The way in which a sports team promotes themselves through social media not only allows to reach a greater audience but also offers as a platform by which they can actively push different types of content to specific groups of people.  Below we explore the various approaches that should be taken when using social media as a platform to speak to your fans.

“What we found is really quite striking. If you are a rights holder or team, we have been able to show that in most cases the exposure that’s being obtained on social is nearly equivalent and sometimes more than television,”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/22/sports-teams-are-getting-more-exposure-on-social-media-than-they-are-on-tv-expert.htmladmiration.

Tone of voice

In the same way that an electronics company will have many different types of customers to engage with, a sports team will have a multitude of different types of fans to communicate with and therefore the tone of voice that they use is really important.  You may have a team of different people publishing content and responding to people, therefore creating a style guide and a social media decision tree will ensure that the team are perceived in the right way with the social media posts.

Be Authentic

Remembering that sports fans are fiercely loyal and have large amounts of passion for their team is really important when thinking about the way in which you need to interact with them both in the types of content created, but also when responding to their comments or posts.  The team may be going through a rough set of results, but in the main, fans will still expect to hear a positive response from the club that reassures them that you care as much as they do.

Consistency

When you have a team of social media staff who are working on behalf of the team, having rules in place that mean the way in which you engage, promote and create will allow for a consistent approach to interactions with fans across social media.  Creating content in a structured approach allows for fans to become accustomed to the way in which content is released (eg. team news shared across mutliple social media platforms at 2pm on a Saturday)

Innovative approach

Utilising platforms such as PlayingSurface allows for teams to produce content for their fans that are innovative enough to stand out from other types of content that is published.  By capturing people’s imagination and generating content that appeals to a wider audience will help grow the community which in turn should lead to overall revenue increases in ticket sales as well as merchandise.

Engaging

Far too many brands have a publish only approach to social media and this prevents a dialogue from happening with their fans.  By having an approach of engaging with fans on a matchday or in the lead up to a match, the team are more likely to see increased engagement and loyalty from this group of people who many hold their team in such a raised sense of

Customer service tool

The types of questions that fans will ask will be wide and varied but by offering solutions to their questions, you may reduce pressure on other aspects of the club.  For example, your team may have a big match coming up and tickets are due to go on sale, so creating posts that not only build a sense of anticipation, but provide the fans with the information they need (eg price, time of release, number of tickets to be sold).

Listen to feedback

Ensuring that you listen to your fans and take note of what is being said is really important, as not only could it be useful for improving aspects of a club matchday experience, but also allows for fans to feel even more part of the club.  The ability to aggregate and analyse comments, posts and replies using 3rd party tools means that you can create a sentiment score that allows you to understand more about your fans as a club/team but from a data driven perspective.

Educate players and staff

The increased use of social media as a platform allows fans and players to become closer than ever before.  This creates both opportunities and challenges with the way in which these interactions happen with some examples that have led to players getting in situations that could have been prevented.  Similar to guidance for the actual branded social media accounts, it makes a lot of sense for players (especially younger ones) to be given guidance advice on the different ways in which they should use social media, including advice on promoting the brands that they work with, to ensure that they don’t fall foul of advertising guidelines.

The continued consumption of content online by fans and wider audiences means that providing access to players is an expectation of fans, who want real-time information in comparison with days when your sports results were published in your local pink sports newspaper on a Saturday evening

Summary/Conclusion

With the overall changing nature of social media and the advances in technologies we have seen over the last 10-15 years, the teams that adopt a truly integrated approach to their social media strategies will be the ones that really succeed online. 

The amount of data that can be collected and insight gained from the way in which people interact with their favourite teams and players makes social media a platform that should really be invested in not just from a monetary perspective, but also the amount of creativity and actual physical time because the rewards that you can get back are endless.