The UFC has done a pretty great job of utilizing Dana White, the president of the organization, for all things promotions and personality. Dana White IS mixed martial arts to many fans, in that he embodies a straight-shooter attitude that so many fans are drawn to. On top of being good in front of the camera, and having an innate ability to handle media frenzies, White also can be listed as an early adopter for integrating social media into the core structure of his organization.
As far as Twitter celebrities go, White has the ratios, a constant stream of posts, and a personality that is enjoyable to follow. 690k Twitter followers is nothing to shake a stick at! Dana is also a YouTube sensation with his video blogs. His video blogs also give viewers a behind the scenes look at the UFC as a business. What this really does for the organization is enable it to shed too much harassment from dissenters just wanting to dog ‘the man’ for not being benevolent.
They aren’t hiding behind marketeer messaging fluff, they are showing that it is a business and it needs to be sustainable. You see it when Dana records his conference calls, he is indeed a savvy businessman. So when contract disputes come into play, there is no mystery about the UFC, nor their fearless leader Mr. White.
In addition the UFC has developed a Facebook Application that allows users to supposedly vote on who of their friends could beat up their other friends. I cannot verify this though, as it appears to be broken. And also worth mentioning the UFC actually promotes their athletes online persona’s and places it right smack on their homepage. Much more evolved than the National Football League, they have no misconceptions about their athletes; some of them are meat-heads, some of them are annoying, but it all makes for good traffic, so game on!
So here is how the UFC fared:
GEEK GRADE: B+
- Dana White. This guy is a social media strategist’s godsend.
- Consistent branding presence across all platforms.
- An understanding that athletes are who they are. And they are ok with letting them talk and embarrass themselves.
- An early adopter approach that will enable them to reach their target audience on any emerging social media platform.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
- The Facebook Application is a complete failure. Not only does it not work, it also is idiotic with its messaging. Cmon guys, think this through: which one of your friends will beat up who? This isn’t a sport solely enjoyed by brawlers and meat-heads. Suggestion: make the application about the online gaming happening with your recent Xbox title UFC Undisputed or maybe deliver them content on their favorite fighters instead. And fellas, QA your code.
- Bring the Dana White video blog more into the spotlight on the homepage. In fact, I don’t think I even see it on there!
- @DanaWhiteUFC should have been @DanaWhite. Offer the guy 5k and move on. Or forever face the gamut of followers missing out on your brand entirely with the one ‘I rule.’ post.
- Design a better usage of the @DanaWhiteUFC page background. Cool background, but no follow through to the many channels you are connected. Design a simple callout box on the left that has indications of where to find you on YouTube, Facebook, Myspace, etc.
- Lastly, when attending UFC 102 here in Portland I was very disappointed that there was no crowd social media interactions designed into the event. The Rose Garden is outfitted with wi-fi, why not have fans attending the event be given incentive to Tweet at the event? Contests, polls, whatever tickles your fancy, Dana.