The power of social media is enormous, and cannot be overemphasized. It cuts across different continents and has brought people together like never before. Sports teams have also used social media to increase their appeal in previously hitherto uncharted territories and players are now even bought for their social media appeal and marketing potential, a case in point being Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer from Real Madrid to Italian outfit, Juventus.
With over 5 billion people using mobile phones across the globe, and with close to 4 billion using social media on a daily basis, the global reach it affords means that sports teams pay more attention to their perception on social media. Italian outfit, AS Roma, created a Pidgin English social media account on Twitter, targeted at the Nigerian audience. Typically, Nigerian football fans have an affinity towards the English Premier League and La Liga, but their relatable content in normal Nigerian lingo has endeared them to many football lovers in the most populous black nation in the world.
With such an impressive global reach, sports teams have social media at the core of their marketing campaigns. It has become the perfect platform for teams, athletes and leagues to connect and engage seamlessly with their diverse fanbase at any given time.
How can sports teams maximize social media for greater impact among fans? This article highlights some ways.
Social Media Sports Marketing Trends
There are emerging trends that sports teams can tap into in maximizing their use of social media.
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Live Tweeting: Twitter has become arguably the best platform for live events, with fans clocking in for information, updates, analysis, as well as proper conversations with other fans. It has become easier for people to watch games in the comfort of their homes, while also going online to drive conversation.
Live Streaming: Streaming services on platforms such as Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, as well as other conventional broadcast organizations partner with sports teams to showcase real-time sports content to a global audience.
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Augmented Reality: This has become an extremely innovative way for people to view and enjoy sports. It helps match officials make better decisions on the pitch, but it is also a major sports marketing tool. It can be used to enhance interactive marketing campaigns throughout live games.
eSports: Sports teams can use eSports as a powerful social media marketing channel. Brands and companies endorse eSports teams and athletes to influence millions of eSports lovers.
Sports teams must be strategic
It is not enough for sports teams to just be on social media; strategy and intention to maximize its use must be integrated for it to be effective. Sports organizations, brands, and marketers must be innovative with social media to set them apart from the competition.
Charity causes: While this may be termed as trying to buy loyalty, it doesn’t hurt anyone in the long term. Sporting teams can use social media to identify ways of giving back to the local or even global community, whether it be sponsoring campaigns on climate change, clean energy, health concerns or working with children. Athletes are not left out; the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams, and Michael Phelps are some prominent sports stars that donate regularly to charitable causes.
Investing in women’s sports: With the world rapidly adopting a more inclusive approach to women’s sports, it has become necessary and imperative that sports teams have women’s teams. The likes of Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles, Lindsey Vonn, and Carli Lloyd are all recognizable figures everywhere they go. Investing in women’s sports also helps the next generation of girls believe that their dreams are more achievable.
Including athletes in campaigns: Most sports fans have an undeniable attraction, if not obsession, to their favourite sports stars. Sports teams can use very popular players to drive a new jersey launch, although caution is advised, so as not to alienate other players as well, who also have a diverse fanbase.
Social media has come to stay, and can only get better and bigger, which invariably means that sports teams can only continue to leverage on social media if done right. With constant changes and additions of new features on social media platforms, the opportunities for brands, athletes, and sports teams are truly endless.