal social networks provided tremendous leverage across a very broad front.
During the 70 games this season, over 5,000 groups of fans took more than 9,500 photos using the Social Flash SURGE Kiosk – not counting the additional photos taken with the MOBILE solution later in the season. Just over 15,500 copies of the branded photos were sent out to fans. In turn, this created more than 1,600 shared posts on Facebook and Twitter, 58,000 digital engagements, and over 12,300 clicks to their website. Additionally, nearly 26,000 clicks went to their branded landing pages where nearly 800 fans opted-in to their email list in this process.
The Social Media Marketing strategy Round Rock Express implemented worked extremely well. The overall engagement level in an execution like this tends to be much higher than paid advertising at a fraction of the amount of money. Influencer Marketing was one key success factor here. Round Rock Express fans shared their KIOSK and MOBILE photos on Facebook and Twitter and their social endorsement was extremely well received by their network. Members of a personal social network form a circle of trust. Consumers are increasingly relying on their circle of trusted friends for recommendations and relying less on company advertising. The second success factor was the scale that was achieved. By leveraging the thousands of personal social networks of each of their engaged fans with each network having hundreds of members, the Round Rock Express was able to generate more than 58,000 brand engagements. This level of awareness and engagements should drive lots of new business to their games ahead.
For each game, hundreds of photos were taken and sent to our fans for free. Those fans shared many of them on Facebook and Twitter. These shared photos made their way out to tens of thousands of their friends, and almost 17,000 comments or likes on the photos on Facebook. We feel this has raised our awareness in the community tremendously.
We have since used the Social Flash MOBILE version on iPads. This lets us get up close and personal to the families and friends in our stadium and capture. This mobility has allowed the Express to capture the true essence of going to a Minor League ballgame.
The service we have received has been stellar and far exceeded our initial expectations. The technology behind the Social Flash Media platform is genius. It takes care of all the complex stuff and so easy to use. We have found a marketing tool that can instantly change to any of our themed promotion games such as Star Wars Night, Fauxback Weekend or Princess Night. Now via Social Media we can reach out to tens of thousands of prospective new fans in the area and promote future attractions to existing and new fans. The Social Flash Media platform has been a game changer for us. I think that every sports franchise and complex is missing the ball if they don’t consider Social Flash Media.”