Heard a rumor that Patrick was interested in this position, so I had to take care of bidness. Take a hike Roy, or next time I'll send Vernon after ya.

Of course the Detroit Red Wings get priority on my site, topping the list in “my quest to become your next employee.”  Those of you who know me best are aware of my affinity for the winged wheel, and what native Michigander doesn’t love all things Hockeytown?  But as much as this position is about a dream opportunity to work for the Red Wings, for me it’s also about – ya know – the position itself.  I can say all sorts of pretty things on a résumé (and all of them are true), but if I want to be the Social Networking Coordinator for one of the Original Six, I figure it’s best to try and prove my worth.  We’ll get into some of the details associated with the position momentarily.  First, a little housekeeping, and some links to pages you can visit to help me build my case for why I should be the Red Wings next Social Networking Coordinator.

POSITION: Social Networking Coordinator
COMPANY: Detroit Red Wings
TWITTER ACCOUNT: Yes. (@HireMeRedWings)
FACEBOOK PAGE: Yes.  (Hire Me, Red Wings)
APPLICATION PROCESS: Complete.

STRENGTHS: I have a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts, and 2+ years of experience with social networking and online content management.  I also have multiple years of experience in broadcast media and writing for sports blogs, which could add to my worth as a member of the Red Wings’ communications staff.  I’m proficient with Microsoft Office, Audacity, file converters, and FTP sites, along with having a working knowledge of Photoshop.  I’ve been able to cultivate many positive working relationships with co-workers and external contacts (members of the media, coaches, etc.).  Each of my past jobs have required highly developed verbal and written communication skills, an ability to work independently, a strong attention to detail, extreme flexibility and adaptability, problem solving and project management skills – all required for this job opening.

WEAKNESSES: My graphic design skills are fairly limited, but I’m not certain at this point how crucial those skills are to this position.  As I mentioned above, I can get around in Photoshop, but I’ve never used InDesign.  Similarly, I have a limited knowledge of HTML language.  This site was obviously created using a Wordpress theme, but there was definitely “some assembly required.”  I made several adjustments to the theme, but I could never create one from scratch.  I think that’s a fair explanation, don’t you?  Technically, I have not worked for a professional sports organization.  Yet, all of my professional experience is in sports-related areas, so I understand the format and have spent several seasons working in the video control room for the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A affiliate).  With social networking positions, there are often times a marketing component to the job.  If you’ve looked at my résumé, then you already know that I’ve never specifically held a job in marketing.

SELF-SERVING STUFF: I’m originally from Michigan, grew up rooting for the Red Wings (and still do), and have long wondered if an opportunity would ever arise for me to get into a hockey organization.  I’ve also wondered if I would be allowed to keep an octopus on my desk, but we can discuss that later.

***

There’s no escaping the plethora of social networking options that greet you as soon as you visit the Detroit Red Wings official website.  Nearly every page on the site features a social media “toolbar” of sorts, offering links to a Facebook page, LinkedIn group, MySpace page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel.  Virtually every piece of content can be shared as well.  And, for all the diehards, you can even “like” your favorite Red Wings players by visiting their bio page.  Can we get some more “likes” for Homer, please?

Let’s focus on their two social networks with the largest amount of support – Facebook and Twitter.  Not surprisingly, the Facebook page has drawn the most attention with over 200,000 people who “like this.”  It’s not a passive 200K either, as people regularly leave notes on the page’s wall, foster discussions, and post their photos – 3,841 to be exact.  In short, it’s really impressive.  The Twitter account has a following of more than 30,000 people, which is a substantial number compared to most of the other NHL franchises, but some organizations (Montreal and Chicago to name two) have a larger set of followers.

What’s more striking to me is the fact that while they have just over 30,000 followers on Twitter, they’re also following more than 3,000 accounts.  This caught me off guard because the very first “essential function” of the Social Networking Coordinator position (according to the job opening) is to develop a strategy to “increase visibility, community awareness, and engagement.”  In terms of engaging people via Twitter, it’s awfully difficult to monitor that many accounts, and make people feel like they’re part of the conversation – a big lure of social media in general.  The Red Wings currently have just one Twitter account which includes a little bit of everything.  On that single feed, there are links to news articles (99% are from their own website), tons of pictures, information on promotions, and some original tweets mixed in as well (I really enjoyed going back a few months and re-living “via tweet” some of the few bright spots from this year’s playoffs).  While it could look good for surface numbers to have everyone following one central account, there’s certainly more than 30,000 people interested in their goings-on.  I mean, IT’S THE DETROIT RED WINGS!

What I’m getting at is… I wonder what the follower numbers would look like if @DetroitRedWings was used simply to aggregate stories from detroitredwings.com and another account was created to take care of the rest.  Obviously, there are tons of fans who want to read all the official releases/features, and consume everything available to them from the team’s official homepage.  But there’s also a huge segment of fans that are undoubtedly keeping up with the Red Wings in other ways.  Perhaps they’re reading one of the 20+ blogs listed on the Hockeytown Blog’s blogroll?  Many of those sites provide very valuable content, and while some of that content is being spotlighted in “Around the Rink” each time the Hockeytown Blog is updated, none of that info currently has a home in the Red Wings social media platforms.  Sometimes less is more, and I think this is one of those instances.  By identifying and following a smaller group of people on Twitter (beginning with national and Red Wings-centric writers and bloggers), the Social Networking Coordinator would have a much easier time creating a more engaged experience for Red Wings fans.  After all, people are much more apt to have opinions (read:  tweet) about others’ opinions, rather than an official release from the Red Wings.  Mix in some pictures, some re-tweets of funny comments from followers, and things quickly become much more engaging – for both parties.

There certainly isn’t anything Earth-shattering written above, and it’s simply my opinion after doing some looking around at the Red Wings social media presence.  For all I know, I could find out that they have certain guidelines in place (likely) and what I’ve described above isn’t in use today for good reason.  I just look at Klout scores and follower numbers for teams like the Yankees and Lakers and think to myself, “Why couldn’t the Red Wings have half, or even one-third, of those numbers?” All I hope is that I get to a point in this process where I could be informed of their current guidelines regarding their website and social media practices.  That, of course, would mean I’d have been contacted by someone about the position – and that would be great!

Until then, I’ve got some social networking to take care of, in hopes of speeding up the time between now and when that magic phone call/e-mail/tweet from the Red Wings comes my way.  We’ll talk more about this opportunity tomorrow, as there’s a marketing side to all of this as well.  Hopefully I’ll have some news to pass along.  <holding breath>