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How'd They Do That? - NCHC Frozen Faceoff Live

By Jim Dahline, 03/24/15, 11:00AM CDT

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We breakdown how the NCHC creates incredible fan engagement through their website and social media during their end of the year tournament.

Last weekend, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) had their end of the year conference tournament, the Frozen Faceoff, in Minneapolis. As a client of ours, we were able to get a behind the scenes look at how they manage their Frozen Faceoff Live page and social media for their event.  For events of any size, these are great tips to share the great things going with those who may not be able to attend or for people who want to look back on a recap of activities.

Check out the Frozen Faceoff Live page on their website.


Pre-planning

It’s important to remember that fans, participants, parents, coaches, and media are all interested in information plenty ahead of your event. For the Frozen Faceoff, they created the page months ahead of the first puck drop. They drive people there to get information on host hotels, parking, restaurant options, and other activities around the area. It’s a great way to get them used to going to the page, as well as a way to increase value for sponsors.

Get your person (or team) ready ahead of time and begin to set up a schedule for who is going to do what. They pretty much had one person manning the page and Twitter account during the event, but it really would be nice to have two which they had during high value times (Championship game, festivities happening at the same time).

My dad always said “plan your work and work your plan”. This is a great thing to remember and you’ll be successful.

 

Page Set Up

Event guide: Think of all of the things you need to do when planning a trip. You need a place to stay, places to eat, places to shop, etc. Make sure to let your visitors know the best spots to not only make it easy for them, but it really enhances their experience during your event. Better yet, reach out to local businesses in these categories to have them sponsor their representation on this page.

Content: To display most of the content, they placed a tabbed page element in the main content area. There are four main content types:

  • Live Stream: This was a Twitter account (more on that later) exclusively for the event. During the event, this was the main landing tab.
  • Photos: There were several photos to post in chronological order to give a recap of the event. A big focus was behind the scenes photos, fan activities, and some game play.
  • Videos: The NCHC has a video partner that records things like press conferences and some other cool videos, those were linked to in this tab.
  • News: Pulling from the NCHC main news articles, this was an aggregator of their news articles.

Page elements used for content areas


The event guide for visitors

Twitter:

Sports fans are rabid Twitter users. It’s really the go to social network to share content on, in particular, during live events. Since they were pushing this stream to the event specific page, they created a unique Twitter account (in this case @NCHCFFLive) to drive that content. This allows them to control (through tweeting & retweets) everything that appears on the Live Stream in the tabbed element.
    
Part of the weekend included an awards ceremony. Winners are announced very quickly, so they set up all of our tweets ahead of time for that. This works great to save you time and headaches when things are moving faster than you can type. Think of things you know you are going to want to share (like sponsor tweets, awards, etc) and pre-write them so you just have to copy and paste. It’ll lower errors and make sure nothing is missed as well.

Don’t forget your hashtag: It’s customary to create a hashtag for your event that people can include in their tweets to relate them to your event. For the Frozen Faceoff, they used (#FrozenFaceoff). Be sure to keep your hashtag short, relevant, and easy to remember. Also, check out ahead of time if anyone else has used the same one in the recent past so that you don’t get people confused. 


The event specific Twitter account @NCHCFFLive


Create a hastag for your event

When to begin engagement: 

I’d recommend putting content on your website 2-3 months ahead of your event. When your event is a month away, start sending out reminder tweets, hotel booking links, and the obligatory #TBT (Throwback Thursday) tweets of your past tournaments. Then, the week of, start tweet regularly. Get people excited. And of course, tweet regularly during your event. Think of it as keeping a friend updated on everything going on.

That’s about it. If you have any questions open up a post in the forum.

Jim Dahline

About Jim

Jim Dahline is Director of Marketing at SportsEngine. He is active with many customers and specifically with tournaments. He is on the planning committee for US Pond Hockey Championships, serves on the board as Sponsorship/Fundraising Coordinator for Edina Hockey, coaches 6U hockey, and coaches kindergarten soccer for Edina Soccer Association.

Jim is a strong supporter of the American Development Model (ADM) and has completed SafeSport (07/17), USA Hockey CEP Mite Modules (9/147), USA Hockey background screen (05/17).

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