In the pandemic era, NFL teams are leveraging Twitter to connect with fans

David Herman, global content partnerships, Twitter

Live sports are back, and the crowds have gone virtual. That means teams are getting creative about developing one-of-a-kind fan experiences to keep everyone engaged and excited about the season. This is especially true for the NFL: According to a recent study, 81 percent of NFL fans on Twitter agree that Twitter helps make up part of what they’re missing when they’re unable to attend a sports event in person, or watch it at a bar with friends and family.

We spoke with Astasia Williams, senior social media manager for the Washington Football Team, about the team’s rebrand, the virtual NFL Draft and what makes Twitter her team’s go-to platform.

Twitter: We love the rebrand! Did Twitter help at all in getting the Washington Football Team to where it is today?

AW: Twitter has always been our first choice of communication with our rebrand. It’s the platform where we can see and receive the most feedback and engagement from our fan base. With any content we post during our rebrand, we see how our fans and consumers react to it and then we decide if we should do more of that style of content or try to move in a different direction. Also, Twitter is the platform where we have the largest following. We’re asking fans to give us their ideas for a new name, designs and logos. We’re asking them to provide hashtag suggestions. We want the fans to feel a part of this transition as much as possible. Twitter provides those B2C connections the most.

Twitter: What’s the key to the @WashingtonNFL Twitter strategy?

AW: Don’t tell this to the other platforms, but we see Twitter as our biggest asset when it comes to social. That’s because we have the opportunity to really see what our fans and consumers are saying about our brand, our team and our organization. Depends on the content, but oftentimes we use Twitter to test out what content works for us and what doesn’t.

Twitter: What’s an only-on-Twitter activation that sticks out as a highlight?

AW: The start of the pandemic was right around the time of the NFL Draft. Everyone was super hyped because this was the chance to really showcase our new “vibes” for the brand — right before the name change announcement. We were already planning a huge Draft party, so we just made it virtual for our fans’ safety. We had our biggest influencers, fans, coaches and players join the three-day live show on Twitter. We used Twitter to interact with fans throughout the show and party to add fan Tweets to the ticker on the broadcast. The results were great throughout the weekend.

Twitter: It’s a wild time for sports. What do you think the future looks like, and what part will Twitter play?

AW: As we are trying to maneuver through this new normal, we’re seeing things and concepts work that some may like to continue in the future. With everything moving toward digital priority, social media — and especially Twitter — has never been so crucial to sports and branding. The NFL did a fabulous job in presenting the NFL Draft virtually in a way that a lot of us feel worked well! Seeing the players with their families and friends, and seeing the commissioner in a more informal fashion — I think it worked. So I’m looking forward to seeing what stays, even when times change. I see Twitter playing a role of continuing to be the leading platform of communication for B2C.

The article ‘Kicking off the NFL Season on Twitter’ first appeared on


●  Sparkler, commissioned by Twitter, Twitter as a Stadium Survey, August 2020, USA

More from Digiday

What TikTok’s e-commerce launch could mean for marketers and content creators

TikTok has officially launched its new e-commerce platform, TikTok Shop, earlier this month on August 1. Using the new e-commerce platform, brands and creators can sell products directly on the platform, potentially creating new revenue streams, and tap into the short-form video platform’s growing popularity.

‘The influencer industry can be really vile’: Confessions of an influencer marketer on the industry’s unfair hiring practices

While the influencer industry might sound exciting and like it’s full of opportunities, one marketer can vouch for the horrific scenarios that still take place behind the scenes.

Digiday+ Research: Marketers said revenue grew in the last year, with more growth expected ahead

After a tumultuous 12 months, marketers are getting a clear picture of how they really did during a time of true uncertainty. And, as it turns out, it wasn’t all that bad.