Social media is part of the team for NBA draft

NEW YORK: NBA teams across the country are engaging with fans through social media, and this year's draft on June 25 gives them an opportunity to increase that interaction.

NEW YORK: NBA teams across the country are engaging with fans through social media, and this year's draft on June 25 gives them an opportunity to increase that interaction.

The Phoenix Suns are using Twitter to interact with fans leading up to and through the draft, by Tweeting from the draft party and the team's draft headquarters. The team also hosted a contest for their Twitter followers, with more than 150 winners receiving tickets to a draft party.

"Twitter is such a different way of doing it, to connect with them and make our brand human for them and see our brand outside just the players," said Jeramie McPeek, VP of digital for the Suns.

The NBA as a league is also planning to use social media as an additional source of reporting, posting behind-the-scenes tidbits, photos, and videos to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and MySpace, said Dan Opallo, director of marketing for the NBA. The league will monitor the teams - all of which have Twitter accounts, players, and draftees.

"This year for the first time, we really are covering it from a social media standpoint, almost as if it's another network," he said, noting the social media coverage will supplement coverage on NBA TV, NBA.com, and ESPN.

The Golden State Warriors are using social media as a way to be more open with their fans, a strategy the team is integrating throughout its communications.

"For the last four or five years, we haven't been as open and accessible to our fans during the draft time as we needed to be," said the team's president Robert Rowell.

For the draft this year, the Warriors created a Draft Central page on the team's Web site and worked with Involver, a brand-marketing platform for social networks, to include a Facebook Connect Chat application.

The Warriors plan to continue with the openness beyond the draft. The team started hosting in-person town hall meetings and conference calls for season ticket holders and team executives, which will continue beyond the draft.

"We're in the day and age of information through technology," Rowell said. "It's really important to open up to our fan base."

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