In January 2013, Muskegon hosted the 2nd Annual USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game which showcased the top 40 draft eligible players in the league for NHL Scouts. The game draws over 200 NHL and college scouts to Muskegon. These are two graphics I created to promote the game. The first one was posted when the rosters were announced. The second graphic was posted the week of the game to promote the game and also to show off the jerseys the players would be wearing. I chose the tag “It’s Our Turn” because the Canadian Prospects Game had just been played and I wanted to play off the rivalry between the two leagues.
Two of the Lumberjacks players were named to play in the 2012 U20 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship. Frederik Tiffels played for Germany and Rasmus Bengtsson played for Sweden. I posted updates on Facebook as often as possible. It wasn’t easy since the games were in Russia, played early in the morning (luckily I’m a morning person), and not all of the games were broadcast on TV. I would search for online streams of the Swedish games. Sweden made it to the final game against Team USA.
The Lumberjacks had their first player in USHL history named player of the week in October. I needed to come up with a graphic quickly for when the story was posted online. The Lumberjacks ended up with 6 players of the week awards in 2012-13. I kept the same theme for all 6 graphics. Two of the players won multiple awards so I changed up their pictures to change up the graphics.
During the summer of 2012, I started posting to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter when it was one of the players (and the mascot’s) birthday. The first few were just single pictures of the players and at that time it was really all I could do because my picture options were limited for those players. They hadn’t been with the team for the entire season so there weren’t as many pictures of them. Once the season started, it was easier to create the graphics. I was able to make sure I had enough pictures of the players as their birthdays approached. As the season went on, besides just posting the graphic and wishing the player a happy birthday, I also added for fans to “LIKE” the photo to wish the player a happy birthday. The fan interaction increased with this simple step.
Here’s a quick post for tonight. This is a graphic I did about exactly a year ago for the USHL Draft. I wanted to give fans a behind-the-scenes look. I think this was actually one of the first posts on the Jack’s Instagram account. I have an Android phone so I had to hear about how great Instagram was before I had the chance to play.
I was sitting listening to a social media webinar when I saw some other companies were using obscure holidays to create posts and content. I thought it was a great idea but what I didn’t realize that while not always obscure holidays, I had already been creating posts for most of the non-traditional/smaller holidays.
I’ve already posted the graphics I used for Christmas and New Years so I decided not to repost them. My posts for the major holidays started for Father’s Day. It was actually a graphic to promote the Season Ticket offer that was to end that week. I had one of the players pose with a couple tickets and the collateral piece for the offer then I took it back to the office and added the details. As often as possible I tried to use an actual picture, take a picture, or create the graphic from scratch in Photoshop. I had to laugh when hours after I posted the Veteran’s Day graphic, one of the teams in the league posted the exact graphic with their logo to their social media (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery I guess). The Valentine’s Day post was actually taken from a set of Valentine’s Day eCards I’d created for the mascot Ollie’s Facebook page. Easter proved to be fun and challenging since I didn’t already have a picture of the mascot with bunny ears or have an Easter basket for him to hold.
Posts to social media can’t always be news or game updates in the sports business, or any business. I created posts for the first day of each season. I used photos on-hand for Summer and Winter and used a graphic I found online for Autumn. But for Spring, I took a photo of the mascot holding some flowers my niece and nephew had given me then Photo-shopped the background in. The graphics were posted on various social media platforms the Lumberjacks were on.
I saw this idea being used by some NHL teams and I liked the idea of giving fans a quick visual overview of the game. My original plan was to save it for the 2013-14 season but the broadcaster and I decided to role it out for the last 7 games. While I created the template for all 7 games, the last two were on the road so he plugged in the final info and posted those. I took care of the home games.
This was the 2nd post I had created on Vine. The Lumberjacks visited the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex on February 20, 2013 and it seemed like the perfect time to test out the new platform.