Social media and sports activities roles didn’t exist when most of us have been born. We couldn’t record Social Media Supervisor for a sports activities workforce as a dream job for the fifth-grade yearbook. So the pathways, the approach to life, the methods — everyone continues to be making an attempt to determine all of it out as we construct it.
So it’s instructive to listen to from these persevering with to pave the way in which, leaving legacies of their path. Amie Kiehn has been a type of trailblazers. She didn’t begin within the smsports stone age (that may be me), however what she achieved in her 5+ years with the Carolina Panthers and what continues to do now because the Head of Group at Gondola has touched the trade in significant methods. I just lately spoke with Kiehn on the Digital and Social Media Sports activities podcast and got here away enlightened and impressed.
Listed below are six large classes for social media and sports activities (and past) from the considerate, reflective Kiehn:
Don’t be afraid to place your self on the market
Kiehn talked about making her personal breaks — sending numerous chilly emails to execs within the sports activities house, getting replies again from only some. Years later, she runs into a lot of these folks as friends, a lot of whom have been too busy to get again to bold Amie again then. Reaching out is free, and doing so immediately separates you from 90% of aspiring college students and younger professionals that don’t.
“It took a whole lot of [bravery] to only attain out to folks and be like, it’s okay in the event that they don’t reply,” Kiehn advised me. “In order that’s what I’d inform a whole lot of younger folks — in the event that they’re prepared to place themselves on the market, the universe will reward them with hopefully good issues.”
Be taught to steer in numerous methods for various folks
One of the best social media staffs in sports activities have lots going for them — artistic expertise, resourcefulness, buy-in, and technique — however management and powerful, cohesive groups are underappreciated and integral. Nice social media squads additionally require a various set of gamers, all working collectively in concord to handle the output, the model, and the short-term and long-term technique. Earlier than starting her sports activities and social media profession, Kiehn spent years educating by means of the Train For America program. She talked in regards to the necessary classes she discovered from her time within the classroom, the place not each scholar discovered the identical manner and might be instructed the identical manner. She took that to coronary heart with the panthers
“So as soon as I noticed that, and the place I felt like I used to be hitting my stride, was once I was main the place not everybody bought the identical Amie,” she stated. “Some folks simply wished to be like, ‘Hey, I’m good. Approve my price range. Let me go.’ And different folks wanted some nurturing, which was positive as a result of that’s the kind of chief I’m…I’m an empath, I actually care about folks deeply. In order that was a straightforward factor to click on as soon as I bought it…That’s how I felt like I used to be being my full self, once I was main and serving to others.”
Don’t take this all too critically
When each tweet, Story, and TikTok will attain tens or a whole lot of hundreds or hundreds of thousands, it could be pure to really feel somewhat intimidation. You’re a part of a workforce that works arduous and performs a recreation amongst fierce rivals the place profitable is every little thing. You’re a part of a multi-million or billion-dollar enterprise with large budgets and spectacular manufacturing groups. However you’ll be able to’t get slowed down in all that, can’t be afraid of failure and taking wholesome dangers. Sports activities are imagined to be enjoyable, social media is meant to be relatable. Kiehn and her workforce embraced a spirit of innovation and a dedication to, properly, enjoyable.
“I feel generally we are able to take issues too critically within the content material house and that’s okay,” Kiehn defined. “On the Panthers, I all the time felt like our voice was one thing that you might type of poke enjoyable at your self somewhat bit. So we frequently would make content material that perhaps wasn’t super-polished and didn’t all the time have probably the most pristine look, prefer it was a meme that we noticed…We actually tried to have enjoyable with it.
“I feel that was how we had so many (social media) dwelling runs… is as a result of we tried to have enjoyable ourselves and make our workforce snort; then we had set the precedent that like, okay, we’re going to attempt it. The Panthers workforce all the time would hear me say this: ‘Okay. Let’s attempt it. And let’s watch the feedback like hawks’ We might publish stuff…[being] like, let’s [just] publish it. However let’s instantly get suggestions from folks. And if it’s not successful, let’s simply take it off. But when it’s a hit, let’s discover out what we did there that we are able to attempt to capitalize once more on.”
