Red Sox explain their Instagram influencer strategy

Rob Bradford
February 19, 2020 - 10:52 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When it comes to positive publicity, the Red Sox have been fighting an uphill battle of late. The more recent issue the organization had to fend off, of course, was trading away one its more popular players Mookie Betts.

So when Rich Keefe of the Dale & Keefe Show reported the news that the Red Sox had reached out to local Instagram influencers lately in order to siphon some positive vibes, it offered some intrigue.

Talking with Wednesday morning at JetBlue Park, Red Sox Chief Marketing Officer Adam Grossman clarified the club's approach.

"For influencer marketing it’s been something we’ve been doing for years," Grossman said. "Given how the importance of social media has grown over the past several years we want to make sure we’re connecting through various channels, whether that be advertising our own social media platforms others. Across baseball and frankly across brands in general the influencer marketing space has grown over the past several years. As recently as our meetings with MLB this fall, it’s been a more important channel to drive awareness and ticket sales. So we’ve been doing this for a while and it was not in response to the Mookie trade at all.

"We started probably about seven years ago. In some ways, it has always been there. Celebrity-driven marketing … We have fans like Matt Damon or Cardi B, we want to attach ourselves to those. But also as social has taken off these individuals who have become influencers have become more important. What we started to do about seven years ago was connect more to parents. With parent bloggers and influencers. We have had meetings with them about seven years ago when we created this Red Sox Mom’s Group. That was at it’s early stages about seven years and it has expanded. Again, as we look at all of the assets we have influencers are a channel in that."

Grossman said the Red Sox have had to adjust their marketing and advertising strategy, but it was a plan put in place well before the recent trade.

"We knew toward the end of last season that going into this season was going to be a different environment that we had in the past," he said. "With marketing, we don’t know what the transaction is going to be and what is going to happen. But we knew from a ticket sales, from a business standpoint, we were going have to do things a little differently. So we’re expanding our advertising footprint. We’re putting more marketing assets. So I would say there are some things we’re doing differently going in, but fundamentally we’re still trying to get as much content as we can with our players through our guys. We’re really lucky because we have a lot of what we call first-name players. We’ve got Xander, we’ve got Benny, we’ve got Raffy. So those are huge assets for us in addition to Fenway.

"We understand the emotional tie our fans have to Mookie. But it’s not like, ‘Oh my God, now what?’ Even with Ortiz we always knew there was going to be day he is not here and we still do the things we need to do. There are some adjustments but they aren’t specific to one player. On the influencer side, there are a lot of different influencers and categories of influencers. It’s a wide spectrum. It’s not like we are saying, ‘We have to act right now!’ For us, it is a communication channel but it is not a reaction to last week."