Birmingham City show how to incorporate fans into Social Media

This week Birmingham City announced the launch of new match day facilities at St Andrew’s stadium, with one area in particular attracting lots of interest on Social Media. The Blues announced that they are intending to open a new fanzone complete with bar in partnership with Fosters. To help promote the launch of the ‘Bar 8’ fanzone, Birmingham City has spent the past week searching for “Social Media Socialites” to help cover the opening day of the bar and tweet, facebook, instagram and vine the facilities.

Using the hashtag #bar8iscoming, the team at Birmingham City have been recruiting Social Media savvy fans to help cover the launch of the new fanzone by reviewing the new facilities over Social Media.

Head of Media & Comms at Birmingham City, Andy Walker, told Digital-Football.com exclusively,

“The idea behind the concept is to allow a selection of fans privileged access to an event at the club and encourage them to share their live thoughts via social media with the ultimate aim being that this conversation reaches a far wider and more influential audience. We’ll flag up the Twitter handles of those chosen accounts via the club’s official feed beforehand to encourage fans to join their debate thus further adding to that ‘VIP experience’.

Fans sharing thoughts with fellow fans has the potential to be far more influential than the standard club message. In simple terms, we want supporters to replicate the sort of conversation they’d have over a pint in the pub via social media.”

Birmingham City expect this to be the first of many other events where they are actively looking to incorporate their fans into the clubs comms strategy. Andy Walker added,

“As a football club, we’re always looking to trigger healthy social media conversation amongst our supporter base but we accept that this doesn’t always come off the back of our official platforms.

The ‘Social Media Socialites’ concept is one that is being introduced ahead of this week’s opening of the new Bar 8 Foster’s Fanzone here at St. Andrew’s and is an idea that we’ll be looking to use on other occasions across the course of the season.”

This is a fantastic tactic used by the Championship team and undoubtedly one that many other clubs will try to replicate in the coming months.

The simplicity and cost effectiveness of the fan outreach strategy not only means it’s a feasible strategy for football clubs to undertake, but also it shows that clubs are willing to be more transparent and open with their fan base. Birmingham City clearly understand that the messages of their fans are always going to be more credible and engaging than that of the club – so by openly leveraging their fans, they expect to amplify their marketing strategy as well as form some strong bonds with influential fans on Social Media.

Birmingham City are well known already for Social Media innovation having revealed how they use Social Media to educate players in mock press conferences and as the first adopter of Football Social Media monitoring platform Social Pundit in the UK.

Sean Walsh

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

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