SGP 017: Chris Freet on Hurricanes Game Pass & Facebook in NFL & EPL with Agorapulse

Sports Geek Podcast available on iTunesIn this Sports Geek Podcast we look at the College Football scene with Chris Freet from the University of Miami.  Chris talks about Hurricanes Game Pass a new loyalty system to reward the season ticket holders.  We chat with Emeric Ernoult from Agorapulse about latest in Facebook trends as we compare the Facebook activity of teams in UK  with Manchester United & Arsenal and USA with Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers, see the infographics below.


More specifically, in this podcast you’ll find out about:

  • How NCAA football fan differs from NFL fan
  • How loyalty is helping develop a clearer picture of the fan
  • Finding the balance to reward fans in loyalty systems
  • Hurricanes USocial suite activation
  • How Facebook Edgerank changes may affect your page
  • What are the ramifications of the latest Facebook Promotion guidelines
  • How you can use Agorapulse to acquire more data from your digital fan base

Check out Hurricanes Game Pass

Resources from the episode

English Premier League Teams Vs National Football League

Manchester United Vs Liverpool on Facebook using Agorapulse

NFL on Facebook - Green Bay Packers Vs San Francisco 49ers


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Podcast transcription

Sean: Welcome to episode 17 of the Sports Geek Podcast. In this week’s episode we talk to Chris Freet from the University of Miami, and we talk to Emeric Ernoult from Agorapulse on Facebook Stats in the EPL and the NFL.

DJ Joel: Welcome to the Sports Geek Podcast, the podcast built for sports digital and sports business professionals. And now here’s your host who is actually taller and younger on the Internet, Sean Callanan.

Sean: Thanks, DJ Joel. My name is Sean Callanan, and you’re listening to the Sports Geek Podcast. Thank you very much for downloading and listening. We’ve just 5,000 downloads, so a big thanks for everyone who has supported the podcast so far, and for those who have been sharing it on their networks. On this week’s show I catch up with Chris Freet from the University of Miami. I met Chris at SEAT Conference in Kansas City, and he talked with me, with Francis Leach, on ABC Grandstand about a new season ticket holder activation that they’re doing in a loyalty program that they rolled out for this football season. After that we’ll be chatting with Emeric Ernoult from Agorapulse, in comparing the Facebook activity of teams in the EPL and the NFL. But first, here’s my discussion with Chris Freet on ABC Grandstand.

Francis: I’m Francis Leach. Here’s Sean Callanan. He’s from Sports Geek HQ, and he’s with us to talk sports in the digital space again. How are you, mate?

Sean: I’m good, thanks Francis.

Francis: The college football season has just got underway in the United States. I’m always fascinated by how college football finds a space in the market so enormous for itself, when the monster of the NFL football looms large at the same time, but they’ve done it brilliant. Then also keeping up with the times and leveraging probably their most valuable asset, which is the passion of their fans.

Sean: Definitely. College football, it’s a bit hard to tell from Australia, but it is massive business. They pretty much dominate Saturday. They’ve sort of got the gentleman’s agreement. The NFL is leaking out into other parts of the week, but . . .

Francis: . . . Saturday’s preserved.

Sean: . . . Saturday is college football. Whether you’re an alumni and you’re still following, or you’re a student, they are some of the best games from an atmosphere point of view. You’re not getting the corporate crowd that you might get at a pro game. I’ve been to a couple of college basketball games and a couple of college football games. The atmosphere that the students bring and the pride they have in their school knows no bounds. I think they had 115,000 at the college football game between, I think Michigan was in it. Massive crowds. They’re really looking at the same sort of problems that pro teams are having in serving their season ticket holders, and making sure that people keep attending. And that those season ticket holders are happy fans and turning up. It’s a relatively short season, it’s not a lot of games, so they really want to maximize . . .

Francis: It’s going to an event.

Sean: It is. Each game matters. I don’t want go into the Al Pacino, “Fight for every inch” kind of speech, but because it’s such a short season, every game matters for rankings. It’s started to move towards a college playoff kind of thing. It’s a really big business.

Francis: Chris Freet would know about what it means to actually turn each of these games into an event and keep his tribe happy. He joins us now. He’s the Associate Athletics Director of Communications and Marketing at the University of Miami. Good day Chris, how are you going?

Chris: I’m doing well. Thank you for the opportunity to jump on with you guys today.

Sean: Good day, Chris. Can you just give us a little bit of background? You’ve had a good start to the season with the Hurricanes. Can you give us a bit of a background of what your job entails, and what you’re looking to do to serve the Hurricanes fans?

Chris: Yeah, and I appreciate the conversation you had before I joined you. You’re exactly right about the passion that’s around college football. It is not too different in terms of the intensity of it, from international soccer. Probably very similar to what you guys see with Australian Rules football, and then certainly what we see around the world with rugby. But there isn’t anything that compares in the United States. I’m fortunate to work in that environment.

