How to market your football club: Social Media

Posted on: September 20th, 2019 | by Laura Murdoch | No Comments

After last week, your football club should be all set with its new club website, so it’s time to start getting your brand out into the world. You’ll want to promote your website to more people and let them know who you are. The age of social media has changed the way that fans engage with their football clubs. It is no longer restricted to on the pitch and fans expect to be able to have 24/7 access to updates and news. This puts additional pressure on clubs to produce quality content for their fans to engage with. However, done right, social media can offer a major boost to your football marketing efforts.

Why use social media?

For one thing, your potential audience is big. As of May 2019, there are 3.499 billion active social media users. People have, on average, 7.6 social media accounts and spend around 142 minutes checking them every day. Those numbers are only growing. Between April 2018 and April 2019, the number of social media users grew by 202 million, which works out as one new user every 6.4 seconds. Now, obviously, not all of those people will be potential fans for your football club but, with so many people out there, you’re bound to find a few new people along the way.

What makes social media equally appealing for marketing is the fact that it offers an inexpensive way to connect with fans. It’s really only if you start thinking about social media advertising that you’ll start incurring costs. For the most part, the main thing that a strong social media presence will cost you is time. It requires a fair amount of effort but there are ways of making social media an effective way to market your football club.

Which platform to use?

Nowadays, there are loads of options for you to choose between. So, where do you start and how many accounts should you set up? That all depends on how much time you have. You might think it’s great to jump head-first into every platform but you need to make sure you can keep on top of it. The best way to handle your social media is by regularly posting good quality content. If you can’t manage that across multiple platforms, then you need to work out which one will work best for you and get that as strong as possible.

Looking at sheer numbers, Facebook has the most overall users. Current statistics have it around 2,375 billion users. However, in terms of engagement, Instagram has started to pull focus as audiences consume more visual content. Last year, Premier League teams all saw a drop in engagement on Facebook and started to put more focus on creating quality images for their Instagram fans. Twitter can’t compete with these two platforms for the number of users but, if you have a talent for creating bitesize content that will speak to your fans, the microblogging site might be the best for your club.

Most importantly, you need to consider your audience. Recent statistics tell us that older users are moving to Instagram but there is still a bit of a divide. In 2018, the most active age group for Facebook users was between the age of 25 and 44. For the same year, 60% of all Instagram users were between the ages of 18 and 34. Think about who is using a platform and how before you start your social media strategy.

How often to post?

Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. The best answer I’ve got is to update as often as you can produce quality content. The real key to succeeding on social media is quality and consistency. Updating your accounts regularly should be the key, whether that be once a day or a few times a week.

Of course, people are constantly looking into the answer to this question and there have been many studies about posting frequencies. Getting the balance between too often and not often enough is important for your social media plan. You want to make sure your audience sees you but you don’t want to annoy with endless updates. Here is a basic outline of how to approach your main accounts:

  • Facebookbetween 3 posts a week and 2 a day. Most people agree that one Facebook post per day is optimal and that anything over 2 a day is unnecessary. When it comes to deciding when to post, it’s always best to consult your Facebook Insights to see when your fans are online.
  • Twitterbetween 2 and 30 times a day. Twitter differs from other social media platforms so the answer to this question is often contested. Tweets don’t have a very long shelf life so you need to try and keep active throughout the day if possible. There are plenty of tools, like Buffer, that you can use to schedule your posts without having to worry about getting time during the day.
  • Instagrambetween 1 and 3 posts a day. Posting at least once a day on Instagram is recommended, especially considering how quickly the platform is growing. Try and get a supply of photos from match days, training sessions, and behind the scenes so you have always decent content to post.

 

Instagram and Facebook Stories

When it comes to social media marketing, there is a lot of untapped potential in Stories. Many big companies have started to see the appeal of Instagram and Facebook Stories but it is still an underused commodity. For one thing, the content you upload to your story is only live for 24 hours. This means it doesn’t need to be as good as on your regular feed and can be created quickly. Additionally, using these features means that your football club’s account will automatically feature at the top of your followers’ feeds. They will instantly see that you have added something when they open the platform, which means you will immediately have their attention.

Statistics tell us that there is a huge potential audience for Stories. There are around 500 million users posting or watching Stories every day. It’s a huge thing and more and more companies have realised this. Earlier this year, it was announced that 3 million advertisers had bought Stories ads across both platforms. So, why aren’t you getting involved? Stories are great to show your fans behind the scenes. Take them on a tour of your club, interview your players, give a glimpse of a training session, or spotlight your fans. The quality of image/video that you use doesn’t have to be the best but you want something that will engage your fans.

Create Quality Content

One of the biggest problems with social media marketing is focusing on the wrong thing. Everybody would love to have a crazy number of fans or followers on their social media accounts but that’s not always the most helpful number to focus on. You can have millions of followers but it won’t count if you aren’t engaging them. Take a look at the Premier League: Manchester United has one of the largest social media followings of any professional football club but their engagement rate is much less impressive. I really can’t stress enough that quality is the key to all social media marketing. If you aren’t putting some thought into your posts then your fans won’t care what you’re saying. You might be posting on behalf of your football club but you are posting for the fans.

The last few years have seen an unstoppable trend concerning what type of posts do well on social media. Engagement increases on posts including an image or video. Visual marketing is the thing because it adds transparency and authenticity to your social media posts. Users want to be able to experience your brand not just read about it. You must try and share good quality and relevant images. Whether this means creating them yourself, taking photos, or getting somebody to help, the inclusion of this kind of content will see a boost in your engagement.

Connect with Your Fans

Social media can be a great business opportunity but, at a basic level, it should be seen as a way to connect with your fans. It should be a channel to start a conversation with them that will, if you’re doing it right, drive them to take the actions you want. Making your loyal fans feel heard and giving them the content that they want is the best way to strengthen your relationship with them. Your social media accounts are a great place to update them, talk to them, and listen to what they have to say.

Plan Ahead

The best way to approach your social media strategy is to plan. You don’t have to be too strict but it’s always good to have a brief idea of the kind of posts you’ll be sending out over the next few weeks or months. Make sure you know how you want to use your social media channels during matches. You can get creative and funny with your updates. Use images, GIFs, and emojis to communicate with your fans.

Also, make note of any relevant national days, sporting events, trends, or community events that you can use in your strategy. If you can link something back to your club in the hopes of engaging your fans then all the better. Using the right hastags and mentioning other accounts can open up a world of new fans to you. Do your research to see who and what is out there that is relevant to your football club. Knowing what to pay attention to and finding other conversations that you can join is always a good basic step. For example, the Women’s World Cup this year was the perfect time to engage football fans on social media. Asking questions, creating polls, and discussing results help to create the community feel that you’re after.

What Now?

Hopefully, this will give you a few ideas for where to start with your social media approach. As a final point, I will just reiterate the idea of quality content over quantity. Make sure you are sharing good photos of your team. And what’s the best way to get good looking photos? Make sure your team is looking their best. Be sure to check out our great football team kits to get everyone looking great.

Browse Pendle Football Team Kits

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