For the past five years, Jaryd Wilson helped transform the Atlanta Hawks social media accounts, taking them from bland corporate PR outlets to some of the most engaging in the NBA. But, like many of us, Wilson was ready for his next challenge.
Two months into his new role as the manager of social content for Buffalo Wild Wings, Wilson opens up about working for the Hawks, what expectations people should have when it comes to working in sports, and why it was time for him to make a change after spending half a decade with the Hawks. Edited highlights appear below:
Getting His Start in Social Media (10:54)
“My job in college did lead me to my first real career, which was working for the Fox TV affiliate in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There. I focused on I’m editing the website, editing the news stories and helping the reporters and all that, but there wasn’t social media involved. I worked there from 2010 to 2012 and at the time, that was kind of the start of the rise of social media as a tool for brands and organizations to really extend their marketing efforts. As I got more and more into social media as it really started to evolve, I really liked it and I thought there was a lot of untapped potential, especially in the sports space.
So I started to apply for some sports jobs, some social media, some not, but really was willing to go anywhere, willing to do anything as long as it was sports related just to get my foot in the door. Most of the places I applied weren’t anything sexy or interesting, but one place I’d forgotten that I had applied to by the time they called me for my first interview was the Atlanta Hawks. So I got really lucky in that my resume was picked out of a pile of several hundred. They offered me the job in 2012 as the social media coordinator and that’s how I got my start.”
On Writing About the Ups and Downs of the Job (13:33)
“The post was meant to really open people’s eyes who want to get into this business about, you know, you see all the glamor and you see people in this job on the sidelines taking photos of players and you know, working with them and attending NBA games and traveling on team planes and staying at five star hotels, but what you don’t see as kind of what I outlined there. And that’s really, that was really what I was trying to get at.”
On Industry Problems (15:52)
“What I didn’t think I would expect was the lack of support from the organization in terms of the attention to social media as well as the resources it puts behind it. I don’t think that that was just an Atlanta Hawks thing, I think that’s an industry thing. Social media departments across the industry are very understaffed. For as many hours and for as much workload that’s on these people’s plates that are in these positions, we need more bodies, we need more resources, and we need more support from the top. It’s such a huge marketing opportunity that, in my opinion, is wasted because the ample amount of resources aren’t being put toward it.”
On the Voice of the Account (21:22)
“So let’s do something crazy, let’s do something different, you know, let’s use social media as an opportunity to be the voice of a Hawks fan at scale and allow ourselves to connect with a lot of people in a very unique and different way that they’ve never been connected with before.”
On the Importance of Good Writing Skills (28:07)
“I think that skill, especially in today’s generation, gets lost a lot. People grow up in the world of social media where everything is a lowercase with no periods and grammar is an afterthought and so they don’t really take the time to master that skill, but I think it’s really, really important and it really gives you a lot of credibility when you’re able to do it correctly. It’s such a unique niche of a skillset that I think is really, really important.”