Digital-Football.com this week has the chance to interview Olympiacos FC’s Digital Media Director Veroushka Georganti, who has kindly and openly replied to our questions concerning the Greek Champion’s social media strategy and plans for online presence.
“Our Digital Media strategy in Olympiacos started over two years ago, with the launch of our new re-designed website and the Olympiacos WebTV and WebRadio services which were an immediate success with our fans“, stated Ms Georganti. The club’s effort on having a strong online presence is complemented with the official website nowadays being available into eight languages and the set-up of its official social media profiles.
“Olympiacos has the strongest fan base in Greece, but many of our fans live abroad, so we felt the need to reach them directly, particularly the second-generation Olympiacos fans – the families of Greek immigrants – who follow and feel the club despite of their physical distance to Greece. Additionally, Olympiacos has developed relationships and signed football professionals from abroad, namely Spain and Portugal, which are markets that are a priority to the clubs international digital media strategy
In a country where the penetration rate of broadband Internet is still below the European average, Olympiacos started their official page on Facebook almost 18 months ago and had to face some initial problems, as there were already several unofficial pages of the club with several thousand fans. “We made a strong investment on educating the public about the club’s official channels. We opted for not denouncing any fan pages, rather than to promote our own, which has been a long and hard process”. Currently with over 120,000 fans on Facebook, Olympiacos FC’s page is steadily growing as fans learn which are the official channels and which are not. At the same time, Olympiacos has 13K followers on Twitter, a social media platform still growing in terms of popularity and number of users in Greece.
Ms Georganti says “Curiously, and in spite of our continuous efforts which are translated in a generally steady growth, the factor that best influences the number of fans and engagement to our page is the actual performance of our football team! After a European match win or a victory against our main rivals, the number of fans gives an instant leap”.
In terms of engaging content,“Polls and questions about our fans’ opinion are the most successful. In Greece, everyone has a strong opinion about the club’s even smallest details. And the social networks have been greatly used by us to listen to our fans, understand what the public demands and meet their needs“
However, the club’s main online success so far has been the Olympiacos WebTV. “The club has made an effort to produce content that interests the fans and that wasn’t available just a few years ago, for example locker room interviews, backstage footage and live team presentations. We want to involve the fans and engage them with the club’s brand and this is better achieved through the power of video footage. At times, we have over 30,000 simultaneous live video streams!”
When it comes to Olympiacos’ athletes presence on social networks, the club encourages and gives guidance to all players who are keen on investing on their online presence. “Some players are reluctant, they don’t want to get over-exposed and are suspicious of the so many unofficial pages on their behalf, but things are changing. We have been working hard on helping and educating our players on how to behave on social networks and we have been getting some response, particularly amongst foreign players who are generally more open and familiar to this kind of digital activity”.
More recently, Olympiacos joined Instagram, which was “an immediate success as the platform allows great interactivity with the fans without the language barrier” and pioneered as the first football club in the world to be officially admitted on Kyck.com, a new fast-growing social platform exclusively dedicated to football.
Ms Georganti finished transmitting to Digital-Football.com readers in first-hand the near future plans for the online presence of the club: “We are currently promoting our first digital game “Olympiacos Free Kicks” which is available for download on mobiles and tablets, and our next step will be to launch our official channel on YouTube. We have an ambitious international strategy and are looking forward to leverage the popularity of this video platform to reach even more fans around the world. However, some more surprises will surely come in the immediate future”.
Digital-Football.com would like to thank Veroushka Georganti for her availability and openness to answer our questions. In a country where broadband Internet access and social media are still growing, Olympiacos has showed to be a pioneer and ambitious club on and off the field. We are looking forward to follow up this interview in a few months and take notice of the clubs’ achievements in what comes to social media and online presence.
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