Managing the Social Media Voice of your Football Club

In order for a football club to establish a direct and engaging relationship with its fan base it must develop a strong and consistent voice across its various digital and social media channels.

Having an original and genuine voice can prove to be a challenge as it is not always easy to speak to fans in a conversational tone.  If managed correctly, however, it can uplift the presence of a mediocre club to become an industry leader.

Some important guidelines to remember when establishing your club’s social media voice include:

A.      Determining your football club’s own brand identity

This will be based on the organization´s culture, values, and overall brand experience it would like to promote.

For example, more traditional clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United or Real Madrid will tend to communicate throughout their social media platforms in a more formal manner as they consistently strive to transmit the image of class, excellence and tradition.

On the other hand, less classic and long established clubs such as most Major League Soccer’s franchises will favour a more personable communication approach in an effort to consistently generate buzz and engagement in less mature football markets.

 

B.      Knowing your football club’s audience

Knowing the desired demographic that your brand wants to reach will help your club understand its target audience and the relevant social media channels to use to reach out to followers and potential consumers.

Although it is important to remain consistent throughout your social and digital media presence, it is also imperative to adapt your approach to the relevant audience you are targeting through each platform.

For example, the style of writing in a football club’s official website should be different than the voice and tone used across other social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.  Each platform has a different set of followers and must be targeted accordingly.

 

C.      Engaging and interacting with your community 

Whether the objective is to inform, sell, or provide customer support, it is essential to know how to communicate your football club’s objectives with personality and sincerity.

Listening to the needs, thoughts, opinions and insights of your audience will help your brand achieve the corporate objectives and remain authentic via social and digital media platforms.

Because of their massive size and social relevance most top-flight clubs will tend not to answer directly to followers on social media mainly due to a question of volume and risk management.

Nevertheless, when communicating with your online community of fans and supporters worldwide it is essential to remember that in order to generate true engagement social media platforms should be used like a telephone and not like a megaphone.

photo-6The Sports Business Institute Barcelona offers a two-month program entitled ¨Football Communication & Social Media Online Program¨ that provides practical training to those wanting to start or advance their career in the areas of communication, PR, sports journalism, online branding and social media management for the football industry. 

For more information visit: http://bit.ly/111jVD9

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Using online video to create itinerary for sports sponsors and partnerships

In the world of sports, when it comes to sponsors and partnerships almost everything is up for grabs. Sports clubs and organisations need to continue to drive revenue forwards to compete for the best players, the best backroom staff, the best facilities and investment in grass roots etc. Many clubs are now striving to find more itinerary to offer to their ever growing list of sponsors/partners to keep the flow of money coming in. Online video not only offers the potential to help create this itinerary but it also offers much greater engagement potential over other forms of communication.

Take football for example. We are all now able to watch most of the games live on TV or at the pub, we can catch up with the highlights on MOTD, Sky, ESPN, clubsites, apps, the list goes on. What the fans crave is access, to get behind the scenes at the training ground, in the tunnel or at the academy. They want to experience the banter of the players, the camaraderie of the backroom staff and a glimpse of the manager’s masterplan. This content is what the fans want to see and they want it with a unique insight and flavour that only the clubs can provide. This unique content combined with the engaging medium of video generates a hugely engaged and loyal audience.

None of this is new you will be thinking. Correct, but it’s how you do it that will be the key to its success as an asset to the football club. With all brands it’s all about identity, reinforcing that identity, purveying quality, establishing a connection and being remembered. Companies spend millions on brand identity and they are keen to get that brand out there but the environment has to be right.

Big brands are now savvy to the power of the web. In 2011,  spend on internet advertising in the UK was greater than TV and press. However, peoples viewing habits continually change, we get used to flashy banners, teasing skyscrapers and we zone out of Facebook ads. Big brands are looking for a vehicle to engage with an audience. Exclusive online content is the answer.

The key to maximising the effectiveness of this product is a clear and simple strategy with 4 core parts, content and technology, usability and marketing.

  • Your content must be well thought out, regular and of a high quality to support the brand (HD where possible), it must be continuously reviewed to see what works and what can be adjusted.
  • The technology must work with you and not against you, integrating video platforms with existing content management systems are the key here. A well thought out media workflow will save you hours, allow you to get content out more quickly and reduce headaches in the future.
  • Usability often gets overlooked, the viewer’s experience must be simple yet effective, they will want it to work on their laptop, iPhone, Android device and over 3g, Wi-Fi etc. Brands will expect this as a given.
  • Marketing of the product will be something you can work into your company’s existing strategy, however, for big events and key content a more targeted collection of journalists and bloggers is a better focus of your efforts.  As well as traditional marketing you can also allow your audience to push the content out for you as well, utilising social media elements within the video technology allows the fans to share that video or moment in time but keeps them in your branded environment.

With a successful online video product you can increase your portfolio of partnerships itinerary that little bit further and engage with an audience in a unique way that only video and the insight of the club can provide.

Written by: Matthew Quinn, Digital Solutions Director, StreamUK.

StreamUK is a market leading online video and streaming services provider. Currently shortlisted for 3 2012 Football Business Awards, the company’s work with Liverpool FC has been well documented, as this year LFC claimed its StreamUK’s revamped LFC.tv, is now the most successful online video subscription service of any football club in the world.