Q&A | Talking Twitter

Talking Twitter with Sam Neter, founder of Hoopsfix

Each month, Talking Twitter takes you behind the scenes of some of Twitter’s most interesting publishers, with the social media professionals responsible for some of the platform’s standout Tweets and viral moments. This month we sat down with Sam Neter, founder of Hoopsfix, the site for all things British basketball.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What makes @Hoopsfix worth following? 
We’re the official handle of our British basketball website, Hoopsfix.com. We are the largest British basketball website, covering every level of British basketball from junior under 14s through the Great Britain senior men and women competing in Olympic qualifying tournaments or European Championships. We're trying to be the home of all things British basketball raising awareness and growing the domestic game.

When I was younger, I lived and breathed basketball. I wanted Hoopsfix to be the media outlet that didn't exist then. I had no idea about the levels of basketball in this country. Hoopsfix is meant to plug that gap for everyone else, so it’s where you go if you want to get your fix of British hoops.

The first viral moment that comes to mind was about 10 years ago. Kobe Bryant was in London, and he was asked who would win in a one-on-one between him and LeBron James. I was one of the few cameras there. More recently, we did an image gallery of the first NBA Store in the U.K., and that was definitely one of our best-performing Tweets. As much as it's difficult that the NBA gets all the love, it opens us up to an audience who might not know about British basketball. As a result, we get followers who will hopefully become a bit more attuned with the domestic game moving forward.

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What does it mean to be a social media manager in 2021?
It means being on all the time if you're going to do it properly. You've got to know what's going on within your niche, within your community, and you’ve got to be willing to experiment. Things are changing all the time. 

Consistency is key. One of the biggest contributors to Hoopfix’s success is, not necessarily that we've done anything massively innovative, it's just the fact that for 12 years we’ve shown up every day. By doing that, you end up receiving opportunities and building your base because producing quality stuff over a long period of time consistently is a recipe for success.

 

How long have you been in social media, and how has the industry changed since you started out?
Back in 2010, I wrote an article for a British basketball magazine about “The 10 Must-Follow British Basketball Twitter Accounts.” It was a stretch to even find 10 accounts dedicated to following and covering British basketball on Twitter, and even then they had maybe 100 followers, 200 followers. Now, I would say there is a much bigger community on Twitter of people who like to talk about British basketball, so I've seen the full evolution of it. There's plenty of conversation happening, which when I first started was a lot harder to be able to say. 

Advancements like being able to live-stream to our audience was something that wasn't possible when we started. We do an annual showcase of the top junior British players in the country, and this year [we live-streamed it]. It did really well in terms of views and reach in ways that weren’t possible when we were limited to other platforms. Producing content native to the platform also makes it perform better than it would if we were to just broadcast the same content everywhere. It's obvious when we take a bit more time to actually produce something natively like taking a piece of news and turning it into a Twitter thread as opposed to just sharing the news article on our feed.

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Describe your relationship with Twitter?
I have a love-hate relationship with it because I spend far too much time on it. But it's my favorite platform, by far. I get more value from Twitter than I do from any other platform, personally and professionally, especially in the news space. For sports news and anyone within the news space, [Twitter] is the go-to because it's where stories are broken. 

When we're talking about what distracts me from other things I should be doing, Twitter's definitely up there as a distraction at times. But without it, I don't think we'd be able to do half of what we do at the level we do it, because it is a huge source of information for us.

 

What’s the most underrated Twitter feature?
I save a lot of Tweets in Bookmarks. When I need a certain thing that I want to refer back to in the future, it's there. I also think Twitter threads are still underrated, even though they’ve become a big deal in recent months. I've seen accounts grow a huge following just off the back of writing a good Twitter thread every single day. 

I need to jump on and do more with Twitter Spaces. There's potential for us to do things that are a little bit less polished and planned out.

 

Twitter is all about the conversation. How do you decide what conversations or replies to engage with?
I'm particularly passionate about conversations around growing the game, when I see people on Twitter talking about ideas that they have or things that you'd like to see around British basketball. I like engaging and trying to find solutions. Twitter has been an amazing platform to be able to connect with like-minded people who are trying to do the same positive things within the sport, to help it change, grow, and make a difference.

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Time for a quick-fire round:

 

Throwing friendly shade at other account - yay or nay?
Nay. It’s not for me, personally. I do like the way the team accounts have banter with each other, which is friendly shade, and I have had no issue with that.

 

Including more than one hashtag - yay or nay?
I do, but it's something that I'm going to stop doing. We're going to stick to event-specific [hashtags], so we can group that conversation around a particular topic. But outside of that, on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, I think we're going to stop using hashtags completely.

 

Using emoji to replace words - yay or nay?
100% down for that.

 

What accounts are a must-follow for you right now?
As a news outlet in the British basketball space, of course, it’s the Federations: GB BasketballEnglandScotland, and Wales. They're all massive for us because there's a lot of official news that comes out around the national teams and leagues. Mark Woods, one of the most prominent British basketball journalists, provides a lot of value for us in terms of getting stories. 

Also, in the last year or so, bbl fix has grown and done a great job of producing content around British basketball and keeping people informed of the news.

 

This interview has 280 characters left. Share a Tweet from your drafts folder with us.
The only thing that has lurked in my drafts before is the kind of Tweets where I’m snapping at people about certain things, and I've managed to refrain from actually [Tweeting] them. I think that's good advice for anyone: Don't Tweet in anger. Wait until the moment has passed, and see how you feel in the morning. I think, in most cases, you'll end up not Tweeting it.

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