With the NBA Playoffs in full swing the NBA became the first league to reach 5 Millions Twitter followers.

One of the big reasons is that they have embraced the way that NBA teams, players & media are using Twitter.

We discussed it on Harf Time, what do you think of NBA's use of Twitter these NBA Playoffs.

[audio:https://sportsgeekhq.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/HarfTimeSportsGeekNBASocialSpotlight-2.mp3|titles=Harf Time and Sean discuss NBA Social Spotlight] Download mp3

Best shown with the NBA Social Spotlight as it shares tweets & pictures from around the league.

Also pictures from Instagram are profiled.

See how the NBA rank with other leagues here at our ranking pages of leagues & teams.


Until next week

Listen to Harf Time on Wednesdays (at 2:45pm) when Sean Callanan discuss sports digital with Daniel Harford.

Tune into Harf Time over the weekdays from 12-4pm on 1116 SEN.

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Podcast transcription

HARF: Sean Callanan in the house, Sports Digital Media Guru, has been good enough to join us. You can follow him at @SportsGeekHQ via Twitter or just check out their website, sportsgeek.com.au. Sean, welcome.

SEAN: Thanks a lot Harf.

HARF: Mate, the NBA, they’re going gang busters at the moment from a public point of view, from a fan point of view. How do they do it?

SEAN: Well one of the ways and what I want to talk about is that the NBA Twitter account reached 5 million Twitter followers just this week.

HARF: Has that been done before?

SEAN: It has been from individual accounts. So, you know, guys like Shaq and Justin Beiber posts left 5 million in the dust a while ago.

HARF: And Kobe.

SEAN: Kobe’s not on there. But, yeah, from a league point of view they’re well and truly way out in front from comparing the NFL and NHL and other major leagues from a Twitter point of view, so 5 million it’s a big number. One of the ways that really illustrates how they’re doing it well is that they really took on board the players using it. They saw that the players, much like we’re seeing in the AFL, NRL and cricket, tweeting, you know, what they’re doing, where they’re at, occasionally tweeting back and forth with the fans. The NBA guys really took on a board, guys like Shaq really jumped on board early and were engaging fans, and the NBA was pretty quick to adopt and embrace the players and the fans joining in.

HARF: Right.

SEAN: And so one of the ways…

HARF: Is that different to the other sporting leagues.

SEAN: There were a few other leagues and some of the college systems in the States were like trying to control it and get really heavy handed on the social media policy and what could and can’t be tweeted, that kind of thing whereas the NBA sort of went, ‘Well these players are going to do it. They’re engaging with the fans. The fans like it. Well, we may as well be using that content for our site and encouraging the fan and building the buzz word in social media, building engagement. And so one way that their profile…

HARF: Touching people.

SEAN: That’s a different part of the internet all together, Harf. I’m not going there. So one way they’re activating, which is another thing that we want to be doing with our sponsors is this http://www.nba.com/social-spotlight/

HARF: I’m on that at the moment.

SEAN: If you go to the Social Spotlight, it’s not that hard to find if you really put in NBA social spotlight and Google it, it comes up. What it’s doing is it’s showing you live tweets from players, media partners, fans, teams while they’re watching the game, so that pretty much at the moment everyone’s watching NBA on TNT because the games have just finished with the Spurs winning and LeBron missing a few shots at the end.

HARF: Just chucked it up a tree?

SEAN: I guess, and so they’re going to be a few tweets at King James saying, ‘Work on your free throws, LeBron, ‘cause there’s a lot of haters out there on Twitter.’

HARF: A lot of haters like the game, too.

SEAN: Definitely, yeah, definitely, so, but the thing is, yeah, if you tag your tweets #nbaplayoffs so they’ve got an integrated tweet button there that says use the hashtag #nbaplayoffs, so, again, they’re trying to get the conversation around the NBA playoffs and effectively your tweet could end up on this screen or your Instagram photo could end up on this screen.

HARF: Well you showed me that when you came in before. I decided to have a crack at it from the @HarftimeSEN account.

SEAN: You could sit here and watch…

HARF: Now I’ve got you involved in my loop and I’m watching the Social Spotlight…

SEAN: Maybe Shaq might need to retweet it to get on the board…

HARF: NOooooo because it’s got @sportsgeekhq there, so they’ll be all over that. I’ve kept you in the loop. I’m going to wait until we come up.

SEAN: With 5 million followers there might be a few tweets going through, so you might be waiting a little while.

HARF: Nah, but, Harftime SEN fans will make sure it gets up on the social spotlight. But that’s a great platform for fans.

SEAN: So the thing is, it’s a great plat form and it’s a custom built thing but what you can do is you can do your own homegrown, build ‘em yourself. If you go to Twitter it allows you to build these widgets that you can plug into your own website whether it’s a club that kind of thing, and you could be streaming all the tweets that you favor, for instance.

HARF: Okay, as your team or as Harftime, you say, ‘Oh, that’s a funny twit. I’ll favor that.’ And you can put that on your website. So if you go to Twitter.com/goodies there’re are some little things there to build widgets so you can get something that looks like the social spotlight onto your website, whether it be your club footy website, your local business or your team.

HARF: Okay.

SEAN: So a few of the teams do that. They use the same sort of system to get their tweets up on the big screen at the MCG just by moderating, using a favorite—yet that tweet’s all right—so if you see your tweet getting favored during the footy just keep your eye on the big screen. It might end up on the big screen at the games.

HARF: Well Shaq’s just tweeted, and he didn’t retweet my tweet, so that’s disappointing.

SEAN: Yeah.

HARF: Just another 5 million factor for the NBA, how does it compare to the other leagues in the U.S. and it might be globally?

SEAN: So the other leagues, the NFL is at 3.3 million, NHL 1 million. The UFC, who were going gang busters, are only at 600,000, so this is just Twitter, not Facebook. Facebook is, again, another beast and is a whole different set of numbers, but one of the things from an NBAs team point of view, it sort of shows that a lot of the NBAs marketing stuff is still relatively regional. If you look at the Twitter numbers for the NBA teams you’ve got the Lakers who are a massive international brand, with 2.5 million Twitter followers, but then you’ve got the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, are all only around 500,000, 600,000. So again, Twitter is still a developing platform and more and more teams are trying to leverage it with their fans.

HARF: If you want to check out the rankings and how they rank the leagues across the globe, go to sportsgeek.com.au/rankings and you will see what we are talking about. Check out the NBA social spotlight, as well. See you at Harftime SEN. Thank you, Sean.

SEAN: No worries, Harf.