In a rather novel move this morning, Tony Fernandes – the QPR owner and Chairman – used Twitter to ask for ideas about the types of players Queens Park Rangers fans wanted to see in the future. Fernandes has been a huge advocate for Social Media in the last few months he has been in charge at the Premiership side, having seen the fruits of success in previous businesses Air Asia and the Lotus F1 team. Fernandes was quick to mention that QPR manager, Neil Warnock, called the shots in terms of transfers – but he was interested to hear about the fans hopes/expectations.
Since day 1 of taking over the club Fernandes has been instrumental in getting the football club into the Social Media sphere. Refreshingly, Fernandes has listened and talked to the fans, and clearly recognises that Sports Social Media should revolve around the fanbase, and not just the clubs own brand.
Since the start of the season, Digital-Football research shows that QPR has seen a 39% growth in it’s Twitter following, as well as a staggering 49% increase in the number of Facebook fans – the highest growth for any EPL Facebook page.
It is truly great to see such a busy and influential owner take time and effort (as well as investment) to properly engage with the fans and look for longer term solutions for Social Media, rather than just spamming followers with merchandise/RSS feeds – as many continue to do so. By asking his fans about transfer expectations over Twitter, Fernandes can firstly ensure that he isn’t seen as being supportive to his manager regarding transfer budgets, and secondly, he can get his own idea about the fans expectations. Thirdly, and most importantly, it shows that he cares about his fans – one of the biggest gaps in football at the minute is the lack of affinity between the stereotypical ‘penny pinching boardroom’ and the passionate ‘spend spend spend’ fanbase.
The strategy is very similar of Tony Evans and his Twitter vote for transfer targets for Stockport Countyin August.