3 good reasons why you need to be social media savvy…
No matter what the sport, today’s switched-on sports fans are really in touch through social media. Passionate about their sport or team, they tell the world about their passion through Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media networks that are out there.
For example the Wimbledon tournament, two weeks of upset and intrigue, use social media platforms to make sure that tennis fans don’t miss a second of the action. Informing, involving and driving a 24/7 conversation for tennis fans everywhere, it really hits the spot. But it isn’t just while the game is in play. Social media is a great way to set the scene and build anticipation. In the months leading up to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee provided a multi-lingual, multi-platform, social media strategy that enabled fans access to information about the games wherever they were on the planet.
Yes, social media in sport has come of age and any sports organisation that isn’t already on the curve needs to engage fans fast. If you do it well you will boost business. Happy, loyal, engaged fans buy tickets and merchandise and, maybe more importantly, spread their passion to the people around them, building and developing the fan base in the process. Incredibly over 90% of people still trust recommendations from friends and family over any other form of marketing. Passing the buzz through social media is vital for success.
Social media is helping teams and sports organisations build strong, lasting connections that weren’t possible even ten years ago. So, how is it done and what are the elements that make fans follow?
Here are just three elements to building a successful social media strategy.
Build and strengthen the brand…
A strong brand is all about loyalty. Social media helps build the brand by spreading the word and involving people. Many sports fans attend games, buy team kit, and some even paint their faces, showing their loyalty by physical actions. But up until now it’s been very hard for them to get involved and have a voice. Traditional media channels, such as television and radio are non-participative; the brand is pushed at fans rather than involving them. Social media turns this upside down by putting the fans in control of content and pulling them into the conversation. By asking fans to contribute: uploading photos and videos, sharing ideas, and commenting through your social media portals, you not only show them that you are interested in what they have to say, but you also make them feel that they are part of your team.
Deepen fan loyalty with the whole story …
There was a time you watched the match and went home, wondering what went on behind the scenes after the race had been run or the final goal scored. Social media has changed all that. By offering fans access to unique content of their heroes, you are deepening fan loyalty and making fans for life. Instagram photos, YouTube video clips, and other social media image sharing add depth and interest to your story. Training, travel, celebrations, even meal times, create a degree of fan involvement that would have been impossible before social media. It’s this involvement that keeps fans interested; bringing teams and players closer to the real world and making fans feel that they know their idols on a one-to-one basis.
Attracting the best…
People want to be part of a winning team. But how do they know you are winning if you don’t tell them how and why you are doing it? By offering unprecedented access and information through social media, people inevitably end up interacting, sharing ideas, and sometimes wanting to become part of your organisation. If you are involved with charities or local events, let people know and ask for their support. If you need to attract fresh talent to your organisation use social media, the recruitment tool of choice for most organisations these days, to do it.
By building brand belief through social media, involving your audience, and advertising your opportunities, you will build a stronger organisation, attract the best team, and increase fan loyalty. It’s about being honest and approachable and the organisations, leagues, sports teams, and athletes who do it well will increase their business success, ensuring a stronger future.
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