Game Time: 3 Ways the NBA & Other Large Organizations Should Manage Their Members' Twitter Use (Part 2)

Good Guy Kobe: Not tweeting during Game Time

Good Guy Kobe: Not tweeting during Game Time

In Part 1, we talked about some of the PR disasters NBA players have caused on Twitter, but any large organization should expect and prepare for members’ misuse of Twitter (as Microsoft discovered earlier this year, during its Xbox One launch). You can’t eliminate social media problems from happening, but there are definitely ways to decrease the chances of Twitter fiascos. Here are three quick tips:  

1) Have a “Game Time” Tweeting Policy & Playbook -- Companies like Microsoft should treat a major company event or press announcement like “game time.” While everyone has your company under the microscope on press day / game day, members across organizations must understand the magnitude each individual tweet can take on during game time. The NBA has tried to ban tweets until “[after] players have first fulfilled their obligations to be available to media attending the game,” but as I noted in last week’s post, those policies are often disobeyed. So instead of just banning all tweets outright, it’s better if players (and employees) are proactively given a tweeting “playbook” -- a compilation of recommended tweets and tweet topics they can transmit during game time.

2) Introduce Twitter Benching -- When employees break clearly stated rules around “game time” tweeting, or tweet about the company in ways that run against the spirit of the playbook, rather than simply issuing fines (as happens with the NBA) we recommend a Twitter “benching." The first offense can be two weeks suspension from using Twitter, while repeat offenders can face extended penalties along with fines. (Disclaimer: we realize this is a collective bargaining agreement issue, but it’s worth exploring if the Twitter image problems persist.)

3) More League/Organization Interaction with Players/Employees -- Leagues don’t want to babysit players at all times, but by engaging in more conversations with them (pre-game time and otherwise) on Twitter, leagues can make their presence known without being pushy. Players, just like members of any organization, understand the consequences of breaking the pre-stated rules of social media use, and having the league / brand interacting with them on a regular basis passively reinforces that idea. You’re not scolding, just simply reminding them that their audience can be anyone on social media -- including their coaches and managers.

With rare exceptions like Mark Cuban, executives at large organizations fly mostly under the radar on Twitter; however, there’s so many more members in large organizations than there are executives, and with those heavy numbers comes the opportunity to dramatically influence the perception of those organizations’ brands on Twitter. You spend so much time developing your product(s). It’s time you start spending sufficient time on a Twitter Participation Policy to protect the image of what you’re selling.

Kobe photo credit: ESPN.com