New era, same spirit. The season starts here. Let’s do this. #mufc
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 10, 2013
On 10 July 2013, Manchester United football club joined Twitter with this tweet. Less than a month later and its Twitter profile is fast approaching 700,000 followers.
These are interesting times for Premiership football clubs. Social media is helping them to get closer to their fan base, a fan base that is both local and global. Arsenal football club have spoken in depth about how they communicate with fans in the light of this local/global challenge. So how are clubs using social media to engage with their fans? Here are five examples:
On Arsenal’s recent summer tour of Vietnam, a fan ran (and rode) alongside the team bus for a few miles whilst in Hanoi. You might ask why it took the team so long to get him on board but they did exactly that and signed his shirt, took some pictures of him with the team – and obviously made his day. Arsenal then produced this short film, which has had almost three million views.
It is a great little story created in the moment. Luckily someone on the bus had the foresight to film it.
Instagram provides clubs with an opportunity to share club life in pictures. It is proving popular. Manchester City, for example, has posted 445 pictures and is followed by more than 77,000 people. Some images are liked 10,000 times. Liverpool has more than 150,000 followers. As well as sharing pictures of the players, teams are using Instagram video to capture behind-the-scenes footage of their players. Take, for example, this clip of Sandro Raniere at a pre-season photo shoot at Tottenham.
From Twitter chats with players to pub quizzes, clubs are using Twitter to get conversation going between the club, players and fans. Take, for example, this Twitter chat with Rio Ferdinand #askrio or this Twitter pub quiz at Liverpool
#LFCpubquiz happening at 9.30pm BST tonight – signed shirt on offer.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 2, 2013
It’s something that the fans, judging by this tweet, really like.
— Haarithan (@AzzurriLFC) August 6, 2013
Manchester City has been testing out player diaries this summer, such as this one from YaYa Toure. Toure shares life on tour and talks about other players, his routine, and so on. The blog posts give glimpses of life at the club and as a professional player.
On 12 July Shahid Khan became the new owner of Fulham football club and the club posted this on Vine.
As with images, clubs are using Vine to give short snippet of news and life at the club.
Premiership teams are putting a lot of effort into using social media to open up how they work and to provide more insights into club life and what it is like to be a professional player. Many of the players are stars in their own right and already have a big social media presence so it makes sense for clubs to tap into fans’ desire to find out more about the players.
That said, it is surprising how slow on the uptake these clubs have been to use social media. If you are a fan and you use social media then the future looks bright – teams are embracing the technology and are keen to share club life.
Are you a social media professional that’s also a football/soccer fan? What do you make of your club’s efforts with social media? Let me know in the comments.