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How the Buffalo Bills Increase their Social Reach by 4X+ through Non-Branded Channels

With PhotoShelter and Socialie, the Buffalo Bills have expanded their reach on social media and streamlined real-time content distribution.

  • $120k+ saved by automating workflows with AI
  • 4x increase in social media reach through PhotoShelter and Socialie
  • 740k+ assets stored, organized and distributed through PhotoShelter

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From Lagging Behind to Leading the Way

The Buffalo Bills are a legendary NFL team with a huge, dedicated fanbase. To keep their legacy alive, they need to connect with fans beyond their own channels. The Bills turned to PhotoShelter to automate their photo workflows and instantly get content into the hands of their most powerful brand ambassadors: the players.

The Challenge: Manual Tasks Slowing Down Content and Limiting Opportunities

Ben Green, Team Photographer for the Buffalo Bills, and his team capture tens of thousands of photos every game. Those photos must be edited, tagged, and distributed to players and stakeholders at lightning speed to maximize their impact. Missed opportunities mean a smaller audience and less fan engagement.

  • Manual tasks waste time and slow production. “Time spent is time wasted,” says Ben Green. Manually tagging each player in thousands of photos was a huge drain on his team’s resources. This left little time for other tasks and meant some photos wouldn’t get tagged at all, making them impossible to find later.
  • Content demands outpace manual tasks. After each game, players were eager to share photos with their followers, but Green’s team was overwhelmed. “We would get bombarded with texts, calls, DMs asking for photos… It was kind of like a triage situation,” he explains. Fulfilling these requests one-by-one took hours, and there was simply no way to keep up.
  • Missed opportunities for massive reach. The Bills knew their players had a combined social reach of over 15 million fans. If they could only get content to players quickly, it would massively boost their online presence. However, delays meant missing out on those peak moments of excitement and engagement right after games.

“On an average game we produce 1200+ edited images per game. And as a team, there’s only so much that we can post on our social media channels. We can’t post every guy on our fifty-three-man roster. Players are the biggest thing when it comes to non-brand channels, and who picks up their photos as well. If we can tap into 15M+ additional fans with the highest quality Buffalo Bills branded content, then we’re able to cross-pollinate between the players’ followers and ours.”

Ben Green, Team Photographer

The Solution: AI and Smart Automations from PhotoShelter Transformed the Bills’ Content Workflow

The Bills’ photography team struggled to keep up with demand. Manual tasks slowed them down, and players waited hours for photos. This meant missed opportunities to connect with a massive online fanbase. Using PhotoShelter’s AI-powered solutions and Socialie’s seamless content distribution completely changed their content game.

  • Automated workflows using AI. Tagging photos was a painfully slow process. “Our editors would have to look up each person… manually,” recalls Ben Green. PhotoShelter’s AI (RosterID) automatically tags players using facial recognition and jersey numbers. “When I say this saves time, it’s an understatement,” says Green. “This really transformed our lives.”

  • 4x social reach with real-time distribution. Socialie seamlessly integrates with PhotoShelter, sending images to players in near real-time. Players can even post photos of their gameday outfits before they hit the field! “That level of content distribution has really changed our lives,” says Green.

  • Modern analytics and actionable insights. Socialie’s analytics provide the Bills with valuable insights into how their content is used by players. “We get insights on what they’re posting, how quickly they’re posting it… pretty much every metric you could possibly want,” Green explains. This data allows the team to refine their photography and content strategy for even greater impact.
  • Easily expanding to staff and brand partners. The Bills’ success has inspired them to expand this model across the organization. “We have people on our medical staff… partners that have logos at our stadium… we’re making everybody’s job easier,” says Green. Simple photo delivery for everyone means the entire Bills organization benefits from a stronger, more unified online presence.

“So because of PhotoShelter and RosterID, which is very similar to PeopleID, we were able to automatically tag the player name in the keywords using a mix of facial recognition and jersey numbers.”

Ben Green, Team Photographer

How the Bills Stay Ahead with Content-Led Marketing

PhotoShelter, AI-powered solutions, and the Socialie content distribution platform have transformed how the Buffalo Bills capture and share their story. In a world driven by the speed of content, the Bills leverage these tools to stay ahead of the curve.

“If the players didn’t get that text from us right away with their photos, it could take one, sometimes two or three days to get them the photos. And we all know speed matters in this business right now, those seconds matter. We’re getting them the content before they even think to ask the question of where the content is, and they’re able to do what they need to do, stay focused on what they need to do, whether it’s on the field or off the field.”

Ben Green, Team Photographer

Go Behind the Scenes with Ben Green, Buffalo Bills Team Photographer

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