For sports teams in the modern day, the digital landscape can be a vast one. Fans and those seeking the latest news on their favourite sport or football club don’t get their information from a single place anymore – from Facebook and Twitter to news sites such as The Guardian and The Telegraph, the options are overwhelming. Now with Google publishing sports fixtures and results independently, that simple search bar is creating a situation where the opportunity for clubs to generate web traffic is more difficult than ever. How do you stand out?
Third-party platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube are all fantastic places to reach out to fans and spread your club message where you know your fans are going to be listening. But you don’t have true control of Facebook or Twitter channels – the only place you have that is your own site. So, what can you do to make sure people go past the initial Google search and come to your page?
Fans are Everything
Your fanbase is a vital resource that requires constant maintenance to ensure that they keep coming back. Google’s new fixture features tend to appeal only to the fans searching casually– the ones who want the numbers, and that’s all. The fans who click through to your site? They’re the ‘superfans’. Superfans want more than just the fixtures and results; if you offer more, they will take it and feel loved for it. Treat your most loyal fanbase the best you can, and they will stick around, feel rewarded, and pay you back in full in the form of sustained loyalty, which is gold for any site. Use your site to offer the ‘full experience’ that fans won’t be able to get anywhere else. Use Facebook and Twitter as portals to bring readers to your main platform – the club domain.
‘Influencer’ is the buzz-word of the moment. They’re cultural and social media kings and queens who garner millions of views and hits across their platforms as well as boasting incredibly loyal fanbases. Fitness sector’s Joe Wicks, with his incredibly popular ‘Lean in 15’ series, got his start on social media as ‘The Body Coach’. Marques Brownlee started reviewing tech at 16, and his channel now sees an average view count of 15-20 million a month. Lia Wolf and Sonja Reid are changing the typical ‘gamer’ stereotype for the better. These sector leaders partner with global brands and companies who desperately want to leverage these influencer’s popularity.
Clubs have these influencers too and are in the perfect place to utilise them. This isn’t just first team players – coaches and management want to be heard by fans just as much. You could even make good use of those ‘superfans’ – the hugely popular ‘Sidemen’ Youtube group are themselves avid football fans whose content primarily focusses on FIFA and football.
Right now, the sports industry is kicking the tyres of esports, seeing that as a way to invest and increase their visibility for new possible fanbases. But maybe the real solution to digital success is closer to home; maximising your platform’s pulling power is the easiest way to sustain web traffic.
Words: Lyndsey Irwin, Commercial Director at Sotic