Colorado Avalanche Show the Importance of Good Social Media

ANKARA, TURKEY - AUGUST 29 : A smart phone with the icons for the Google, Facebook, Twitter applications are see in Ankara, Turkey on August 29, 2018. (Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ANKARA, TURKEY - AUGUST 29 : A smart phone with the icons for the Google, Facebook, Twitter applications are see in Ankara, Turkey on August 29, 2018. (Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche has one of the best social media teams in the NHL. What makes them stand out from the rest?

How I became a Colorado Avalanche fan is not the route a lot of people have taken. The Avs’ PR team is largely responsible.

Having lived in the UK or Europe for my entire life, deciding which NHL team I wanted to follow wasn’t as simple as just choosing the one closest to me. Technically, if I was going by geographical proximity, I should be a fan of the Montreal Canadiens. 3200 miles seems a bit of a trek to a game, though. The time difference means it’s not easy for me to just sit down and turn on a game to decide which team I want to follow either.

This means I’m mostly reliant on online content, and a large part of that, for me, comes via team social media.

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As long as I’ve had access to the internet, participation in online fandom has been an important part of my life. I grew up in a small farming town in northern England and finding people with shared interests was difficult. A lot of my teenage years were spent in my bedroom reading books and magazines about the bands and TV shows that I loved.

When we finally got connected to the internet in the late 90s a whole world was suddenly at my fingertips. Fans of the things I loved were just a mouse click away, and I could talk to them as though we were sitting in the same room. It didn’t matter what city or even what country they lived in. It changed everything for me.

This is why I feel so strongly about social media, and am very vocal about it when it’s done well. That feeling of community is incredibly important to me, because I still remember what it was like when it didn’t exist.

I started following the Colorado Avalanche on Twitter almost by chance. I have a friend who got into hockey around the same time that I did, and she’s from Denver originally so she suggested I follow her home team. I was immediately struck by how engaged the Twitter account was. This was during the 2016-17 season, which was not a good time for the Avs, yet the account was making dry jokes, chatting with the fans, and generally just doing their best to keep morale up. It was clear to me very early on that this was a team I wanted to follow.

When I was getting ready to write this I asked Avs fans what they thought made the Avs social media stand out from the others teams. Almost unanimously, the response was the way they interact with fans. I think it says a lot that a year and a half later I still remember the first time I tweeted the Avs, and the feeling I got when they responded. It wasn’t even a great tweet, just a joke about Matt Nieto’s nickname, but the fact that they took the time to reply made me feel seen and included.

It’s not just about responding to fans, though. The Avs social media team also listens, and that’s just as important. Whether it’s content ideas or suggestions for improvement, the fact that the Avs take on board what fans are saying makes for a mutually beneficial relationship. We get to have some input on the media content, and the media team gets to produce the best quality material.

A prime example of the Avs and fans working together to produce content is the compliments to players video series that was produced last year. It started off as a lighthearted request to pass on a compliment to Tyson Barrie, which then developed into a suggestion to compliment all the players, which then turned into the actual compliment videos. Fans loved it, the players seemed to enjoy it, the media team had new content to share. It was a win for everyone.

It feels like more than just answering tweets and messages, though. There’s a real sense of the media team building a tangible relationship with the fans, especially the ones they interact with on a regular basis. They remember favorite players, which sounds like a relatively small thing but really does build that feeling of inclusion.

Recently our very own Mary broke her brand new Colorado Avalanche glass which she was moving and tweeted how sad she was. Within minutes the media team were heading down to Altitude Authentics to pick up a replacement for her, even offering to ship it if she wasn’t able to stop by Pepsi Center and pick it up.

Editor’s note: I was whining on Twitter about not being able to go to Game 6 because tickets were so expensive, and the social media team hooked me up. That’s not why I’m an Avs fan obviously, but it’s why I’m also a fan of the PR team!

Instances like these, how the media team goes above and beyond for the fanbase, are just some of the things that makes them stand out from all the other NHL teams.

The enthusiasm they have when people use their logo in creative ways is another thing that makes them stand out, and is a great way of bringing in new fans.

As far as I’m aware the Colorado Avalanche are the only NHL team to utilise all of the main social media platforms, and this extra level of accessibility is something a lot of fans mentioned when talking about what they like about the Avs social media. What’s interesting is that they use very different tone and content for each platform, playing to the platform’s strengths and the demographic.

Twitter, of course, is the most prominent and where most of the fan interaction takes place. The character limit means the content is succinct but fun and informative.

Instagram is all about the images but even then they find fun and creative ways to display their content.

Facebook is mostly informative graphics, videos and game results. There isn’t the level of interaction that there is on Twitter, though.

I think Tumblr is the most interesting one. The Colorado Avalanche are the only NHL team set up on Tumblr and the demographic is different to the other three platforms. On Tumblr the user base is predominantly female, and skews young. As such the tone is a lot more lighthearted and playful. It’s a great way of reaching fans who might not have discovered the team through the more traditional platforms.

Across all of these platforms, fans mentioned that they love the way the media team gets the players to shine and really show off their individual personalities. The players also feel comfortable enough to show off their personalities which comes across in the content that’s produced.

I don’t imagine managing the social media for a sports team is easy. The hours are long. Quite often I’ll go to bed while the Avs are tweeting and they’re still going when I wake up in the morning. Not all fan interactions are positive either and some fans take out their frustrations on the social media team.


But despite that the Colorado Avalanche’s social media continues to take things to the next level in terms of fan engagement, and none of it would be possible without the team of people who operate behind the scenes to make it all happen. No matter what, the Avs continue with their culture of positivity and inclusivity, while providing us with excellent content at the same time.  

So if, like me, you enjoy the media content the Colorado Avalanche produce, why not take a minute and tell them. We have something special here, and it deserves to be appreciated.