My job at the University of Miami is to work with our athletic department, programs, and oversee the communications marketing and ticket sales areas. Not only am I working on the messaging, but I’m working on the engagement on game days, and trying to take that passion from sometimes what would be a 7 on a scale from 1 to 10, and always keep it at a 10. As loud and proud as humanly possible.

Francis: Chris, how do you differentiate yourself in tone and culture in the digital space, from the NFL brands, which are big, cashed up, and omnipotent?

Chris: I think the biggest difference is the connection that individuals have to the college that they attended. It’s just a different affinity. The professional ranks in the United States, and I don’t mean this as a slam, but it’s a transactional relationship. You pay to go to the games, you go to them on Sundays, and you move about your way.

College, especially if you’re an alum with the institution, you spent four or five years on that campus. So not only do a lot of the intangible things that happened on that campus, not only does the degree that you get from that university mean a lot more, but those formidable years of becoming an adult, the college athletics experience, can be some of the most remarkable moments that these individuals have in their life.

So it’s just a totally different connection. I’m not sure that there’s an exact way to define it, but there certainly is a greater affinity, and that’s where we stand out the most.

Sean: Chris, one of the things that you’ve launched this year is Hurricanes Game Pass around your season ticket holder base, with the Hurricanes football. Do you want to give us a little bit of explanation of what that is, and what that’s trying to do?

Chris: Yeah. Essentially, in the States here, if you have a rewards card at a grocery store or a market or a technology store like Best Buy, what this does is it allows you to track what you do on your game day, in terms of what time you get in the stadium, whether or not you attend the game. It also allows you to track and earn points for concessions, for merchandise, if you buy a jersey at the game. And then we’ve taken it another step further. If you’re buying merchandise, if you’re buying memorabilia, if you’re buying autographed goods or those types of things online, through our online shop, we’re also pulling in those points.

So essentially, really what we’re doing is rewarding our fans for what they normally do in the course of any given season. We’re really excited about the data that’s going to come out of it, because I think it’s going to give us a greater insight into the people that support our brand than we’ve probably ever had before.

Francis: What sort of rewards can you offer them, Chris?

Chris: It’s everything. Some of it’s experiential. Some of it’s going to be Nike Dollars. Nike’s one of our premier sponsors. Some of it’s going to be upgrade your seats. Move from the upper level of our stadium to the lower level of our stadium. Some of it’s going to be a private dinner with a VIP with our program, an alum, or maybe even one of our head coaches.

Sean: So how do you balance the rewards component of it, and what the fans are naturally going to do? Because you don’t want to have that mentality of that entitlement of a fan, of, “Hey, I deserve a VIP dinner,” or those kinds of things. Really, you’re just tapping into what they’re doing naturally. How do you balance that? How many rewards are too many rewards?

Chris: That’s a good question. I think some of that’s a learning process for us. We want to make the rewards a challenge in our first year. If you want to buy lower-tier items, or if you want to cash in your rewards for some of the lower-tier items, you can certainly cash in those points. But the person we’re going after is the person that’s like my wife, that checks our credit card statement every single day, that clips coupons, and is always looking at these things. We’re not really going after the guy that’s like me. I would look at a rewards platform on December 15th to see if I could get my nephew a free Christmas gift. But my wife checks it every day, and that’s the person we want to find.

In a lot of cases we think that’s going to lead us closer to the mom in the household. Certainly in America, and I think probably in a lot of cultures, Mom is the one that makes the decisions, especially with how the money’s spent. Or has the final say on how the money’s spent. We want to get closer to that individual in any given family, whether it’s the mom or not. But we certainly think a lot of times it is the mom.

Francis: Chris Freet, he’s with us. He’s the Athletics Director for Communications and Marketing at the University of Miami, and the Hurricanes have had a good start to the season. Talking to us about how he goes about using the digital space to improve his relationship with his fans. Chris, tell us about the U Suite that you’ve used in recent times.

Chris: It’s not an uncommon initiative necessarily, in the States. I know the Cleveland Indians, for example, have done a really good job with it in Major League Baseball. It is an opportunity for us to create a unique experience for the fans that aren’t journalists, but use social media to a really high level, what we call power users. Taking the opportunity to provide a really unique experience. We set up a suite, we give them Internet access, we brought through a few VIPs to talk to them during the game and during halftime, and using that to elevate individuals that are already brand champions probably to a higher level, giving them some special access, being unfiltered, answering questions in a really transparent way.

The initial response, we launched it for our biggest game of our home schedule, which was against the University of Florida Gators last Saturday. We launched it last weekend, and it was a huge success. The requests to get into that suite for future games has almost doubled now.

Francis: Again, it gives that fan point of view. You don’t have to train fans like that. They’re already doing what you want them to do. It’s just great for the connection with the fans. I’m guessing that’s something you can definitely plug into the Hurricanes Game Pass as a reward for fans that are doing what you want them to do.

