Relatively new to Instagram, the Arizona Diamondbacks still show a distinct signature on the photo-sharing social media platform:
Yes, there's the occasional shot of a new signing or a batting practice. But often, Phoenix's Major League Baseball team (@dbacks on Instagram) likes to share the little extras that don't appear in front of most fans: behind-the-scenes photos of players (and sometimes mascots), pics snapped from all corners of Chase Field and occasional images that exist almost exclusively on social media.
We caught up via email with Karina Bohn, the Diamondbacks' senior director of marketing, to talk Instagram in the desert, and growing the team's following (currently at about 2,000, compared to 53,000 on Twitter and 270,000 on Facebook):
Baxter and Gonzo [former Diamondback Luis Gonzalez]
tour downtown Phoenix between games. #LetsPlayTwo
bullpen should be well-rested for Game 2. #LetsPlayTwo
What is your strategy on Instagram, in terms of sharing all those off-beat photos?
"Instagram is definitely an avenue for us to give fans a behind-the-scenes look that, in many cases, we are uniquely able to deliver. It allows us to tell our story from a visual perspective and give fans a closer peek inside the brand.
The nice part about Instagram is that there doesn’t necessary have to have a specific purpose or a story behind the photograph; sometimes it’s just a magical image from the ballpark that we want to share with our followers. It’s also a great research tool to see what kind of images resonate with our fans as we develop our marketing campaigns."
Racing Gonzo takes gold in the Equestrian
#RacingRandy race walked for the Gold
Tell me about the Golden Bobble competition -- several fun images there.
"We were working with one of our corporate partners, freecreditscore.com, on a promotion called iScored weekend. We knew we wanted to activate via social media, but based on feedback we received from our fans, we wanted to execute it in a way that those outside of Phoenix could participate.
Members of our marketing team came up with the idea of doing a Willy-Wonka-like 'golden ticket' promotion. We identified several locations across the state, then found well-known locations within those towns that could be identified fairly easily with Twitter clues. The promotion was so successful that people in the cities began forming teams, deploying in different locations, then looking for someone in D-backs clothing so they could identify where the golden ticket could be found.
We eventually started sending out decoys so our reps wouldn’t be swarmed by fans before the clues even started to be released. We picked up a number of new followers, many of whom were brand-new to Twitter. Our golden ticket winners, even those who had just created an account, were always excited and eager to share their pics via Twitter."
First Golden Bobble sighting
Golden Bobble in Tombstone. #iScored
Golden Bobble, Natural Wonder
So looking ahead, how do you hope to grow your Instagram following?
"In the same way that Twitter allows us to build an informal, online 'voice' for the team, Instagram provides an opportunity to do the same on a visual basis.
In most cases, images from the ballpark are shared with the public only if they are newsworthy or included as part of a marketing campaign. Instagram, similar to Twitter, allows us to have a more informal channel to communicate with our fans. We can introduce humor, art, style and other themes through images that may not naturally have a fit in traditional baseball communication.
This is a definitely a plus, since Instagram skews somewhat female, and reaching the female demographic is an important part of our marketing. Ultimately, we will use this as another avenue to uphold and enhance the D-backs brand in the minds of our fans."
Goldy [Paul Goldschmidt] with the Gold [Valley of the Sun native
and Olympic gold-medalist swimmer Breeja Larson]
Bullseye! [Editor's note: This is Olympic silver-medalist archer
and Phoenix-area native Brady Ellison]
All images courtesy of the Arizona Diamondbacks.