Marketers that study successful Spanish-language Facebook pages know that the NBA’s Spanish-language page, entitled éne•bé•a, has over 240,000 fans.  But what is less well known are some of the internal processes and strategies that enable the NBA to connect and engage with Spanish speaking fans on 5 social media platforms.  In October we interviewed the NBA about their social media strategy.

“Social media is a key component to our Hispanic marketing strategy. It allows our fans to engage with our sport and our players on a more personalized level,” explains Saskia Sorrosa, Senior Director of U.S. Hispanic Marketing at the NBA, “While we have éne•bé•a fan pages on five social networking sites, our page on Facebook is the fastest growing to-date.”  It is easy to see that Facebook has been the standout effort as they have grown by roughly 17,000 fans since our interview 3 weeks ago.

We now review each of the 5 forums where the NBA holds a presence focusing on Facebook as it holds the largest fan following.

Facebook – 247,190 fans

éne•bé•a Name The Facebook page is cleverly named, “éne•bé•a (página oficial de la NBA).”  There are several key points to note here about the name.  First, is that the name starts with ‘éne•bé•a’ which in Part 1 of this series we discussed the importance of language considerations when launching a campaign.  The NBA decided to use ‘éne•bé•a’ because that is how Hispanic fans had been referring to and connecting with the league ever since they first started engaging with the ‘NBA’.  From their research they found that while Hispanics generally like to be recognized, they do not like to be singled out.  This is an important note as they bypassed ‘easier’ names such as ‘NBA en Español’ or ‘NBA Latino.’

Second, is that they included in the name, ‘(página oficial de la NBA).’  The importance of this is that Facebook users who may not have heard the campaign name before would still find this page if they searched ‘NBA’ in the Facebook search bar.

Growth Strategy – To make a fast landing, the éne•bé•a enlisted Facebook advertising for a period of 2-3 months.  Upon successfully reaching a significant following they discontinued paid promotions and relied on cross promotion and organic growth.  The éne•bé•a Facebook page was cross-promoted on many channels including the English-language NBA Facebook page and the éne•bé•a website home page.

Post Content – A typical week of postings will include news from the NBA, video highlights, questions to fans, clips from their Spanish-language commercial campaign, and news about Hispanic players.  Interestingly, video highlights are in English as the NBA learned from research on their Hispanic fans that most prefer to watch the highlights in English, but read the content in Spanish (see more detail on this in Part 1).

Fan Engagement – After reviewing Facebook data, we saw that the éne•bé•a page receives about 70 fan interactions per post.  Among the various methods the NBA uses to gain fan engagement is asking their fans what would they ask a player who is scheduled to be interviewed by éne•bé•a ambassador Felipe Lopez.  “We take the best 2-3 questions to ask the player when (Felipe) does the interview; and include the names of the fans asking the questions we select, and where they are from,” adds Ms. Sorrosa.   “Then we post the video on Facebook so fans can come back and see if their questions were asked.”

Other Social Media Profiles

Overall, the éne•bé•a posts a uniform message across its Spanish-language social forums.  “We try to be consistent in our messaging in everything we do across the different platforms,” notes Ms. Sorrosa.

Here is a brief look at the other 4 social media platforms.

Twitter – 1832 followers.  There are some fun mentions between well known players who will ‘talk’ to the éne•bé•a on twitter. In our research we saw the NBA is mentioned approximately 122 times per week.

The Mi Página page of the éne•bé•a

Mi Página – 24,937 friends. We expect rapid fan growth on this forum as the NBA recently announced a partnership with Univision which holds Mi Página.

Que Pasa – 1,160 fans. Interesting here is that Ms. Sorrosa herself is the Community Manager for this page so it gives the page a more personal touch.

MySpace – 1,062 friends.  As MySpace recently re-launched their platform we will see if the éne•bé•a gains more friends here.

Final Thought:
Marketers looking to gain an edge with Spanish-language and bilingual social media can certainly learn a significant amount by studying the NBA’s efforts.   What methods of engagement practiced by the NBA can be practically used for other campaigns?

In addition to his firm, Mr. Diaz publishes the blog Social Media Spanish.

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