For a few days at least, Kobe Bryant decided to enter the social media conversation on Twitter. This is significant on several fronts – the most notable being the fact that NBA’s fifth all-time scoring leader typically takes a strict stance on privacy. According to Mashable, Bryant actually joined Twitter in 2011 but then deleted his account after attracting more than 35,000 followers in mere hours. (Almost 90% of the league’s players are on Twitter today.)
On Christmas Day, @nikebasketball (a Bryant sponsor and creator of his official sneaker) turned the reins of its handle over to Kobe Bryant. His first tweet (at 11:09 a.m. Christmas Day) said, “Merry Christmas! Enjoy the ones you love #countonfamily” and included a photo of Bryant’s family. Also included in Bryant’s tweets were behind-the scenes photos, commentary on the Lakers development this season, and the above-mentioned family photo on Christmas Day. He consistently used the hashtag #counton(fillintheblank), with examples being #countonchallenges, #countonyourwill, #countonkobefashion, and #countonbeastmode.
No doubt this was a savvy ploy by Nike/Bryant to promote his new shoes the #KOBE8SYSTEM, which debuted on Christmas Day. He also referred to himself in the third person a few times, using his famous moniker “Black Mamba.” Bryant dispensed 17 tweets over a three-day span before relinquishing his Twitter duties at midnight on Thursday, December 27. Bryant left @nikebasketball in a healthy place with a follower count of 461,984.
It will be interesting to see where Nike takes this campaign from here. It would not be surprising to see the #counton hashtag appear in television commercials or other advertising in the near future. Nike has seen massive success with its #makeitcount campaign. The NBA as a whole has done an outstanding job on social media and makes a strong case to be the most engaging sports league on the platform today.
It’s worth pointing out that Bryant has nearly 15 million fans on Facebook – although he just joined the social network in the past year. He even hinted in a December 24 post that he may be joining Instagram soon. His wife, Vanessa, recently joined Instagram under the handle @ladyvb24. She already has 43,000 followers. The real question is when the Black Mamba will join Twitter himself to connect with fans... #countonsoon
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