Sports fans and participants are some of the most prolific users of social media. Whether it’s to connect with teams, find out the latest results, or discover where to get active, social media is becoming the go to place for anyone interested in sport.
At SocialB we’ve had the privilege of working with a number of sports organisations on training and consultancy, but who’s using social media well and what lessons can we learn from them?
Concentrate on your content
In the ever-increasing flood of content filling our timelines, sports organisation need to create great content that grabs our attention. Even on Facebook and twitter great visual content is becoming crucial to stand out above average and poor posts.
We love the emphasis that the team at the The Open place on creating great content, focusing on attention-grabbing visuals for posts. There’s also a real mix of formats from images, videos and animated gifs being used.
During The Open itself, the team create 1000s of live posts, updating fans hole by hole and ball by ball on what’s happening.
The Open team also successfully engages with golf fans. In posts they ask for opinions and viewpoints and also engage a fan tradition – tweeting a photo of their Open tickets when they arrive in the post.
Connect and campaign
Social media is not only for sports fans. Organisations have embraced social channels in encouraging people to get active and play more sport.
The trick is to understand your audience, work out where they hang out on social media and engage with them. We’ve seen great results at grassroots level working with North Norfolk District Council by using this approach to target people and fill courses through Facebook.
At a national level Sport England has seen huge success through its “This Girl Can” campaign, which targets women to get more active and try out new activities. The campaign’s messages have been developed as a direct response to some of the insight into why women stop playing sport including what others will think and are prominent in the campaign’s content.
Although the campaign has featured on TV ads and billboards, I think the social elements, specifically Facebook and twitter, have been incredibly effective in building communities, within which participants can share their ambitions, thoughts and achievements and in so doing encourage other to get active. Followers are also encouraged to take part in sport specific twitter chats (#askTGC) where experts from each discipline can provide help and advise how to get started in that sport.
The amazing result of this This Girl Can to date has seen the number of women now playing sport once a week increase by almost 150,000.
Crowdsource and consult
Engagement with your audience on social media is crucial, but what about a step beyond where your fans and followers help you develop products and services?
With the sporting arena crowdsourcing offers a great opportunity but there are also risks. You wouldn’t want rival fans deciding your new kit design and colours through social media would you?
Crowdsourcing through social media hinges on about having the right crowd.
In 2014 Juventus did a great job in identifying the right crowd through the use of a Facebook app to crowdsource the design of placards that fans would hold up at their forthcoming home game against Inter. The designs submitted through the app were voted for by fans and the winning design would be used at the game.
Fans from all over the world submitted designs and 16-year old Steve Kem from Paris was voted the winner and his design was held aloft by fans at the game.
These three example of how to use social media well in sport focus on creating great content and understanding your audiences and engaging fully with them.
Have you discovered any sports organisations using social media well? We’d love to hear from you.