#DEFENDNWA and the Blue Jackets Social Blitz - Is it Working?

The Blue Jackets are trying to sell, hard, but are you buying? (Image courtesy of the Columbus Blue Jackets)

In case you're somehow totally divorced from blogs, social media, facebook, email, or phones (and in that case, however did you get here?), you may not have noticed the Blue Jackets making a major social media push over the last few days.

Firing up a campaign calling on fans to "Defend Nationwide Arena" by boosting home attendance, and using the "#DEFENDNWA" hash tag to go along with the new #JTB slogan, it's been accompanied by twitter avatars, facebook icons, and even a call to arms by James Wisniewski.

Tying the campaign to a pre-sale promotion on the club's facebook page and ticket giveaways, the goal is to energize fans and prevent incidents like the infamous Pittsburgh takeover.

But it's worth asking if this is working.

To their credit, the Jackets have been ramping up their use of social media for the past several years, including the addition of a dedicated social media / digital marketing manager this summer. The club has worked to engage fans more and more, helping to combat more than a few on-ice disappointments by extending their ties into the fan community and embracing twitter and facebook to help build connections.

On the other hand, it can be seen as too much - a stream of visually identical avatars from staff, players, and the official accounts makes it difficult to quickly understand who is speaking, and the increasing flood of hashtags begins to feel like an overload.

Consider that this article, when tweeted, will feature the #DEFENDNWA, the club's long standing #CBJ, and perhaps a #JTB or #NHL.

Will it catch the attention of someone different thanks to each of those tags? Yes. Is it going to interest them in reading it? That's another question. How much becomes simply trying to grab attention, rather than genuinely creating interest?

It's legitimate to look at the search engine results or social media trending and saying that the more these tags and campaigns circulate, the more successful they are, but the real success or failure of these efforts is going to be measured in how many tickets are sold - and specifically, how many tickets are sold to Blue Jackets fans who will wear the home colors with pride when teams capable of drawing many more fans into the area (Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, etx) come to town.

Given the challenges the team faces in a post-Nash, potential lockout, last place offseason, that's a tall order, and while I am hopeful we'll see improvements in the on-ice product, I'm not so sure we're going to see the same thing in the stands.

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