How the NHL uses Social Media

As a fan of hockey, you used to have to wait for tomorrow’s newspaper or the TV news at night to see content from your favorite team. However now more than ever, hockey fans are going social to look for content on their favorite NHL team. The NHL recognizes this and has put a huge emphasis on growing their social media presence. Their main goal is to create more fans of the game. As many Americans know, hockey doesn’t rank the highest in interest when it comes to professional athletics in this country, thus making it that much more important for the NHL to grow their social brand. As many social marketers know, choosing the correct content depends highly on the platform it’s being published on. The NHL is on every platform you can think of, but today I want to focus on the three platforms where they’ve most improved: Facebook, Twitter, and SnapChat.

Facebook and the NHL

As you scroll through the timeline of NHL’s Facebook page, you’ll notice the majority of their content is videos. Videos are huge on Facebook. When it comes to content, especially on Facebook, the most engaging posts come by the way of videos; we see this with almost every client we work with. At the end of each night during the season they post highlight videos of sick goals, crazy saves, big hits, and any video content that is engaging to the user. They also provoke the user to watch by captioning it with catchy, almost click bait wording. For example, “Last minute winner? A fitting way to end a crazy game for the Dallas Stars” or “Kyle Okposo pulls the perfect toe-drag for an unreal shootout winner”. I’m sorry but as an avid hockey fan if I hear the word unreal and toe-drag in the same sentence, you best believe I’m watching that video. To most the word toe-drag means nothing, but to hockey fans it’s very popular term and the NHL continues to use “hockey slang” to engage more their users.

Other than video content, the NHL uses Facebook as a tool to push out all the content they write on their site such as numerous blogs to drive traffic.  To engage users, like with videos, they use short catchy phrasing to encourage users to click on the link.  For example, “Kevin Weekes takes a look at the best goalie masks he’s ever seen.” To a hockey fan, this sounds like an awesome article and it’s also article that leaves a big opening for debate. Therefore this post received thousands of likes and hundreds of comments in only a day. The keynote here is that the post content that leads to people interacting. The most common mistake social marketers make is posting content that doesn’t require the user to respond. With every post, your goal has to be to force the user to act (like, comment, and/or share).


In the case of Twitter, this is where the NHL is most active. According to Hootsuite, a platform the NHL uses, the NHL tweets about 90 times a day. This includes both original content and re-tweeting fans and their teams.

As we all now, twitter is the best place to get up-to-date news, better than any other news outlet. Hockey teams use this by providing a play-by-play ticker for all of the fans to follow. Throughout the game, teams tweets constantly about what is happening right at that moment during the game. I know for myself, if I’m away from a TV and can’t watch, I go straight to Twitter to receive my game updates. Can’t find the tweets? Almost every team uses game day hashtags. For example, if the Rangers were playing the Islanders, the hashtag would be #NYRvsNYI.

Secondly, hockey teams have really become more social, by that I mean by relating to pop culture and young fans with humor. Check out this pic below:

NHL Canes

Image via @NHLCanes

Now this term may be a tad inappropriate but it speaks to the trends of today, if you’re a young adult you’ve probably heard the term “Netflix and Chill”. Now don’t ask me to explain what that means, but I’m just going to hope you know already. This tweet did awesome, especially when the Dallas Stars came back with a funny rebuttal.

NHL on Snapchat

Lastly, we have Snapchat. Snapchat has taken the world by storm as you can tell from one of my recent blogs. This is where I’m most impressed with the NHL’s progress on social media. They’ve understood how big Snapchat has become and have made a heavy push on the platform. They give the fans access to behind the scenes content that they don’t put on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You see exclusive 10-second interviews with players, cool shots of the arena, fans enjoying the game, and even live video rink side.  Snapchat has also opened an NHL story where fans at certain games can add their own snap to the NHL story for the whole world to see. The NHL is using Snapchat quite effectively to connect to their fans in way like never before. Check out some photos from the NHL Snapchat account.

gangs all herein the white house

Images via NHL Snapchat Account

The NHL does a masterful job in social media, so much so I couldn’t cover all of it! Have any questions or comments? Please share below!