5 WAYS FOOTBALL CLUBS EXPLOIT SOCIAL MEDIA
Times have changed, with the introduction of social media, marketing has evolved, and social media has become a very important tool for companies trying to push their brand further. Social media allows these brands to connect directly with their target audience. This of course, stretches to football and other kinds of professional sport. Social media campaigns for football are now being used more than ever.
However, not every campaign will bring guaranteed success- it will bring both positive and negative feedback from the social public. It is very common for the smaller clubs/organizations find it easier to connect to their fans as they have a smaller fan base. On the other hand, the larger clubs, who possess an audience that goes overseas, can find it difficult to run successful campaigns. In this post I will be reviewing 5 different football clubs and how they go about running their campaigns via social media.
West Ham United
During March of 2013, West ham united organized a social media match in tandem with the premier league fixture against Hull City FC.
Leo Tyrie, (West Ham’s Media officer) went into more depth regarding the clubs reason for the idea.
“As a club, West Ham United are always looking for new and exciting ways to engage with our fan base and the idea of theming a match around our social media output made perfect sense for us.” Said Leo
He then went on explaining that the club’s number of followers has climbed at an impressive rate via Facebook and Twitter. He also touched on the fact that the club are developing their social side through Google+, Instagram and YouTube.
“We want our supporters to feel as involved in the match day experience as possible and we’re looking forward to showcasing their – and our – content around the match against Hull.”
The social marketing team at West Ham United have many ways of reaching out to their fans, one which has brought much success to their campaigns is #HammerShirts.
The club requests tweets from their followers to support the club. The top 20 comments are then printed on t-shirts that are used in the team’s pre match warm-up. But they don’t stop there, those shirts are then signed by the players and are then sent to the fan who tweeted the message.
Another initiative West Ham use to bring attention to their campaign is named ‘Pheonix from the flames’. Supporters are asked to send in videos of them or others, recreating a famous moment in the clubs previous season via social media. The winning videos get shown on YouTube and the big screens around Upton Park (the stadium) before kick-off.
The third and final way West Ham utilize their social media platforms is what they like to call #GloveAway, The clubs number 1 goalkeeper Adrian made the announcement at 12 noon on a match day that he had left one of his goalkeeping gloves in an East London location. The supporter who finds he glove will then be given two free tickets to the game and the opportunity to meet Adrian himself.
During the 2012/13 season, Aston Villa celebrated a massive milestone by achieving 1 Million likes on Facebook and celebrated this by launching the “1 in a million competition”. It took Villa 3 years to reach their goal of a million likes, with a large portion of the followers coming from outside of the country.
Over 6000 fans entered, with the winner escorted from their home by the Aston Villa legend Ian Taylor all the way to Villa Park, (The clubs stadium) for the premier league fixture against Liverpool. The winner of the competition Markus Pölkkö from Sweden also received VIP treatment and was given £200 worth of spending money to spend in the city centre.
As if that wasn’t enough, the ten runners up were given the clubs latest away kit.
Juventus, the Italian giants managed to demolish Parma by a smashing 7 goals in a league fixture during the 2013/14 season, which included a sensational individual effort by the clubs former striker Carlos Tevez. The club decided to utilise this moment on social media by asking their twitter followers to create memes (A short video or an image which is spread across social media). The hashtag read #ThingsTevezCouldDribble.
The hashtag was used over 5,000 times by fans and followers- this is a very successful way that the club can broaden its audience in a short amount of time.
One of the memes which managed to get a lot of attention was inspired by Chrisopher Nolan’s film ‘Interstellar’ and suggested that Carlos could dribble on water.
The club also decided to post a video showing Tevez’ reaction to the memes that were created about him. This is also a very effective way of building a fan base as the fans felt connected to their idol.
FC Bayern Munich
Now, not all social media campaigns go to plan, a great example of this is the attempt to bring the followers together with the club in 2012. Bayern Munich’s PR team decided to announce that there would be a signing of a big-name striker, the striker would then be revealed on the clubs Facebook page at a particular time during that day.
This of course, brought a lot of attention to the club, detonating conversations all over social media regarding the clubs latest anonymous signing. The followers were instructed to visit the Facebook page at a specific time to take an invitation to watch a live video feed of the new players unveiling.
But an hour after the time specified by the club, there was a video posted of the General Manger, Christian Nerlinger, showing the new player with the number 8 jersey. However the players face, much too all the supporters surprise, was the followers own profile with their name on the shirt.
Christian, the general manager decided to explain the decision by saying it was just a marketing strategy to bring the club closer to the supporters.
But a vast number of supporters were pretty angry with the move and many even pushed for certain members of management to be sacked.
In 2014 the club decided to launch a new social media campaign which took a turn for the worst and backfired horribly.
As if the 2013/14 season didn’t already hurt the supporters enough with the way David Moyes had hurt the legacy left by the previous united manager Sir Alex Ferguson. United suffered their worst Premier League season- finishing in 7th position and failing to qualify for Europe.
As a result of this, the club decided to launch a campaign labelled #AskCarrick but little did the marketing team know that this method would backfire, many supporters took to social media to share their disgust on the teams recent performances, and they decided to use #AskCarrick to do so.
The fans used this as an opportunity to question some of the players ranging from Tom Cleverly (a former united midfielder) to Ashley Young. This remains one of the best examples of a social media campaign backfiring.