Generally it’s worthwhile to reset and that’s okay
It’s very straightforward to get hooked on the routine. You type of should, at instances, within the social media and sports activities world simply to maintain up and preserve your sanity. However that doesn’t imply groups ought to eschew a constant pursuit of progress and preserve every little thing the identical even when it feels stale, stilted, or now not appropriate. This was key perception Kiehn picked up in her time as a instructor, the place school rooms may get chaotic at instances and everyone simply wanted a reset.
Stated Kiehn: “If I felt like issues weren’t grooving in the correct manner, I’d be like ‘Alright, let’s all get collectively, let’s discuss it. Is there one thing that I’m doing? Is there a course of that must be rehashed out? [Does] somebody simply type of want a break? Let’s discuss this out so we are able to repair it and it’s not that large of a deal. So I began making an attempt to make these conversations occur extra typically.
“In order that’s a giant factor of [being a leader] for me was [to be] somebody prepared to name out [when] it looks like both morale-wise, content-wise, simply the method of how we’re managing initiatives — do we have to reevaluate one thing? So I all the time was positive with re-evaluating one thing, even when it was a course of that I cherished and [others feel] this isn’t working.”
What comes first — the buy-in or the measured success?
Okay, it’s type of a trick query. As a result of every begets extra of the opposite. In studying from Kiehn and what drove such an incredible repute and outcomes with the Carolina Panthers social media, she attributed lots to the belief and buy-in. That included her fast supervisors all the way in which as much as workforce house owners David and Nicole Tepper. And that belief gave them the company to proceed to take possibilities, have enjoyable, and proceed to construct the social media model of the workforce to the purpose that followers got here to anticipate every publish and poke.
“Our workforce actually felt fairly empowered that — if the possession group is being like, sure, you guys are type of humorous, stick with it — then it actually enticed us to maintain momentum,” Kiehn mirrored. “Once you’re organically making enjoyable content material and also you’re hopping on developments that make sense for the model, it reveals up within the numbers.
“And we had [created] such a longtime voice on social that individuals have been like, oh, I need to see what the Panthers do…We have been getting nice numbers as a result of we have been doing one thing that was enjoyable and completely different, and folks actually preferred that.”
Work-life stability is feasible in sports activities, it’s simply outlined otherwise
The final couple of years has seen the sports activities trade face a reckoning amidst the broader ‘nice resignation’ occurring within the US. Kiehn herself is amongst them, changing into the Head of Group at Gondola, the place she will be able to proceed to assist creatives and execs in social media, and at a job that additionally affords her extra time at dwelling and along with her household. Most everyone accepts that sports activities enterprise occurs throughout enterprise hours AND throughout non-business hours; sports activities are weekdays and weekends, sports activities occurs on holidays, and there will likely be early mornings and late nights. However sustainability is extra doable when the working hours are extra a collection of peaks and valleys, and never extreme with no finish. Kiehn gave a considerate perspective on the problem of work-life stability within the sports activities trade, who says the working hours in sports activities are ‘like a pendulum.’
“I actually don’t imagine there might be work-life stability in how folks think about it, [as in] I do work 50% and I reside my life [50%]; I don’t assume that works,” she stated. “I feel folks on this time proper now are craving flexibility. So I hope that on this new workforce we may have one thing the place you each work and life might be versatile and that you could lastly hopefully perhaps have extra of an equilibrium.
“I all the time attempt to remind those who…it’s like a pendulum somewhat bit; some days with extra heavy work, some days heavier at dwelling…I feel all folks ought to have…as a lot of an equilibrium that works for you as doable.”
Thanks a lot to Amie for lending her considerate, articulate perception and experience! We are going to proceed to study from her and leaders like her for years to come back…
LISTEN TO MY FULL CONVERSATION WITH AMIE KIEHN