Jeremy Lin has officially gone viral - and the New York Knicks are seizing the chance to energize their social media game by cashing in on Lin's stellar rise, racking up big increases in online audience numbers.
Lin's spectacular "talent finally gets its due" story combined with his captivating on-the-court performance has catapulted him to overnight stardom and turned around the Knicks' lackluster season - all the while transforming the Knicks' social media presence.
In fact, Lin's meteoric rise from bench warmer to starter matches the Knicks' insane boost in online audience numbers game for game. Prior to his first big game against the New Jersey Nets on February 4th, the Knicks' audience was only increasing at the same steady pace as every other NBA team. Starting February 2nd, with a loss against the Chicago Bulls, the Knicks were at around 1.59 million social media fans across all social media platforms.
Lin's stunning 25-point breakout against the Nets kicked off Linsanity and a three-week-long spike in the Knicks' total social audience across Facebook and Twitter.
With each Linspirational victory, the Knicks' audience numbers enjoyed a corresponding bump, adding around 500,000 fans and followers and bringing them to a current social audience of over 2 million. In the meantime, the average NBA team has only added around 100,000 in audience.
All this new attention has lifted the Knicks to the number 4 spot on Track Social's NBA Social Media Leaderboard. The Knicks now come in behind the Miami Heat, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls - all big market teams with much better season records.
But how do the Knicks keep this social media streak going?
Like any good coach will tell you: When a player's hot, give him the ball.
That's why Jeremy Lin is now the face of the Knicks. Literally.
Not only have the Knicks changed their Facebook icon to a picture of Lin, but just two weeks ago, as Lin-sanity was starting to take hold, the team launched a new Facebook app to capitalize on all the new attention. "Like the Knicks" is about as simple as it gets: a picture of Jeremy Lin "shooting" for the Like button. If that weren't enough, Lin is also dominating Twitter with millions of mentions since the onset of Linsanity.
By flooding Facebook, Twitter and their official website with Lin quotes, clips, pics and stats, the Knicks are making sure their on-the-court sensation remains a social media bonanza. A banner add for the Knicks' free official iPhone/Android app sums it up nicely: "Want the latest 'Lin-sanity' news and videos? There's an app for that."
Lin is the kind of instant sensation that social media is made for: a tenacious talent that finally gets his shot at the big time and does what nobody expected him to do. It's the kind of story that makes Fans out of spectators and gets us engaged - both online and at the game.
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