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How to Use Social Media for Business, Part One

May 5, 2013

This will be part one of my final blog post in relation to this semester’s online course.

The gist of my class this semester has been how to successfully utilize social media platforms to expand your brand. I focused a lot on the Pittsburgh Penguins because that was the organization that I could relate to the most easily.

Fun Fact: Before I became a Penguins fan, I had no direction for my career path. Absolutely none. I was a non-traditional student; I took classes part time and worked full time. It took me 11 years to get both of my undergraduate degrees. And still, I had no direction. My career path at the time was general administrative work in cancer and neurological research. Those types of research are incredibly important to me, and I liked that I could contribute in a way that didn’t require me to slice up animals or play with chemicals to do so. But I still felt unfulfilled. When I thought about what my dream job would be, there wasn’t one. I only had ideas of what I might like to do, and those were simply based on high salaries. It was incredibly frustrating to have such a lack of desire for my career. As great as my job at the time was, I wasn’t challenged and I didn’t feel fulfilled- and there was little room for me to grow professionally (or fiscally for that matter). Something had to change. And it did.

Hockey Night in PGH

You may wonder how this transpired. How did watching a team two states away give me professional direction? Simple. By how they interacted with their audience- their fan base. When I saw what they did, how they engaged their fans, I knew I wanted to be a part of that. To share my passion for the team with the thousands of followers out there. For the first time in my adult life, I had a clear, professional goal. And I decided to go for it head on. This is how it happened, and how social media helped get me on the track to my goal: to work for the Penguins Organization.

For those of you who aren’t avid hockey fans such as myself, you may not have heard of a game called the NHL Winter Classic. This game is played every year in an outdoor arena, as a throwback to the origins of ice hockey. Many hockey players learned how to skate, and play, on an out door rink (or pond/lake). This game is a tribute to the genesis of that. It’s authentic. Rugged. And hockey fans love it. This game is very widely publicized on the NHL network, and other sports news networks that air hockey games, but outside of that, it isn’t very well known. This is where traditional and social media combined to generate interest in the game, and expand the fan base. The start? HBO. Yes, HBO, the movie channel(s).

I had no idea that the Winter Classic existed. Until one day in late fall, 2010. I was watching a random show on HBO when an ad featuring the Winter Classic came on. It was called “24/7 Pens/Caps: Road to the Winter Classic”. The series contained 6-8 episodes of behind-the-scenes interviews, practices, game content for both of the teams, in the weeks leading up to the Winter Classic which aired January 1, 2011.

And just like that, I was smitten with the Penguins. In the coming months, I became obsessed with learning as much as I could about the players, the team, and the sport of ice hockey. This is where social networking really sealed the deal for me. Not only had I found a real interest in a sports team, but I had found what I wanted to do in life. The HBO series got me intrigued, and the Penguins social networking strategies made me a lifelong fan, and is the catalyst to knowing what I want to do in life: Social Media Marketing and PR.


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