The MLB All-Star ballot closes July 5, and while retweets and likes aren’t the same as a vote, the creativity behind various teams’ social media campaigns on Twitter are Washington, D.C.-worthy. Playing into the election theme, clever slogans have turned into hashtags, and home run highlights are set to the tune of patriotic music with promises to represent the common fan. Vote early and vote often.
“There’s no shortage of creativity, and that’s something we get really excited about this time of year,” said Barbara McHugh, MLB vice president of marketing. “Shifting [voting] over to online only has created a lot of opportunities around the impact social media can have.”
In 2015, the league transitioned from paper ballots to strictly online. The change generated over 22 times more votes, from 27.4 million to 620 million. Since then, votes have dropped to the 200 million range — numbers can vary based on how long polls are open, among other factors. But the combination of online ballots and a growing social media presence is changing how teams interact with fans during the All-Star voting period.
When Ozzie Albies hit his first career walk-off homer in June to top the Cincinnati Reds in extra innings, the Atlanta Braves‘ social media team clipped the highlight and tweeted it out with #OzzieAllStar. It’s been viewed more than 65,500 times. A link to the All-Star ballot was conveniently placed below.
Tie ballgame. Bottom of the 11th.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 26, 2018
“We try to showcase and capitalize on things that happen in the game — cutting highlights and encouraging fans to vote,” said Greg Mize, Braves senior director of marketing and innovation. “That’s a really big component. We’re letting the players tell the story and filtering people to the right place to vote.”
Similarly, Cleveland Indians fans can tweet screenshots of their ballots, and if it picks up more likes than usual, it’s probably because it was retweeted by the official Indians account.
“Some people were worried that it would be harder to show voting through social, but I think it’s turned out to be better doing it digitally,” said Austin Controulis, Indians’ manager of communications. There are more ways to thank fans for voting. We’re creating social media campaigns that maybe we wouldn’t have thought of.”
This is coming from the organization that created one of the more unique videos — mock smear campaigns to tease other players in the league and promote their own guys for additional votes. Someone from the creative department pitched the idea in May and it stuck.
In honor of Independence Day and the democracy that has carried over to All-Star voting, we give a rundown of which teams have the best campaigns on Twitter.
A leader you can count on with a beard you can trust.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 19, 2018
“Obviously Nick [Markakis] is known for his beard, so we wanted to play into that. It was just the brainchild of some smart people on the team.” — Greg Mize, Braves senior director of marketing and innovation
For a day in June, fans could tweet a screenshot of their ballots and the Braves would reply with a picture of Markakis smiling. There were so many replies within the first five minutes, Mize said he thought they would be responding to tweets until 3 a.m.
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) June 17, 2018
“We had to make sure they’re absolutely ridiculous and over the top. We want to make these fun and hilarious. We were originally hoping some teams would come back to us with videos of their own.” — Austin Controulis, Indians manager of communications
It’s 2:02 PM, which means it’s #VoteNats o’clock!
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 18, 2018
“It’s a parody of ‘A League of Their Own.’ We were looking for something creative and fun that would catch attention. We thought it would be fun to do a throwback video of what it would’ve looked like the last time we hosted a game.” — Valerie Camillo, Nationals chief revenue and marketing officer
If you were wondering how 2:02 p.m. became the designated time to vote for the Nationals, it might help to know that the Washington D.C. area code is 202.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 12, 2018
The first 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot update was unveiled today and Jed Lowrie is fourth among second basemen for the American League. Show your support and vote for the #JediWarrior and the rest of #Voteland. pic.twitter.com/engoq9iNYm
— Oakland Athletics 🌳🐘⚾️ (@Athletics) June 12, 2018
The 2018 MLB All-Star Game Ballot is live!
— Pirates (@Pirates) June 1, 2018