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Matt Pittman interviews Gregg Greene and Kenneth Olson at Tuesday’s SMC Seattle Meetup.

When panelists are introduced at an event, the audience usually gets a typical rundown of accolades and achievements of the given speaker. You know the drill. 

Tuesday night inside City Hall was a tad different.

When moderator Matt Pittman took the mic to start the night, it was obvious that this particular Seattle Social Media Club meeting was all about sports.

“Standing at 6-foot-1, out of the Unnnnniiiversity of Oreeegonnn … Kennnnnethhhh Olsooonnnnnnnnnn!!” belted Pittman, doing his best lineup introduction impression.

“Standing at 6-foot-6, out of the Unnnniiiversityy of Washingtonnn … Greeegggggggg Greeeeeeeeeeeene!!”

Gregg Greene sporting the Mariners’ newest giveaway, the beard-hat.

For the next hour, about 200 or so in attendance were treated to insight from two of Seattle’s top sports social media people: Gregg Greene, a UW alum working with the Mariners — who is also not quite 6-foot-6 — and Kenneth Olson, a UO alum working with the Sounders/Seahawks.

And while this night was surely focused on sports, the content could have easily been applied to your company’s social media efforts. Sports teams, after all, are like businesses that must always think about their brand image.

They covered several different topics, from how teams interact with fans online to how they deal with their own players Tweeting. Both teams now have full-time digital marketing managers to help drive social media efforts. Those jobs did not exist five years ago.

Here are three takeaways that you can apply to your business’ social media strategy:

1. Put on your awesome glasses on

“You need to see the world through awesome glasses,” Greene says. What the heck are awesome glasses? It means always keeping your eyes open for great ideas and relating that back to your brand.

Yes, the Sounders did the Harlem Shake.

Take the Sounders’ recent Harlem Shake video, for example. That was Olson and his marketing team seeing something funny that was completely unrelated to soccer and figuring out a way to bring it back to their own brand.

Creative ideas come from so many different places and you don’t know how certain ones will influence your brand. You can’t be closed off to ideas and you have to be willing to try your own ideas yourself. Listen to people that are passionate about their brands and products — they have a lot of ideas.

2. Give your employees freedom on social media

Companies have official Twitter accounts, but so do employees who may represent the brand just as equally with their social media voice.

It’s not easy patrolling this, especially for sports teams. Several college coaches have had to ban their players from Twitter because it became so much of a distraction.

But as long as your players — or employees — don’t cross over company-wide social media rules, it can provide benefit to the brand. Greene used a broadcasting analogy.

“Your play-by-play guy is the brand account and your color commentator are the personal accounts,” he explained. “You need the color commentator to add additional stories and a personal take on what the brand is talking about.”

3. Remember the four pillars 

The Mariners social media efforts hinge on four pillars: Listening to the fans, conversing with fans, pushing out quality content to fans and rewarding fans.

That means monitoring replies and responding the best you can to Tweets or comments on Facebook. That means pushing out shareable, quality content like videos and photos. And that means rewarding fans with Retweets and “likes.”

Greene told a story of one fan on Twitter that was crazy about M’s pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen when he arrived in Seattle last year. Greene noticed the fan’s fervor and decided to reward her by asking Wilhelmsen to record a short video saying thank you. As expected, the fan went even more crazy after receiving the message.

“Creating those bonds, creating those relationship — you can’t do that anywhere else,” Greene said of social media.

Finally, here are some Tweets from Tuesday night. It being a social media gathering, there were many to pick from:

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