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a little bit amazing for me. I spend a lot of time in the digital realm and social realm. I have a Director of Communications on my staff who has spent even more time. The way I know he spends more time because the majority of the people he had in the USocial Suite, I had never even seen on social media. Credit to him is due diligence, an individual named Chris Yandle, in seeking out these people. I followed their stream on game day, and then I went back and went through the full archive the day after the game. He found some really strong brand champions that brought an educated opinion and insight into the game, which was really, really cool.

Francis: Great insight, Chris. Good luck with the remainder of the season. Just quickly, how’s it shaping up at the moment?

Chris: Well, we’re 2-0. We’re ranked number 15 in the country. We’re excited. We’re bringing some of our past tradition and past success back to the program. It’s really exciting times here at the University of Miami.

Francis: Have a great season. Thanks for being on Grandstand Breakfast.

Sean: Thanks, Chris.

Chris: Thank you, guys.

Francis: Chris Freet, who is director of communications and marketing at the University of Miami, talking to us about their innovative program. Sean Callanan, and to engage their fans and take it to a whole new level. Thanks for coming in. Remind my people where they can find you in the digital realm.

Sean:, or Sports Geek on iTunes.

Francis: There you go. Download the podcast. Sean Callanan, our digital sports guru with us here on Grandstand Breakfast.

DJ Joel: Like the Sports Geek Podcast? Find us on

Sean: Thanks to Chris there for joining Francis and I on ABC Grandstand. The Hurricanes Game Pass is actually built behind the scenes by the guys at Project Blindside, who do the front end and the look and feel of it, as well as SKIDATA, behind the scenes. I was lucky enough to meet Ren, and I’ll most likely get Ren, who’s from SKIDATA, on the program to talk a little bit more about their system behind the scenes from a CRM point of view, and starting at that view of the fan, from the season ticket, from a merchandise, and any other purchases that the fan is making. We’ll have Ren on a future episode.

My next guest, I actually met Emeric at a Social Media Examiner Conference in San Diego in March. His product is Agorapulse. It’s a tool that allows you to . . . A bit of a social CRM element, in that it captures the data around your Facebook, and it also has a bunch of apps that make it very easy to start extracting the data out of Facebook. What he has done is helped build a couple of infographics, one comparing Manchester United versus Liverpool, and the other comparing the Green Bay Packers versus the San Francisco 49ers in their opener. This is my discussion with Emeric Ernoult from Agorapulse.

Sean: First of all, I want to welcome someone who knows the Facebook space very well. He’s got a great product called Agorapulse. He’s dialed in all the way from France. Emeric Ernoult, welcome to the podcast.

Emeric: Thank you, Sean.

Sean: First of all, I wanted to discuss the two infographics that you helped develop, looking at the sports scene and how they’re using Facebook. We did one specifically for Manchester United versus Liverpool. These are both in the show notes for the podcast. And then we also did one for the start of the NFL season, because it’s really football season in the northern hemisphere. It’s just starting. In the southern hemisphere we’re just into the pointy end of the season, we’re reaching the finals. In the NFL we did the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. First of all, you just want to tell us a little bit about how you came about and got that data and built those infographics?

Emeric: We used a tool we have in our platform that allows you to benchmark your Facebook page against other Facebook pages. So I just added all the pages for the four teams and retrieved the data, which are all data that you can get publicly on pages when you scan the page with a software. You could do it manually, but it would probably take you a couple of days per page, so it’s not very efficient. Doing it with the software allows you to scan through the page with a robot and get all the comments, likes, shares, and measure the engagement and the number of interactions on the pages.

Sean: Just looking at both the numbers, a couple numbers that jumped out at me for both the teams were . . . these were averages over 30 days?

Emeric: Yes.

Sean: So both Manchester United, Liverpool, Green Bay Packers, and the 49ers, averaged over four posts per day. To me, that seems a little bit high. From an industry standard, you’re looking at pages across several brands. Is that a stock standard number? Is it high, or is that low?

Emeric: Unlike many people think or would like to think or write on their blog posts, there’s no rule about the number of posts you should do per day. I’m going to give you an example of a page I like very much, which is a page called Being Liberal. It’s an American page, and it’s about liberal thoughts and politics. These guys posts 30 posts a day. 3-0. So not 3, 30, which is huge if you benchmark it against the average brand page posting habits.

They get the highest PTAT I’ve ever seen on any Facebook page. They almost have a “People Talking About This” metric that’s equal the number of fans, which is outstanding. They get one of the highest per-post engagements I’ve ever seen either. So when benchmark each individual post and look at the reach for that post, and look at the engagement rate for that post, you get a reach and engagement rate that are higher than good brands who are doing one, two, three, four posts a day. When you look at the negative feedback, which could be the downside of posting too often, they have a very low negative feedback.

