The Philadelphia 76ers NBA team launched contest last week, encouraging fans to choose a new team mascot from three finalists. The campaign was advertised on their official social media accounts, but the response had been lukewarm. The team’s CEO Adam Aron had made it clear that he saw increasing social media presence as a priority when he took over in October, but the contest had failed to catch the fans’ imagination.
Enter Jerry Rizzo and Hunter Coleman. These two enterprising fans decided to help the team out by launching and running twitter accounts for two of the mascots. Soon @PhilEMoose and @BFranklinDogg were engaging in friendly banter online and encouraging fan votes. This quickly caught the attention of Adam Aron, who sent a friendly but firm e-mail requesting ownership of the accounts “without the use of lawyers or anything like that”. When voting closed, Rizzo and Coleman dutifully handed over the account passwords, and the 76ers rewarded them with box seats for the season opener, and season tickets for their troubles.
Adam Aron wasn’t finished yet. He began to research Jerry Rizzo, a self-confessed “social media sponge”, and was impressed by his social media presence and the quality of writing in his blog posts. So impressed, that he offered Rizzo the role of Social Media Consultant for the 76ers. Jerry Rizzo accepted the offer of his “dream job” and the story gains an even happier ending.
This doesn’t appear to be an isolated fairytale. Beverly Macy, social media author and Huffington Post contributor, sees this as evidence of shift in the communication industry. She told Mashable: “It just shows that people now have the ability to showcase who they are for good and bad, and that all of that is findable. It says it’s about personal initiative and that if you have a love or an affinity for something just go do it, because you don’t know what might happen.”
Statistics released by MBAworld this week show that social media recruitment is on the rise. Over 18 million americans credit Facebook with getting them into their current roles. Over 10 million LinkedIn users got jobs through the site, and 8 million Americans are in jobs they found on twitter. Employers are more open about monitoring the social media presence of job applicants, not just for the screening process, but for recruiting stand-out “superusers”.
The moral of this fairy story? Make your social media presence stand out and it could reap real rewards.