Er, so I’ll start a Facebook page then?
Finding the right tools and platform
The first step to getting involved in social media in sports is to figure out what exactly is the best network to use. It might be necessary to use a combination of networks, but if you are only going to focus on one, it’s crucial to use the one that fans use most.
Once the platform has been chosen, Sean says sports companies or events teams need to know how best to use it and understand what they want to get out of it.
“What’s the goal? Why exactly do you want your club to get involved in social media. Is it to build a fan base? Is it to grow membership numbers or is it to better promote sponsors?” he said.
“You have to get fans to like the FB page or follow the Twitter feed, get them to comment and then drive them back to your website,” he said. “Think of fans as long term customers. Essentially you are in a relationship with them – but you’re more of a friend than a sales representative. Key numbers are active fans, it’s important to be engaging them, not just collecting them”.
Get Creative and Encourage Fans to Share on Social Media
Case study: West Coast Eagles (AFL)
The SportsDP model instructs fans to like, share or tweet West Coast Eagles content. In return for liking content and sharing in the social media space fans collect points and are effectively ‘rated’ on how big a fan they are.
Not only does this type of approach allow fans to get involved in the club and stay up to date on news, it also fosters a real sense of community and loyalty amongst fans and sponsors.
“Just because a sports event or club has large numbers of followers doesn’t mean the sponsors will also become popular,” he said. “Of course there can be a flow on effect but you still have to give fans a reason to stay connected.”
“We worked with a property investing company who obtained an excellent flow on to their social media accounts from a sports event they were sponsoring,” he said. “Even though they aren’t in the business of sport they now provide tips to fans and followers – so when they do decide to look at investing fans will go to them first. Social media in sports is simply a touchpoint – an opportunity to reach fans on a whole new level,” he said. “Clubs have to think differently as they can connect with fans on a daily basis. Social media is a unique opportunity to engage with fans long term. It’s all about connecting and building relationships.”
He believes there are amazing opportunities for growth, and for sponsors, if clubs know how to develop and implement effective social media strategies.
Sean’s Top Tips for Developing an Effective Strategy for Social Media in Sports
- Determine what the goal is and why exactly you want to get involved in social media. Is it to build a fan base? Is it to grow membership numbers or is it to better promote sponsors?
- Identify the best platforms to support your campaign. Keep in mind that most people on Facebook just want to play. It’s important to understand that most people are not necessarily there to buy but they will be open to reading marketing messages.
- Engage, engage, engage. It’s important to keep social media and social networking ‘social’. It’s not just a broadcast platform. It’s crucial to have a balance with quality content and marketing messages.
#Youtube140 – Google+ Brand Pages In Sports
Also, make sure to check out Sean’s Youtube channel where he produces a series called #Youtube140. These are a series of videos where he discusses a topic in the world of sports and technology in 140 seconds while showing you live on his desktop. Here’s an example of one of the most recent episodes.
Do you know of any other new programs designed to engage the fan and incorporate social media in sports sponsorship? Feel free to comment below, Tweet or Facebook us if you have any other ideas!