At the end of the day, the conclusion on all that, is what matters is not the number of times you post. What matters is what you post. If you can consistently post 5 times or 10 times a day, great content that resonates with the audience, then go ahead and do it. Because it’s going to get you great results. If you can’t, and it’s even hard to come up with three posts a week, well, stick with three posts a week. The whole thing is, is that content going to work? Is it going to make your audience say, “Wow, I like this. It’s great,” or is just going to leave them cold?

When you look at Being Liberal, it’s pretty easy for them, because it’s all about the politics, public health, should we go to war or not, is bombing Syria a good idea, all kinds of stuff that everyone is interested about, because they watch the news, they have opinions. Obviously, they like that page. They share their opinions on that page. Everything they write and they post relates to what they care about. That’s the only thing a Facebook page manager should worry about.

Sean: The other thing looking at the two infographics is the percentage of fans engaged. Manchester United has got 27 percent, the Green Bay Packers 39, Liverpool 17. To me, they seem to be pretty average. And you’ve got the 49ers that have gone and got 104 percent of their fans engaged. Is that just a blip on the radar? Was that a good week that they had? Or is more likely . . .

Emeric: There are two things that explain that engagement rate. Number one, if I’m looking at the benchmark as of today, it’s decreased a little bit, because today it’s 98 percent over the last 30 days, from today. But when I look at the four pages, Manchester is 32 percent, Liverpool is 19, Green Bay Packers 38, and San Francisco 49ers is 98. There is really something happening with the San Francisco 49ers page, which is double or triple the engagement rate of the other pages, even five times more than Liverpool, if you compare it with Liverpool.

The first thing you need to know is, as this is public data that the robot is scanning on the page, we go through all the comments and all the likes and all the shares, we add them up altogether, and we divide them by the total number of fans. If a fan has liked multiple times, or commented times, or has shared multiple times, it’s going to be accounted for multiple times. There is too much data to individualize that count. We can’t just de-duplicate engagement made by fans several times on several posts over the 30-day period. It is artificially increased by that technical glitch. That’s the first thing. But as this artificial increase is the same for all pages, it remains a way to benchmark pages against each other.

The second thing is, if a page is posting a lot and getting a very high engagement rate per post, it’s going to get a very high engagement rate over the 30 days. If you look at the 49ers and you look at the percentage of engagement per post, I’m not sure that was the infographic, but I have it here. On the per-post basis, it’s 0.87 percent. If you look at the Green Bay Packers, on the per-post basis it’s 0.29 percent. So that means that because they’re posting four posts a day and the Green Bay Packers are almost posting with the same frequency, having for the same amount of posts, 0.87 percent of your fans interacting, as opposed to 0.29, and if I look at Liverpool and Manchester, they’re both at 0.2 percent of engagement per post.

Obviously, if you add up all the posts for the 30 day period, it’s going to go wide. That’s why the 49ers is so high. You shouldn’t look at these numbers as these are the exact numbers of fans or users, because these could be non-fans as well. We can’t see the difference when we’re scanning the page. But it allows you to see that whatever’s going on on the San Francisco 49ers, these people are way more engaged than anyone else we’ve been benchmarking.

Sean: It would make sense. San Francisco fans are very much a digital fan base. They come from the hometown that Facebook and Twitter have come out of. We’ve seen the success that the San Francisco Giants have had. I’ve spoken to the Warriors previously. They’ve got a really digitally-savvy fan base. It’s no surprise there. What they may have done also is promoted some of that content as well, to get more engagement. As the season approaches, there’s always a bit of fervor online.

That leads me to discussions around Facebook content, and the recent changes on two fronts. One, the changes that potentially have been rumored. Facebook is saying how they’re changing EdgeRank. For those who don’t know, EdgeRank is Facebook’s way of curating your own social feed, your own news feed, to decide what appears in your news feed. They’ve pretty much come out and stated they’re going to start downgrading low-quality content, potentially, like memes and things like that. EdgeRank has been a contentious issue for Facebook marketers for a long while. I’ve seen you’ve done a lot of work in disproving some of the myths, and busting a few of those myths. What’s your take on the latest changes or tweaks to EdgeRank?

Emeric: As we’ve Googled, we don’t have access to what’s actually in there, in that algorithm. It’s pretty difficult to say anything that will be relevant to what’s exactly happening within the algorithm.

The only take I have, which is very high level, is looking at the pages that have been successful for the last 12 months or 18 months, and looking at how their success and how their engagement rate and their reach and the success of their content has evolved through all these EdgeRank changes, because there have been at least 5 or 6 of them in the last 18 months, and I’m talking about major changes. I think they’re tweaking the algorithm very often. When you look at the evolution of these pages, they have remained the same. The level of reach, the level of engagement, the level of success of the pages and their content has not changed so much.

