The Winter X Games is a social gold mine with its huge following, young participants and high volume of multimedia content available. For the most part, the X Games has recognized and capitalized on all of the opportunities social has to offer, with very few mistakes.
On Facebook, the Winter X Games has fully utilized the ubiquitous social network to connect with their large fan base. Its Facebook page currently has over two million fans and more than 32,000 “talking about this.” The page is positioned as “The X Games,” as are all of their social channels, but has been transformed to cater specifically to the Winter X Games with two interactive tabs as well as Winter X Game-related imagery and videos.
Their first tab is a Winter X Games Aspen tab, featuring an interactive map of an Aspen slope, highlighting the different events taking place at the Winter X Games and simulating the experience of actually being at the event. The tab places a high emphasis on the user experience with animated graphics that activate when the user hovers over them as well as accompanying sound effects, such as cheering fans. In addition, there is a pop up window for every event at the games showing fans the schedule as well as relevant videos specific to each event. This is a cool feature, which really keeps users engaged.
In addition to the Winter X Games tab, there is a tab on their Facebook page for X Cast, which offers live digital X Games programming during the event. The tab currently hosts Winter X Games videos as well as a section for users to check in and chat with other fans. The X Cast tab has integrated with Google+ and features a video including a Google Hangout that took place with some of the X Games participants. This Facebook integration allows the user to watch the event live without having to turn on their TV as well as gives users a behind the scenes look at their favorite athletes participating in the games, making them feel more connected with the event.
Despite demonstrating skills in managing a successful Facebook page, on Twitter, the Winter X Games has failed to capitalize on a key opportunity.
On their ESPN website there is a scrolling marquee showing tweets of the athletes participating in the Winter X Games. In addition, below the tweets, there is a hyperlink directing fans to follow the X Games on Twitter. This is a great opportunity to keep fans engaged with the event and continue the conversation on Twitter.
The only problem is, this hyperlink directs fans to the wrong page. The correct Twitter account has 138,256 followers and is a verified account. While a seemingly insignificant mistake, the Winter X Games is missing an opportunity to further engage with their fans.
The X Games is already well established on other social outlets. They have a YouTube page that hosts videos from the events as well as promos from upcoming participants. They are currently featuring a video series called Real Snow.
The campaign is sponsored by Vitamin Water, and the videos each spotlight a different snowboarder showing off their tricks, with fans having the opportunity to vote on their favorites. Although Vitamin Water has an ad running at the top of the Real Snow webpage, their brand is missing a great opportunity. These videos all have hundreds of thousands of views. Integrating its brand within the YouTube videos would heighten the brand’s visibility among the winter sports fan.
The X Games stays on top of social trends as demonstrated by its Google+ page. This page gives fans yet another outlet to engage with the event and view videos and images. In addition, by adding multimedia to their Google+ page, the X Games is increasing their search optimization as their page is automatically connected to Google Search.
The X Games’ Tumblr page condenses all of their social efforts into one easy-to-navigate site for users to access. In addition, the X Game has created a Mobile App to ensure that all of their fans have a way to follow and remain engaged with the event. The Mobile App is especially intuitive as it allows the users to stay connected with the event, despite their physical location. The app also provides fans with a way to communicate with other fans and remain social by directly connected the user to Facebook.
The X Games offers a tremendous opportunity to engage with the winter sports fan, and from a social standpoint, the X Games is doing a pretty good job of reaching their target audience and providing rich content. We’ll see if this engagement leads to increased ratings when the X Games air on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC from Jan. 26-29.