INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: Sean Merriman, Digital Media Manager, Intersport

Sean Merriman recently stepped in as the Digital Media Manager for Intersport. He previously worked at the Big Ten Network as a Social Media Producer and Web Content Editor where he was responsible for writing and editing content for BTN.com. Additionally, he ran the network's Facebook and Twitter pages as well as fourteen school-specific handles. He covers Big Ten recruiting for the Detroit Free Press and is a graduate of Michigan State. Follow him on Twitter @MerrimanTweets.


 

On how the digital side of the sports industry has grown and changed...

Good luck finding a sports fan watching a game without a second screen out. It is part of the ever-evolving digital world we live in. Whether individuals are watching a game at home, at a bar, or live, chances are they have a smartphone or tablet handy. Social media has allowed fans to be a part of the action, be it through photos on Instagram, video on Snapchat, or sharing their opinions on the game on Twitter. As a member of the media working in the sports industry, I try to put myself in the shoes of the consumer. Almost everything I do from a social standpoint, I think to myself, "if I I were a fan watching this game, what would engage me and entice me to join the conversation?". This was never a thought when I started in the industry 6-7 years ago. The pace at which social platforms are able to adapt to a user's wants and needs is what surprises me the most. I often find myself brainstorming new, creative ideas, and unfortunately, 99.9 percent of the time, someone has already beat me to it. 

On the most effective social media tool to capture your audience's attention and keep it...

It's all about engaging your audience with what they are interested in. The most effective tool to engage an audience's attention on social media is video. Live video is even more enticing on platforms such as Twitter (Periscope) and Facebook Live, as users are able to interact with you during a live broadcast. Individuals want their voice heard and have skin in the game. On a platform like Facebook Live, users are able to watch live video, submit questions, and remain engaged because their question has the chance to be answered. In other words, they feel like they are a part of the conversation. 


On how personal branding can help amplify your career...

When it comes to social media platforms, Twitter is such a unique platform because it serves as a news resource and a conversation platform for individuals in the sports media world. When @BTNSean originated, my goal was to provide both knowledgeable and engaging content surrounding Big Ten sports. It was also to connect with individuals in the sports media world who post about similar topics. That has helped me build a name and a platform for myself. In building a reputable platform, I have gained respect of others throughout the industry, which in return, has helped amplify my career.  

On staying abreast of the latest changes and innovations in the social media & digital marketing space...

I am always reading about new, upcoming innovations in social media and the digital space. If Twitter or Facebook releases something new that can be relevant in what I am sharing, I want to be the first to use it. I also have selected a number of Twitter handles that I consider extremely innovative and make it a point to check on them almost every day.

On the next big thing in social media for sports...

I think sports Virtual Reality has the chance to be very neat. People are already experimenting with it, but once it finds its niche, I could see VR exploding on the social scene. I am also anticipating Facebook releasing dual-screen Facebook live for the public. This will give media members like myself the chance to interact with athletes, coaches, other media members, ect. while not being in the same location. That could be massive in the social world.

On the go-to resource for daily news...

I think I'm like the majority of people nowadays, I get most of my news from links off my Twitter feed. Rarely do I type in a URL and navigate through a website. I really enjoy reading SBJ when I can. The one daily news source I go to everyday is Freep.com. I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and will always read the Free Press, in addition to writing for them on a freelance basis.