This goes back to the quality of the content and the way the audience is receiving that content and reacting to that content. If you’ve been posting consistently good content and had a consistently good reaction from the audience, these EdgeRank changes will, at best, improve your performance, or at worst, keep it the same. The only page that I’ve seen a downside or negative effects on their performance were pages having low engagement or high negative feedback. People tend to underestimate the impact of negative feedback and not look at that metric, even though it’s one of the most important metrics when it comes to getting a good EdgeRank.

Focus on measuring each piece of content, if you’re serious about that, because it’s time consuming. Focus on measuring each piece of content, and look at each piece of content’s performance, and get rid of what’s not working above your average, and focus on what’s getting scores and metrics that are above your average, and try to tweak it on a weekly basis.

Every week I would review each piece of content, and look at the ones that have not done great, and try to understand why, and get rid of them. And get rid of the why, the reason why these were not performing well. Identify the ones that were doing great, and understand why. Try to get to that direction more often in the following weeks. If you do that, EdgeRank can change a thousand times. It’s not going to affect you.

It’s like Google and SEO. If you post crappy blog posts and do content farms, we know a few years ago it would do good. Right now it’s not doing good anymore. But at the end of the day, that makes sense. You were doing crappy content and content farming; there’s no reason you should be rewarded for that.

Sean: Exactly. That’s a really good thing. You can over-obsess on EdgeRank, and you can read every single person’s take. There are a lot of people having different opinions on it. But in the end, you’ve got to focus on what you’re trying to deliver. In the case of sports teams, a lot of them are trying to grow their fan base, and you can do that by engagement. So you’re putting up content that will engage and photos and videos, and things that your fans like. The other one is, they do want to get eyeballs on their websites, so one of the metrics you want to be tracking is, how much traffic is Facebook driving to my site? That still has been pretty consistent, no matter what the EdgeRank changes are, and it has even been consistent even if we change the amount of posts that we put up.

With some teams, throttle the amount of posts back, and only put up the premium content, but the fans know this must be premium content. I will click through, I will read it. And the traffic has remained the same, just by removing some of that content. That was one of the changes around EdgeRank.

The other change was around the promotional guidelines. I already spoke about it on a previous podcast. The fact that now you can run, Facebook has opened up the floodgates. Previously, the promotion guidelines didn’t allow you to run competitions on your wall. You weren’t allowed to run like competitions and comment competitions, and they were pushing brand owners into third-party apps, much like Agorapulse. You’re a third-party app.

When they came in and called this change, there was a lot of “the sky is falling”, “third-party apps are going to be killed off,” “everyone is going to be doing like competitions.” I’m not in that boat myself. What’s your take as an app owner, as someone who has a tool that you can run campaigns through and extract data from Facebook using Agorapulse?

Emeric: It’s also a subject I’m pretty much on top of, because right after change . . . the subject on different blogs, that gave me the time and the depth to analyze and try to understand the pros and cons, and what that change really brought to the page owners. The bottom line, and my conclusion, was the following.

The first thing is the value of the prize you are giving away will impact the channel you will use to offer that prize. If you are offering very valuable prizes, doing it on the wall will probably be very messy and complicated. If you’re giving away a ten-dollar ticket for a game, people are not going to scrutinize the way you are giving away those tickets, and they’re not going to sue you in court if you’re not doing it fairly. That’s okay. Honestly, to give away ten-dollar apiece kind of prizes, I would even myself go with the time line and not bother setting up an app. As soon as you’re giving away valuable stuff. For example, sports teams would do that, car makers, travel organizations . . .

Sean: You’re also working with bigger volume fan bases. I think those like competitions would work, I agree with the low-value thing. If you’re a small cafe, or a local shop, those kinds of things, it would work. But if we’re looking back at Manchester United, with millions of fans, 35 million fans, and we’re looking at the Green Bay Packers with 3.5 million fans, it’s not a viable strategy to be able to run those kinds of competitions. Even if you had a ten dollar competition, you’ll have so much engagement and so many disappointed fans, it’s a clunky mechanism I guess.

Emeric: That’s the key. You don’t want disappointed fans. When you’re running a giveaway or contest or a promotion, that’s the last thing you want. Again, the volume is highly important. But the volume plus the value of the prize will make it or break it. If you have a high volume of fans, and low-value prizes, they’re not going to complain on the wall because they didn’t win the ten-dollar ticket. They’re just going to let it go away. But if they feel that the way that $2000 round trip to go see the team play in some exotic place, and they feel this was not awarded fairly, and you’ve done your best, and invited all your friends, and so on and so forth, then you’ll start to be disappointed and complain about it.

That’s why the conjunction of the value of the prize and the size of the audience can really make a big difference. If you have a big audience and want to offer something of value, I wouldn’t go with the wall, because I would be very afraid. I’ve seen nightmares going on pages because of that. I’ve seen them. I’ve witnessed them. Very low prizes, even with a big fan base, they’re not going to hang you for low-value things. They’re just going to leave it.

