And then there were two.

With the Miami Heat's game seven win over the Indiana Pacers, the 2013 NBA Finalists are now decided after the San Antonio Spurs swept the Memphis Grizzlies 4-0 in the Western Conference. In what promises to be an intriguing series, Sports Geek takes a look back at how the the four conference finalists utilised their social media platforms to interact with fans and sponsors during the East & West finals.


The Heat have consistently used their Facebook page to post PicQuotes containing encouraging quotes from players and coaching staff that are designed to get fans excited for upcoming games. For the series against Indiana, these posts have received over 300,000 likes and 26,000 shares to date. Interestingly, the like & share figures for each new post rose as the series progressed; illustrating that the deeper the series wore on, the more passionate fans were in keeping in touch with their team.

FB - Game One PicQuote

Prior to the opening game of the series, the Pacers utilised their Facebook cover photo to promote their ‘Beat the Heat’ wallpapers, headers and backgrounds that fans could download from, and use on their own social media platforms:

Indiana Pacers - BeatTheHeat Facebook Cover

The Spurs began their series by posting a huge infographic which compared the team's success to past and present opponents and highlighted some great statistics, including Tim Duncan’s tie for 2nd with the great Wilt Chamberlain in playoff double-doubles. Infographics are a great way to display facts and figures in an easy to read format and are effective when it comes to reach. For the full infographic, click on the image below, or here:

Spurs Infographic - Western Conference Finals History

The majority of posts on the Spurs timeline were focused on directing fans to the team's website. Simply adding a link to the end of posts and images descriptions is a great way to direct fans to a richer source of content and information such as in-depth previews and reviews of games.

Unlike the Spurs, the Grizzlies interestingly chose to live-post score updates during games. Their account was also used to promote pre-game events and cover the transformation of Fedex Forum Plaza. One of our favourite posts came from television anchor Valerie Calhoun who posted an update on some of the new menu selections available to fans at Grizzlies home games:

Grizzlies Home-Court Menu Update


In addition to providing fans with live score and stat updates throughout games and live-tweet press conferences, teams used Twitter to push specific hashtags to get fans involved in the online conversation. According to social media analytics website, #LETSGOHEAT was used over 140,000 times on Twitter during the Western Conference finals series, peaking during the team's win in game seven with 40,000 uses.

Despite a significantly smaller online following than their Eastern Conference rivals (1.36 million followers vs 198,000), the Pacers more than held their own when it came to Twitter engagement, with the assonant #BeatTheHeat hashtag registering around 60,000 uses during the series, which went a long way in keeping fans engaged in relevant online conversation:

#BeatTheHeat usage during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals

The Heat also used their account (along with Instagram) to drive their White Hot Hoop contests, which required fans to tweet in photos from a specific location using the #WhiteHotHoop hashtag to go into the draw to win 25,000 American Airline miles – a great example of a popular sponsor activation:

Miami Heat using Twitter & Instagram for Sponser Activation

San Antonio encouraged their fans to tweet in photos using specific hashtags to share fan-produced content. These were then collated via the Social Wall which provided a great hub of interaction:

#SpursSocialWall on Instagram

Throughout the Western Conference finals the Grizzlies' Twitter account provided pre-game coverage of fan events at home games, along with promoting sponsors such as Ashley Home Store, which supplied limited edition ‘Believe Memphis’ shirts and supported the Super Fan giveaway. Memphis City Mayor AC Wharton Jr even got in on the action:

Twitter has also come in handy when establishing individual fan relationships as forward Quincey Poindexter found out when he was able to land a date with Miss Tennessee, Chandler Lawson.


Instagram continues to be a leader in offering fans a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of sports teams. Prior to the opening match-up of the series, Heat fans were given a glimpse at the #WhiteHot t-shirts that would be on offer when ticket-holders found their seats before Game One:

Insta - Heat T-shirts

The tables quickly turned when Indiana had the home-court. Prior to Game Four, the team's account posted this amazing shot of over 18,000 seats draped in Gold t-shirts to drive home advantage as a part of their #GoldOut strategy:

Indiana Pacers show off their #GoldOut campaign via Instagram

YouTube & Vine

The Heat and Spurs are consistently active when it comes to sharing content on Vine, dishing up many of the team's behind the scenes pre- and post-match activity.

One of the best posts came in the lead-up to Game Seven, with this LeBron James dunk in the warm-up:

Despite being still fairly new to Vine as a medium, the Pacers have managed to do a reasonable job in offering their fans a glimpse into the team's inner workings; posting pre-game warm ups, team announcements and giving fans who couldn't attend the game a great insight into feel and atmosphere at ground level:

Unfortunately, the Grizzlies don't seem to have a Vine account.

In contrast, while each of the conference finalists possess an official YouTube account, there doesn't seem to be any consistency when it comes to the frequency of uploads. That's not to say that NBA teams aren't concerned with fan and community engagement. Rather, teams seem to be favouring platforms such as Twitter, Instagram & Vine, that make it easier for fans to access and get involved in the action. It's something we'll be keeping an eye on.

So there you have it, some great examples of effective ways in which major sports teams can best interact and utilise their online fan bases.