Social media: Rewards programs sprout up

Sports fans like winning. Sports fans like knowing things about their teams before anyone else. Sports fans like social media. Finding a way to combine them all is a natural evolution.

Social media rewards programs have started popping up across the sports landscape as teams seek to recognize their most engaged fans. SocialToaster FANACTIVE, a social-media-meets-sports platform, is one of the companies working with professional sports teams to make that happen.

The Baltimore Ravens launched RavensReps, a social media ambassador program that is now 10,000 fans strong. The Indianapolis Colts have the Colts Stampede. The Detroit Lions have Lions Pride. And it’s not just the NFL. The Detroit Pistons and Chicago Blackhawks have created programs as well.

More than just rewarding fans for liking a Facebook post or for retweeting, fans are notified of content via email -- from exclusive stories to contests -- and receive points when they share what interests them. Sharing involves clicking on a link in the email that posts updates on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or whatever other platform a user chooses.

“[The RavensReps program] is different than the other social media outlets we have,” Ravens vice president of digital media Michelle Andres said. “You’re asking them to be part of the process. They have a role to play in choosing what to share with their networks. … It’s not something we’d been able to do before.”

Each team’s site has a leaderboard featuring the fans with the most points so users can see where they stand.

At the end of a given month (or however often a team chooses), fans with the most points are rewarded. The Ravens, for example, regularly give away team merchandise and other prizes to the RavensReps.

Cavs calendar

The Cleveland Cavaliers have partnered with UpTo, a social calendar platform. In addition to the team’s schedule, the Cavs will provide information on everything from player appearances to team-related community, promotional and charity events through the site.

Social media saving soccer teams

Social networking mobilization has saved two struggling soccer clubs from the brink of financial collapse. Needing almost $2.5 million to stay afloat, Spanish team Real Oviedo moved to sell off shares of the team. After word of the sale hit the Twitterverse, followers from around the globe bought almost $2 million worth of shares -- and caught the attention of the world’s richest man. As a result of the strong response -- propelled by social media -- Carlos Slim put up another $2.5 million to save the team. Fans of Welsh team Wrexham FC raised more than $160,000 in a span of 24 hours after to taking to Facebook and Twitter to rally supporters.

Penalty box-worthy tweets

The federal mediator assigned to work with the NHL and NHLPA over resolving the lockout was removed from the negotiations due to some offensive tweets on his Twitter account. The mediator, Guy Serota, said his account had been hacked.

Meanwhile, Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland said his retweet of a post about wanting commissioner Gary Bettman “dead” was an accident.

Elsewhere in the social mediasphere

If you’re not following Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio on Twitter, you might want to consider it.

Titans running back Chris Johnson doesn't seem to be a fantasy football fan.

Bucks forward Drew Gooden came up with a unique social media ticket giveaway.

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