Sean: The other thing, I spoke about it at SEAT Conference about digital campaigns, the main reason a lot of teams, this case, use Facebook as a sales funnel to start that conversation with their fans, and then what they want to do is convert those fans into their database. That’s the other component that the like campaign, or the comment on this photo campaign doesn’t allow. You only get the contact details of the winner. You don’t get the contact details of all the fans that have vented, and are able to opt them in.

Emeric: Getting the contact data of the winner, if you have 1 million people liking a post, is also going to be complicated. Obviously, getting the data of the fans is a deal breaker. With the time line content, you’ll never get anything. If that’s something you focus on, the timeline option is not really an option. You really have to go with an app, because that’s the only way you can gather that data. That was the second thing to help you choose between running the contest on the time line or with an app.

I just have one last thing about that. I don’t mean to scare people, but there are laws that are very strict about how to run contests and promotions in each country. I don’t know the law in Australia, but I know the law in Italy, Brazil, in France, Netherlands, in Belgium and lots of European countries, and they’re pretty strict. You need to have official rules, and if you don’t display them you could get a big fine. In France, you have to file those rules with an official representative. If you don’t do that, you could get big fines as well.

Sean: Jurisdictions apply in all parts of the world, but in Australia it’s the same. You have to have right permits for running a competition. There are different rules. Again, this isn’t legal advice. There are different rules for games of chance versus a game of skill. You could run a 25 words or less style competition with a little bit more freedom than a random draw. It’s hard to convey all of that information in a Facebook post.

Emeric: Super hard.

Sean: Getting off those topics, we’ve used Agorapulse with some competitions and some data activations. We did it with the A League and the Manchester United game earlier this year, and got the fans to pick the score. We also used the petition style app for the Sydney Thunder, for them to welcome Mike Hussey to the team and getting the fans to send in message. Tell us a little bit about Agorapulse and some of these third-party apps that you can plug in and run these campaigns and start getting a data profile of your Facebook fans.

Emeric: One of the unique things about platform is that is does provide applications such as contests, photo contest, quizzes, instant win, personality tests, different kinds of apps. I think we have six or seven, and adding more every month, which allows you to collect emails, first name, last name, and what team you support, and every kind of question you want to ask them. This is one thing.

We also scan the timeline of the page, which allows for motivation and scanning the content posted by the fans, which also allows us to merge and match the data that we collect on the timeline and collect through the app, and gives you a much deeper profile information about the fans. Not only knowing their email, first name, last name, because they entered into a contest, but also getting all the activity they had on the page, and get that tied all together. So you know this is a very active fan, he’s been liking 150 times last month and commenting 70 times, and I have his email. I know what team he’s supporting. I know what player he prefers. I know where he lives.

Now I can really start building a much more CRM-oriented action with these fans. It gives a lot more marketing power to the people running the page, because we tie these activities on the page and personal information gathering together, and we also have the competition benchmark, with which we built the infographics. We have statistics. We have a whole set of stuff, not only apps. That’s probably the one thing that takes us apart from the crowd out there.

Sean: I must say, as someone who’s used them, the setting up of the apps point of view was really good. One of the key things from a selling point, from my point of view in using it, was the fact that you have the mobile option of the app. One of the big problems with a lot of the third-party apps is, you go and put it up on your Facebook posts, you say, “Hey guys, here you go and enter.” And 50 percent, almost 60 percent of your fans are using Facebook on their mobile. And they click and the tabs don’t open, third-party tabs don’t work in Facebook mobile, but what you provide is a mobile-friendly URL. It will redirect them to a mobile site if they’re on the mobile, or redirect them to the page, the tab, if they’re on the desktop. You’ve automatically got access to 50 percent more of your fans, and in a really easy environment. That’s one of the big pluses when we were using it, and pitching it to clients, that you can have that mobile web form as part of your Facebook app.

Emeric: It’s really a key thing. To be fair to the competition, we’re not the only one doing this. There are other vendors who do that as well. Still, a lot of them don’t. I keep stumbling upon contests on my timeline when I check my Facebook on my mobile. A lot of them still don’t have mobile access, so you click on the thing and you get an error message, and it’s so frustrating. We have pages where the participants who came through mobile are up to 40 or 50 percent. It’s not everyone, but for some of them it’s really significant. It’s really something that should be taken into account.

Sean: Thank you very much for joining me on the podcast. I will have links to both these infographics, they’ll be pinned and they’ll be put up around the Internet. Hopefully if you see them and you want to share them, please do. I’ll also put links to Agorapulse and also the barometer tool that you’ve got so you can check your own page and a few of the pages that you run as well, from Agorapulse. Thank you very much for joining me on the podcast. Hopefully I’ll catch up at a conference soon, when we’re both at the same conference as we were in San Diego earlier this year.

Emeric: Yeah, in March. Very probably. I was in Cleveland last week, for Content Marketing World. I go to conferences in the U.S. very often. Thank you for having me. It was a great conversation.

