We’re now starting to see more and more teams getting involved with social media. This is great, but I think it’s time they start to look beyond only utilizing the major platforms (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook) and really start to embrace more emerging and niche platforms (Ustream, Tumblr, Flickr).
Every platform offers something different and therefore appeals to different types of people. Facebook and Twitter are (currently) more popular than others and should demand more time and resources, but surely the fans that use these emerging platforms deserve some love too? And surely there is value in these platforms for teams?
One team that has had great success through getting involved in a niche network is Manchester City FC with their use of Flickr. They are the first team I have seen using this platform, if you have seen any others please let me know. They use Flickr as a way to embrace their fans creative side allowing them to use photography and design to express their feelings about the club.
Flickr gives Manchester City fans the chance to see all the latest images from the clubs official stream as well as inviting them to share their own images and get involved in discussion. Some of the images that have been posted in the Flickr group have even been taken on board by the club and helped inspire new PR and retail campaigns.
Another team who have started to get involved with an emerging platform is the New York Knicks on Tumblr. Personally I’m a big fan of Tumblr and feel it has huge potential because it offers a great way to find and share information.
It allows users to easily post a range of content with just a few clicks – everything from photos and video, to links and even short voice recordings making it the perfect way to keep fans up-to-date. Currently the Knicks mainly use Tumblr as a way to share videos, short blogs and promotions. I’d like to see them mix up posts a bit more and maybe include a few behind the scenes images, quotes and audio clips from the coaches and players.
It may be a while before Tumblr becomes main stream, but once it does I’m sure it will be a powerful tool for both teams and brands.
Obviously the major platforms shouldn’t be overlooked. Every team that isn’t involved with them is missing out on a big opportunity because they offer great value for both the teams and fans.
However, I feel that niche and emerging platforms allow teams to build up closer relationships with fans and also open up many new engagement and participation opportunities. Teams can choose to share images on Flickr, post short blogs on Tumblr or run live chats or showing live training sessions on Ustream – there’s plenty of potential and opportunity out there.
What do you think? Is there value for fans and teams on niche and emerging platforms? Have you seen any examples of teams or athletes getting involved? What platforms do you feel offer potential?