HOW THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA HELPED SOCCER TEAMS TO INCREASE LOYAL FANS AROUND THE WORLD
What is Social Media? Social Media is defined as any interaction between human beings that occur through any channel available. However nowadays when someone talks about social media they refer to the interaction between person through all available channels in the web and mobile service. There are different types of social media, and they are qualified depending on the way the information is posted and how the interaction occurs. In the article “Business Horizon” the authors Kaplan and Haenlein classified social media in six different categories, which are:
1. Blogs and Micro-blogs (TWITTER)
2. Social Network Services (FACEBOOK)
3. Content Communities (YOUTUBE)
4. Collaborative Projects (WIKIPEDIA)
5. Virtual Game Worlds (QUIZ UP)
6. Virtual Social Worlds To grasp an idea of how social media has become so important over the last years, we only need to take a look at the figures post by the Huffington Post in their edition of November of 2013 where they stated that 93% of marketer use social media for business and that Social Media is ranked as the #1 activity on the web.
Social Media and Soccer Soccer teams start using social media with the objective of expanding their fan base to other countries and even other continents. The idea behind this is to make their brand more global and enter in emerging markets that will allow them to increase their cash flow, which they can used to sign better players or improve the facilities of the club. After investigating, in several sites, most experts in social media state that 2012 is the year when soccer teams start their interaction with their fans trough social media. And since they started, the number of people that follow a soccer team through any channel has increase exponentially over the years. Just to give an idea on how social media has become so important in the soccer world, you just need to know that in the beginning of 2012 only 1,127 soccer clubs use twitter with a total following of 17 million users and by the end of that year approximately 1,600 clubs where in twitter with a combined following of 45 million user, which represents a growth of 260% in one year. Also in Facebook there have been an exponential increase in the number of people following an specific team, for example F.C. Barcelona (Spain) have more followers on Facebook that all NFL teams combined.
Which teams use social media more efficiently? Since there are over 1,500 teams using social media, I am going to choose the top three teams that from my point of view are using this tool more efficiently. The first team in my list is:
1. Southampton FC (England) From my point of view is the soccer club that uses the social media in the best way. They are always connected with their fans posting news and photos and replying to any important comment from their fans. They also try to stimulate the use of social media by posting debates and trivia, just to see how seriously they take this tool, they were the first team that post twitter comments on the field in the place where they usually put the advertising (Figure 1), by doing this they say that during that game the number of fans that watch the game from their home increase by 20%. This team is also the first one to join the new and popular application Snapchat, which clearly indicate that the institution is investing hard to keep their fans happy by making them feel part of the team.
2. Barcelona FC (Spain) Is the most popular team in the world (in any sport) in social media. Recent studies indicate that between Facebook and Twitter this team has over 79 Million followers around the world. They accomplish this by having a constant interaction with their fans and encouraging their players to post photos in the locker room before and after the game. They