DJ Joel: Leave me a voicemail question for Sports Geek Podcast using Speak Pipe at

Sean: Well, that wraps up another action-packed Sports Geek Podcast. I want to thank Chris Freet and Emeric Ernoult for joining me on the podcast. All links will be on the show notes, so you can check out the Hurricanes Game Pass. You could also check out Agorapulse. If you simply go to, and I will redirect that link to Agorapulse. Also, check out those infographics for the NFL and the EPL, thanks to the guys at Agorapulse for helping me produce those.

That’s it for another episode of Sports Geek Podcast. If you could, share the podcast on your networks, on Twitter, and on LinkedIn. I would very much appreciate if you would drop a line on iTunes, as the reviews definitely help the rankings. So if you go to, I would be very appreciative of it.

As always, if you have a question, either send me a tweet, or as DJ Joel just said, you can leave me a voicemail message question. I’m actually planning on doing a Q & A style podcast in the coming weeks. I’ll be putting out a real big call to action to send in your questions. That’s it for me. Until next week, may your team be winning, and may your team be trending. This week’s sounds of the game has gone a little bit local. I’ve actually gone with my son’s football team after a rare victory. They don’t quite know all the words to the song, but you can hear their enthusiasm. Cheers.

DJ Joel: Please leave a review on iTunes. Go to Find all Sports Geek Podcasts at Thanks for listening to the Sports Geek Podcast

Three tips to give your Facebook Page a boost

Some great tips from Facebook Marketing page.

Want to know how we embedded the Facebook Video?

Facebook does not provide any embedding code as other video hosting sites like YouTube.  You can share your own videos by clicking the Embed this Video link under the video you uploaded.  But you can use the same snippet to embed any Facebook Video (And you link back to the owner’s page to credit them)

STEP 1: Open the video and the URL of the video will be like this one:

STEP 2: Copy the video number (after the v=)

STEP 3: Copy paste the following code in HTML editor by replacing the xxx with video number.

<object width="400" height="224" >
 <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" />
 <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" />
 <param name="movie" value="" />
 <embed src=""
  width="400" height="224">

STEP 4: All is done, you can also change the width and height of the video by changing the width and height in first line of code & in the embed tag.

Melbourne Storm Vs Canterbury Bulldogs Social Media #digibattle results

The Melbourne Storm hosted the Canterbury Bulldogs at AAMI Park on Saturday but there was also a #digibattle setting digital fans against each other on Facebook & Twitter.

The Build Up

Via Website – The #digibattle is ON! Storm V Bulldogs

On Facebook

Storm fire up fans on Facebook before the game


On Twitter

Via Website – Bulldogs VS Storm Digital Battle

On Facebook

Bulldogs fans we're fired up for a big game against the Storm

On Twitter


The Results


Metric: Number of likes obtained pre-game

Melbourne Storm – 147,321 Facebook fans, 1761 likes, 150 shares & 84 comments
Canterbury Bulldogs – 80,016 Facebook fans, 551 likes, 22 shares & 109 comments

Canterbury Bulldogs (*adjusted to match Storm FB fan numbers) – 1014 likes, 41 shares & 201 comments

Sports Geek Analysis:   Storm asked fans to share getting great reach with 150 shares, the Doggies fans have their say with more comments.  Always remember you goals when posting to Facebook and don’t be afraid to ask fans to like and share.

Melbourne Storm WIN


Metric: Battle of the Hashtags – #PurplePride Vs #DogsOfWar

Storm #PurplePride – 14,317 Twitter followers, 1471 tweets, 501 people tweeting & 362 retweets
Bulldogs #DogsOfWar – 8,765 Twitter followers, 1189 tweets, 387 people tweeting & 291 retweets
Bulldogs (*adjusted to match Storm FB fan numbers) – 1942 tweets, 469 people & 475 retweets

Sports Geek Analysis: Great result for Bulldogs who only started using #dogsofwar this year.  Although Storm has more people tweeting the Bulldogs fans were more active tweeting & retweeting more showing their digital cheer squad supported their team despite the result.

Canterbury Bulldogs WIN

Perhaps a rematch will occur come finals time?

Good work by Dan & Jess behind the scenes both working hard for Storm & Bulldogs, perhaps we’ll add Instagram as a Tiebreaker in the Finals?

Best photo size for Facebook mobile

We’ve done some testing at Sports Geek HQ (hat tip to @Dion_Anthony) to find out what is the best photo size for Facebook Wall posts.

If you look at your Facebook stream on your mobile (go on look right now, we’ll still be here), many of the wall posts are quite small but occasionally you see one that is huge by comparison.

Watch the latest episode from the #YouTube140 project to find out how.

Find us on Google Plus –
Please let us know if your sports team has joined Google Plus we are circling as many as we can.

