It’s hard to beat the energy of a professional football game. “We’re talking about three hours of just pure adrenaline,” says Rael Enteen, the Jets Director of Digital and Social Media. The players are fired up, fans are impassioned and all eyes are glued to the field.
As a marketer, how can you translate that palpable energy to your audience online? For the New York Jets, the answer is real-time visual storytelling.
The Jets know firsthand that sharing photos instantly on social media and the web is essential to ROI. Distributing content at lighting speed impacts their engagement, increases brand affinity and satisfies the voracious appetites of content-hungry followers.
Watch the video to see firsthand how the Jets use real-time visual storytelling to engage their fans online: https://youtu.be/Ati_tAhhXPo
To help you boost engagement and excite your own followers during your brand’s next high-energy event, here are three big takeaways from the Jets’ real-time photography workflow.
1. Go wireless
Sharing photos as events unfold can’t happen without the right equipment and workflow in place. The New York Jets know this all too well. In previous seasons, cardrunners would take memory cards from the field up to the stadium press box. This workflow was inefficient, and their KPIs were taking a hit.
Today, Dan Szpakowski, the Lead Photographer and Cinematographer, captures the action as it happens and sends images wirelessly to the social media and digital team. Now, he can get photos to stakeholders without ever leaving the sidelines.
“People are shocked that it’s possible to take images and transfer them that quickly,” Dan says.
Here’s an overview of his workflow:
- Dan takes a photo on the field (He uses a Canon 1DX Mark II)
- The cameras are set up with a wireless transmitter that is connected via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to Libris, the team’s cloud-based digital asset management platform
- The team in the press box can see incoming photos populate in Libris in real time
- The photo editor selects and edits images, then sends them to the social media and digital team to post immediately
For an in-depth look on all the technical requirements you need to set up a real-time photography workflow, check out the webinar Engaging Your Audience with Real-Time Visual Storytelling.
2. Cut out steps between photography and social media
“Photography and social media go hand in hand nowadays,” says Dan. “I think working directly with our social media team on all things photo makes a huge difference.”
On gameday, the Jets post anywhere between 18-20 photos on Instagram. Posting that many images becomes a much harder task without a wireless workflow.
“Realistically, when we’re running cards, we could be looking at a 50% hit in our volume,” says Rael.
The team has learned that volume and social media engagement are correlated.
“If we don’t turn content around quickly, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot as far as volume,” says Rael. “The more volume we can put out, the more eyeballs we’re bringing to our account and the more followers we gain. And that’s what makes this whole operation run.”
On any given social platform, a brand is competing aggressively for attention, which is why it’s important to get time-sensitive photos out as quickly as possible. At the end of the day, sharing relevant, high-quality content will always give you a leg up.
3. Anticipate big moments
Every event is filled with exciting moments (some expected, some not) that make for great visuals. Capturing those moments is critical because it can lead to high engagement on social and the web. That’s why your photographer and social media team need to anticipate for what may unfold.
In the Jets preseason game against the Giants, one of those moments happened just before kickoff: legendary Jets Quarterback Joe Namath shook hands with the team’s current quarterbacks.
Dan and Rael knew that sharing this moment was a priority. Dan captured it all — the handshakes, Joe’s big smile, the look in the young quarterbacks’ faces — and then transferred the images to the social media team, who posted at lightning speed.
“You lose the power of that moment if you’re posting it a day later,” says Rael.
If your brand hosts or participates in events — whether that be workshops, music festivals or football games — speed in sharing photos is essential to maximizing engagement. Followers want to feel a part of the action and that can only happen when you’re sharing in real time.
For more tips, check out Libris’ exclusive gameday interview, Behind the Scenes with the Storytellers: The New York Jets.
All photos courtesy of Dan Szpakowski / New York Jets.