ESPN Dominates Social Media, Here’s How

Gabe Goodwin is the Coordinating Producer of Social Production for ESPN. Gabe leads SocialTV production for multiple shows, including SportsCenter, SportsNation, First Take and Numbers Never Lie as well as specialty shows for NFL, NBA & MLB.  He spoke at the Westchester Digital Summit.  I had the pleasure of chatting with him moments after he stepped off stage. He shared some incredible insights regarding how ESPN has been so successful in social media.

I asked Gabe about how much social media informs the producers about content they’ll put on air. He mentioned that there is some value in pivoting on a story based on what’s breaking in social media, but that the real news comes from the newsmakers – ie, the athletes on the field.

He shared that ESPN leverages Mass Relevance to help his team look at real time marketing and breaking content as the show airs. They use them to review a data point to see if the sentiment is in line with the production run down for that particular day. They may give some more attention to something that will show up on the report. So for example – this story line may resonate more than the lead story line. But he makes it clear that a seasoned producer will never be swayed by social media. They review data points. They add social media to the pie, but it’s only a percentage of the audience. They’re also those who choose to be vocal. Gabe explained that you want to reward clever content, but you don’t want to get away from the host of the show to feature fans on social media.

See the whole Video here:

Purchase a ticket to next year’s Westchester Digital Summit in advance.

Online Reputation Management: How Important is Your Online Reputation?

What is “online reputation management” (or ORM)? It’s exactly as the name reads – it’s the art/science/process/etc. of managing your online reputation.

Since the advent of the Internet, there has been an ever-increasing demand for ORM services, especially in the present day with the prolific use of social media.  One joke gone awry, one spur of the moment controversial opinion is usually all it takes to tarnish one’s reputation. Whatever is posted on the Internet, generally, stays on the Internet – forever.

So, let’s say you own a business, and for some reason a customer gets upset, but instead of letting you know he/she decides to write a scathing blog post about your business. Unfortunately for you, this blogger is fairly well known and respected within the industry.  Thus the post crosses the screens of hundreds (or thousands) of people. Due to the post’s popularity, it begins to rank in Google for your business name. So now, whenever anyone does a search for your business in Google, one of the top results will be this negative blog post.

Why is this significant? In today’s digital/mobile age, everyone is connected to the Internet at all times. More people than ever are using the Internet to get information on everything from general trivia to reviews on businesses.  In fact, in 2011, 77.86% of people in the United States (src: Wikipedia) have some kind of Internet subscription, and that number is increasing. So, chances are, people WILL see that negative blog post written about your business.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done regarding outsiders writing negative content on your business (or name). Remember, once someone posts something on the Internet, the content stays there forever. However, there are steps you can take to mitigate any negativity related to your business/name.

  1.  First, set up web alerts. Set up Google Alerts for your business name and any other relevant terms that are related.  Also, in today’s social world, it’s not a bad idea to set up alerts for social media as well through a website like  Now anytime your name pops up on the Internet, you will get an email in your inbox. From here, it is your responsibility to respond to any negative feedback, with positivity that’ll leave that person feeling content.
  2.  Second, set up social media pages. Regardless of your opinion on social media, millions of people are on Facebook, Twitter, etc. every day. These pages can also serve as a hub for your customers so they can send complaints directly to you rather than through a blog or on a review site like Yelp. Be sure to stay active on these pages – people don’t appreciate their complaints/questions going unheard. I’m not going to lie; managing your social media will take a lot of time, but if you don’t have time, hire someone else to manage it. Not only are you able to have a direct, open line of communication with your customers, your social pages will rank in Google for your business name. Having a presence on social is too important to ignore, and is absolutely vital to managing your online reputation. The Internet is gearing towards social; so don’t get left by the wayside.
  3. Third, learn search engine optimization (SEO). Or hire someone to do your SEO. For the newbies, SEO is the “science” or “art” of influencing the major search engines (i.e., Google) to show results you want for certain search terms. Think of it as marketing without actually marketing. Remember that bad blog post about your business that keeps showing up in Google? SEO can get rid of that blog post by pushing positive content up and burying the negative content to the 3rd, 4th, or 5th, pages – a.k.a. the “Google void”.

Managing your online reputation is really just like managing your real-life reputation. You have to be wary of how you speak to/handle people who you had contact with. The Internet world works differently than the real world, but both tie into each other as more and more people around the planet join the online community.

Jeff Pearlman’s Thoughts on the Inaugural Westchester Digital Summit:

Jeff Pearlman, who writes for Sports Illustrated and whose books have been named as a New York Times Best Seller, was beyond satisfied with the Westchester Digital Summit. Seeing as he spends most of his days in coffee shops writing, he was uncertain and rather hesitant on what to expect as a speaker on panel one. So he dressed for the occasion and made his way to the Westchester County Center, which is located in White Plains, NY. Before panel one kicked off, he recalls sitting in the green room, which was quiet and stilted. He thought to himself that this might be dreadful and awkward; however, once he hit the floor the discussion became detailed and mind opening. “I thought it was great,” he said. Pearlman felt extremely confident during the panel while sitting next to Fox News Anchor, Dari Alexander. “I felt like we were the two media representatives,” he said. “And sort of shared a philosophy on Twitter and its impact on the press.” He was immediately blown away by how engrossing and enriching the panel was. “I was bragging about Chris for days afterward,” he said, “just a symphony of joy.” Pearlman finds himself on the cusp of trying to understand the new age of digital media while still holding on to his old school perspectives. The Westchester Digital Summit addressed the importance of social media in the business world. Looking ahead to the next Digital Summit, Pearlman predicts double the attendance. “This thing was amazing,” he said. “And word of mouth is awfully powerful.”  Follow Jeff on Twittter @jeffpearlman