How to get your Facebook Fan Page banned

I’ve advised too many people for too long on this that it needed to be a blog post.

Read the FINE print!

Too many people are running Facebook Fan Pages under the guidance of social media experts, gurus, ninjas… whatever are running the risk of getting their page banned by Facebook. Facebook provides a Promotion Guidelines which clearly state what you can and cannot do.  If you or your social media advisor is too lazy or incompetent to read it then please read on.

Banned – Do not even go here!

Kids are off limits

2.1 The promotion is open or marketed to individuals who are under the age of 18;

You can’t run any promotion through Facebook to children, that not promoted to, that is open to!

Gambling, Tobacco, Firearms are bad for you & your Fan Page

2.4 The promotion’s objective is to promote any of the following product categories: gambling, tobacco, firearms, prescription drugs, or gasoline;

You cannot promote gambling through a Facebook promotion.  This one is big for sporting teams & leagues and they are associated with sports betting partners.  Asking your fans to use, like or bet with a sports betting operation could be seen by Facebook as a violation.

Where’s the Cheese?

Although it was mooted to change Facebook continues to disallow diary-based prizes due to quirky US “state laws that impose penalties for distributing dairy at a discounted rate.”

Take note alcohol, tobacco, firearms, or prescription drugs are not allowed to be offered as prizes either.

Facebook is a platform not a partner or sponsor

Facebook goes to great lengths in the promotion guidelines to state that your promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.  Facebook is no more a partner with your promotion than a TV commercial is with a TV advert.

Running through Facebook Platforms

Section 3 details running a promotion through the Facebook platform and more importantly it requires approval from Facebook.  You can get approval by committing to spend $10,000 in Facebook advertising, it is Facebook’s way of protecting themselves.

Promoting on Facebook

However, this do not preclude smaller budget promotions being publicized via Facebook as a far cheaper alternative.

You can do promotions on you Fan Page using third-party applications.

Here is the line that will get most Facebook promotions banned.

4.2 In the rules of the promotion, or otherwise, you will not condition entry to the promotion upon taking any action on Facebook, for example, updating a status, posting on a profile or Page, or uploading a photo.

Examples of Facebook promotions violations

  • The first 10 people to comment on this post win tickets.
  • Upload a photo to our wall to enter and win!
  • Press Like on this comment to win a prize.
  • 25th fan will win a slab of beer!
  • Tag yourself in this photo and win tickets.
  • Mention our page in your status to win a prize

I’m not finished

One more setting for those thinking they want to separate their Facebook business and personal streams using multiple accounts, another big NO.  Facebook’s response to multiple accounts:

Please be aware that managing multiple accounts is a serious violation of Facebook’s Terms of Use. If we determine that an individual has more than one account, we reserve the right to terminate all of their accounts.

Good articles on Facebook Promotions

Want to run a legit promotion via your Facebook Fan Page?

You can.  If you follow the rules, contact Sports Geek we’ll show you how it’s done.

If you got to the end of this post I hope you read the Facebook Promotion Guidelines as well.

Fan Page Friday

Why do we need Facebook Fan Page Friday?

As Facebook grows so does the usage of Fan Pages.  I wanted a way for people to share what Fan Pages they liked so Fan Pages providing great content or services or interaction will be rewarded with more fans.  Unfortunately many Fan Pages on Facebook provide very little value.  It has become harder for Facebook users to find great Fan Pages.  The idea has been adapted from the popular #FollowFriday meme on Twitter.

How does Facebook Fan Page Friday work?

I don’t want to put down too many rules so here is how it works.

Become a fan of Facebook Fan Page Friday so people know about it!  [Sports Geek Note: I got some valid feedback regarding this step.   You do not have to become a fan of Fan Page Friday to play, it is completely optional.  The driver is to share great info it is NOT get fans, but hey if you're a fan of the idea by all means]

Click Share on your fave Facebook Fan PageEvery Friday pick a Fan Page you like and click the Share + button.  It’s at the bottom of the left column of the Fan Page, unfortunately Facebook do a great job of hiding it.

Make a post to your profile like below:
My @Fan Page Friday is [name of page] because [reason].

Here's how I would Fan Page Friday for Mashable

If you the @ before typing Fan Page Friday it links back to the page.  You can use that to refer to any person or Fan Page on Facebook.  Additionally the Fan Page you select will get a nice wall post from your reference.

That’s your challenge for this Friday, share with your Facebook friends a Fan Page that you think is awesome and tell them why!  Social media is all about sharing.

Do you run a Fan Page?

If you run your own Fan Page what about sharing the love for another Fan Page with your Fans?  Same concept share with your fans another Fan Page they may like or complements your Fan Page.   You can also keep your recommendation permanent by adding them to your favorite pages list on your fan page.

It’s all karma people… share the love.

I’m very interested in seeing how or even if this concept takes off.  I leave it your very capable hands…

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about developing some projects to develop your fan base.