By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published Apr 28, 2014 at 3:05 PM

As technology advances and people are more connected through mobile devices, it is more important than ever to have a strong presence on digital media.

When I’m out and about in the marketing world, this is the front porch discussion. In times before technology fueled the way in which we connect with each other, neighbors would gather on front porches to discuss the topics of the day. Now, that front porch is a social media app on a phone or tablet. It is about engaging with people where they already are.

"For us, social media is a way to reach fans where they already are. We know they’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., and we know they’re talking about us and posting photos and creating content related to us," said the Brewers' Tyler Barnes.

"Being a part of that is a great way to get the pulse of the fan base, join the conversation and engage with them."

As organizations, individuals and businesses use social and digital tools to send out information, they could learn some lessons from area sports franchises like the Brewers and the Admirals.

"Social media and a vibrant website are vital to our success. We have an avenue to speak directly to our fans, sponsors and media through the outlets that we use, and that allows a two-way conversation," said the Admirals' Jon Greenberg.

As the hockey team entered the post-season late last week, the organization tapped into social media to keep the fan base engaged.

"We can respond to their questions, take their suggestions or just simply share their experiences with Admirals hockey," Greenberg said. "Those types of testimonials that are shared are often priceless as an endorsement of our product." 

As Twitter and Facebook have changed their looks in the last month, people are making the adjustments needed to keep in connection with each other. As observers of traditional and digital media, we know that change is constant.

"This is an ever-evolving area with new technology coming on seemingly daily. People want to get their information from us in the most-timely fashion and our use of our website and social media platforms gives us the best chance to succeed," Greenberg said of the Admirals' engagement.

What drives that success is that – even with changes – that the Admirals have an established enough brand. People know what kind of information they will get if they go to the team’s Facebook page or follow the Twitter feed.

"Is it a way to build the brand? Absolutely. Sharing a love for a team is something that brings people together and enhances the social experience," Barnes said about the various places the Brewers engages with the fans.

"So, it makes sense that social media has a dramatic impact on the way that fans interact and experience sports – and we can engage and grow a passionate and loyal community through it."

Beyond the action on the field of play, or the deals and information shared with the fans, both of these teams are successful in building relationships with their sponsors. The bottom line is key to keeping a sports franchise successful.

"We are also able to give our sponsors extra love (on digital media) which allows them to (engage) with us in a creative and cost-effective way, and that’s an area that we strive to improve and excel," Greenberg said.

SPEAKING OF DIGITAL MEDIA: In recent years, it’s been the Brewers’ fans that have earned the team representation in the annual All-Star Game.

"Brewers fans have the well-earned reputation for filling the ballot boxes with all-star votes for their favorite players. With at least one Brewers player elected to start in five of the last seven All-Star Games since 2007, Milwaukee fans demonstrated that it doesn’t take the largest market to be heard as they voted for their hometown Brewers in almost unheard of numbers," said a statement from the team.

Milwaukee has eight players featured on the ballot for the 85th Major League Baseball All-Star Game scheduled for July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis. The players are catcher Jonathan Lucroy, first baseman Mark Reynolds, second baseman Rickie Weeks, third baseman Aramis Ramirez, shortstop Jean Segura, and outfielders Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez and Khris Davis.

Voting has already started online at and through in-park balloting at Miller Park.

At, all fans voting 21 or more times will be entered into a drawing to win a prize package that includes game tickets, an opportunity to go down Bernie’s slide, an invitation to watch batting practice and a meet and greet with Ryan Braun. There is also a raffle for those filling out ballots at Miller Park.

Both the National League and American League teams will have eight fan-elected starters. The pitchers and reserves for both will be determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by the two all-star managers.

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.