Sports teams need to become entertainment brands on Social Media

One of the key lessons that many football clubs (and other sporting clubs) has taken this year is that their Social Media must be a form of entertainment, not just a corporate marketing brand. Social Media in the last 3 years has changed from becoming a networking tool where the purpose was to keep up to date with friends and family, share images and organise events. Instead, it has rapidly become a primary form of entertainment – with Twitter and YouTube in particular becoming a platform where we go to watch and read humorous stories, find out more about our idols and go in the search of a valuable experience.

For football clubs, they need to shake off the dust and let go of their traditional marketing plans – sales promotions, “On this day” historical updates and nonsensical marketing videos. Instead, clubs should be monitoring and listening to their fans – old and new.

Last year, nearly 1 million people came to the UK to watch football, contributing a colossal £706 million to the tourism industry. This is a massive stat and clubs should focus on how they can turn football stadiums into tourism landmarks and amphitheaters for entertainment.

With this in mind, Football Social Media activity needs to become more about how to entertain fans rather just inform or marketing. Social Media needs to create excitement pre-match, drive ticket sales and tap into the passion of the fans.

How do you entertain your fans?

Clubs need to think about what fans want – this means behind the scenes footage, insights that have previously been concealed around diet, using data to entertain e.g. datatainment, training, even what actually happens on transfer deadline day.

Prior to matches, clubs need to show the most exciting encounters with the opposition – they need to show that this isn’t just another league game but it’s a grudge match for last seasons thrashing, the return of a previous player now playing for the opposition or a chance to take on the toughest team in the league. Clubs need to use YouTube to show snippets of highlights from past games, use data to predict scores or talk about key players and unite the fans behind emotive team support hashtags on Twitter.

Football is a very tribal sport – where traditions, pride and loyalty feature as a huge ingredient of what makes a fan a “true fan”. Clubs need to play upon this and create a siege mentality in the club using Social Media, they need to hype up games and players but at the same time ensure it doesn’t go so over the top that it comes across as cheesy. Anyone who watches football on TV will know that the 30 second trailer ahead of a game on Sky Sports can really get the blood going, this is the type of content and effect that clubs should be looking to replicate.

Sean Walsh

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

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