5 Obstacles Football Clubs face undertaking Social Media

For a long time we’ve been covering all the lovely innovative and creative Social Media tactics football clubs could possibly do, but never has anyone really taken a look at perhaps why many clubs aren’t or can’t implement every idea out there.

It’s incredibly easy for us and other blogs to make suggestions, demand more from clubs and try demonstrate how other sports and clubs are using clever tactics to nurture engagement. However, sometimes there can be a number of factors stopping these concepts ever coming to fruition. With this in mind, here’s a look at some of the most common elements slowing down the adoption of some really awesome Football Social Media:

images (4)1. Social Media Scepticism

Arguably Football Social Media has suffered in the past 3 years from the problem of scepticism. The industry itself has massively changed and where traditional offline marketing has been an effective strategy (And still is), digital has taken more and more prominence. The closed off nature of some of the footballing industry has perhaps led to a reluctance to let go of some dated habits and created a natural scepticism to anything new or different. This hasn’t been a problem to just the football industry but all industries looking to figure out Social Media.

images (1)2. Coaching staff buy-in

Whilst the media or marketing department might absolutely love the idea of YouTube videos from the training ground and behind-the-scenes footage, this is incredibly intrusive to a veteran coach who cares only about protecting players, tactics and techniques from the outside world.

It’s fair to say meeting marketing KPI’s isn’t on many coaches or managers priority list, so we wouldn’t be surprised if many ideas such as the above were rejected from the team management themselves.

1A-150x1503. Resource and Time

There seems to be a misconception that because footballers are transferred for millions that this kind of financial policy translates throughout the club – far from it. Most clubs tend to be very well run with strict financial spending for things like marketing, data capture and fan engagement. Whilst much of the top teams in the Premiership have 3 or 4 Social Media stakeholders to help out (or an external agency), nearly everyone else has perhaps 1 or 2 individuals tasked with “looking after the Twitter account” and all the pains that can go with it. Clubs simply sometimes don’t have the man power.

Australian Twitter Craze Gains Momentum4. Licencing Restrictions

Sponsors and partnerships dominate the football industry, they provide clubs with so much money that it isn’t a surprise that in exchange for this clubs often abide by very strict licencing and brand restrictions.

Football clubs were long forbidden from even having a YouTube channel after the Premier League had a slight dispute with Google, and with TV broadcasters wanting exclusive rights on match footage is it a surprise that it can be difficult to get things like match highlights, goals or full games free of charge on YouTube?

images (3)5. Knowledge Gap

Through no fault of the staff in the football industry, they’ve had Social Media thrust upon them by the fans in a relatively short period of time. For many of the most experienced football industry bods, Social Media can be something of a black hole that doesn’t necessarily make it clear where the return on investment is in hard cold cash (which, in the football industry is all that matters on many occasions). Sometimes clubs simply don’t have the internal skills or knowledge what to do. Undoubtedly in the past 18 months clubs have massively improved and have either outsourced the work or looked to bring the talent and ability into their organisations.

So there you have it – these are our top 5 reasons clubs might be struggling to get all those creative ideas delivered to their fans. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and realise that there’s a lot of pieces moving on the board and lots of other elements to consider before we lambast a club for not trying.

Any suggestions? Leave a comment below and I’ll continue to update the article.

Sean Walsh

Founder of Digital-Football.com and leading Football Social Media expert.

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5 Responses

  1. Chris Samson says:

    I run the Facebook account for my local amateur team and I’ve found, on occasion, that while some managers or coaches may not like the intrusiveness, some players can be the same! It’s taking me a fair few weeks to chase our new players simply to get a photo of them holding our kit for a picture on our page.

    • Sean Walsh says:

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for the comment. Tis an interesting problem – not everyone wants their work life document and made public, so why wouldn’t footballers be the same. Takes a certain level of trust I think for somebody in the Social Media team to be accepted into the backroom staff.

      Sean

      • Tom Flumé says:

        Hi Chris,

        When players are sigend/recruited it should be clear that this is a “requirement” from the club’s side. The player is expected to line up on such details. That’s what I think!

        // Tom

  2. Jay B says:

    Sean, do you know much about these ‘one or two’ individuals that look after large sporting organisations’ twitter accounts? eg. how much they might be paid, how they operate?

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