Social media is a valuable tool for marketing in the present digital age. We have various brands across the world taking to social media to connect with their audience. Today, in the world of professional sport the intensity of social media campaigns are higher than ever before
Not all campaigns guarantee a positive feedback. At times smaller clubs with a smaller fan base find easier to connect with fans whereas large clubs with a larger, worldwide audience find it hard to run a good campaign. Lets take a look at 5 football clubs, their social media campaigns and how it was received.
WEST HAM UNITED
On March 26, 2014, West Ham organised what is called a Social Media Match in tandem with the league game against Hull City FC.
West Ham’s Media Officer (Digital), Leo Tyrie, explained the thinking behind the idea:
“As a club, West Ham United are always looking for new and exciting ways to engage with our fan base and the idea of theming a match around our social media output made perfect sense for us. Our numbers across Twitter and Facebook have steadily climbed over the past couple of years, while we have recently developed our output further across Instagram, Google+ and YouTube. We want our supporters to feel as involved in the matchday experience as possible and we’re looking forward to showcasing their – and our – content around the match against Hull.”
Some of the most eye-catching initiatives made by them are as follows:
- #HammerShirts: The club asked fans to Tweet them with messages of support for the team. The 20 best messages were printed on T-shirts and worn by the players during their pre-match warm-up. The players signed their own T-shirts, which were sent to the fan who Tweeted their message. Those messages also appeared in the Official Programme on Matchday.
- Phoenix from the Flames: Fans were also asked to submit videos of them recreating their favourite West Ham United moments from the 2013/14 season. The winning entries were broadcast on the big screens before kick-off and on the club’s official YouTube channel.
- #Gloveaway: Goalkeeper Adrian left one of his gloves at a mystery east London location, which he announced at 12:00 noon on Matchday on his Twitter page @AdriSanMiguel. The fan who found Adrian’s glove was given two tickets to the game and got an opportunity to meet Adrian.
ASTON VILLA FC
The season before that, Aston Villa celebrated getting a million likes on their Facebook page by launching the One in a Million competition. It took almost three years for Aston Villa’s Facebook page to reach that milestone, with a majority of followers obviously from outside of the United Kingdom, and the club decided to celebrate that with the fans all over the world.
As many as 6,500 fans entered the competition, which would see the winner being escorted from their home by Villa legend Ian Taylor to Villa Park for the Premier League clash against Liverpool FC. Sweden’s Markus Pölkkö was the winner of the competition, meaning that he also enjoyed VIP treatment and stayed in the City Centre with 200 Pounds’ worth of spending money.
Ten runners up were also given the club’s 2012/13 away jerseys.
After Juventus demolished Parma by seven goals in a league game in November 2014, which included a beautiful solo goal by Carlos Tevez, their media team decided to ask their fans to use their creativity and come up with memes, using the hashtag #ThingsTevezCouldDribble on their Twitter page.
#ThingsTevezCouldDribble was used 5,000 times by fans, showing how a club could use social media to good effect, and following are some of the entries.
One of the fan memes was inspired by Christopher Nolan’s movie interstellar with fans suggesting that Tevez could dribble even on water. Even Bleacher Report used the hashtag and joined in the fun. They tweeted an image from Simpsons with Tevez dribbling through a mob of people. Juventus also posted this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXKUF73AWpo), where Tevez is seen checking out some of t he memes created by fans.
FC BAYERN MUNICH
Not all attempts made by football clubs to use social media pan out as they would have imagined. A brilliant example of this is Bayern Munich’s not-so-successful PR stunt in 2012. What happened here is that the Bundesliga champions announced on their website that they had signed a big-name striker and that the player would be unveiled on their Facebook page at a particular time that day.
Fans all over the world started discussing the imminent signing and when they went on to the club’s Facebook page at the scheduled time, were asked like the page and accept an application invitation in order to watch a live video feed of the player’s presentation.
However, an hour after the specified time, a video showing General Manager Christian Nerlinger presenting a new player with a no, 8 shirt. The player’s face, as fans realised, was their own Facebook profile with their names.
The GM also explained their decision, saying it was just a way to bring the two parties closer. However, fans were left furious and some even called for the sacking of certain members of the management.
MANCHESTER UNITED FC
A twitter campaign by Manchester United’s social media team during February 2014 went horribly bad and backfired.
During the tormenting 2013-14 season under David Moyes, Manchester united suffered their worst slump in the premiere era. Finishing the season in the 7th position with 7 home defeats was a sign of worry for all fans.
This was evident when the club ran a twitter campaign called #AskCarrick where the fans on twitter will be able to ask Michael Carrick any question and then he would respond. The campaign backfired horribly as the fans took to twitter to express their dissent over the recent performances of the team.
Fans questioned Carrick, performances of players such as Ashley Young, and the singled out Tom Cleverly and questioned his credibility to play for Manchester United. The campaign remains one of the best examples of a social media campaign backfiring.