Football clubs get their social media tactics spot on
Twitter is a social media platform where people don’t take themselves too seriously, and they expect brands to follow suit. They expect them to be reactive, a little bit cheeky but above all funny. Even those who try to maintain a modicum of seriousness – think politicians – are occasionally inclined to escape their self-imposed shackles and be a bit mischievous.
So, who is ‘winning’ at Twitter then? Maybe a supermarket? Or a clothing brand? Perhaps a fast food chain? No, it’s actually football teams who are storming into a half time lead with their social media tactics. Dedicated club profiles are nothing new, but there has been a shift in approach from the people entrusted to sit behind the keyboard.
Whether you’re a fan of 22 people kicking a ball of air around for 90 minutes or not, their efforts deserve some attention and brands could learn a lot from their new lease of life.
Speaking to multiple audiences
There’s an admirable dedication from these accounts to converse with as people as possible in their native language. Take Serie A side AS Roma – they have over 25 different profiles, with every language from English to Swahili catered for. While these accounts may only accumulate a modest following, this multi-language consideration is an effective tool to recruit new, global fans.
Clubs are also starting to acknowledge the women’s game – a smart (and long overdue) move, especially in light of the World Cup success over the summer. The profiles aren’t there just for show either; match updates are reported on with the same enthusiasm as the men’s game and the same crafted, sharp wit is present too.
Crossing the white line
Online commentary isn’t just confined to the pitch. As Roma used the summer transfer window and recruitment of new playing staff to be a force for good. They partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States and Telefono Azzurro in Italy, using their social media channels to raise awareness about missing children. For every transfer announcement made they would post a photo of a missing child. The result? Well, it’s not quite full time on this campaign yet but their efforts have led to four missing children being found and reunited with their families.
Mixing it up
Twitter has a 280 character limit, so you might think content from a football club would be limited. But when clubs are tweeting about matchday line-ups or score updates, they do it in a way that’s innovative and engaging. Bristol City really led the way last season when every member of their first team squad created a personalised GIF. So, rather than just tweeting who scored, followers were greeted by a comical GIF of the goalscorer. It’s a detail so small that clubs would be forgiven for overlooking it, but it does elevate what would otherwise be a relatively dull update.
Expressing yourself off the pitch might result in a dressing down
There’s always one person who takes things too far and spoils the fun for everyone else, as the Watford FC admin found out earlier this year. It all began with Gary Lineker expressing utter bemusement at Watford’s decision to sack Marco Silva and replace him with Javi Gracia, after a run of below par results. Watford quote tweeted his response to the sacking with ‘this aged well…’, which Lineker thought was distasteful considering a man had lost his job. However, Watford’s blushes were spared with an injury time tweet from chief executive Scott Duxbury: ‘I might be going through more Social Media Managers than Head Coaches soon’. Nice save!