Frank Festen is the country manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland at Content Stadium. For ‘FUSSBALL BUSINESS‘ he speaks about social media in sports: the importance of it, the perfect strategy, the right content and more.
How important is social media for clubs and leagues – and why are they important?
Social media is the closest fans can get to the team and the players, after attending live games and events. Therefore social media plays a significant role in the overall sports branding experience. The demand from the fans is high and increasing fast. The clubs and other sports organisation have the challenging opportunity to fulfil this need. Some organisations even go beyond these fan-expectations and deliver a full fan-experience via social media. In comparison, TV-reach is still significant, but there is no interaction; you can not instantly like or share your favourite goal, player, trick or quote with your friends. Social media is taking over fast.
Which social media channel would you recommend clubs to use?
This depends on how big your team and reach is. What we see is that there is a big difference in focus between clubs, even at more prominent sports organisations. With a smaller social media team, you should focus on the three leading networks. And prioritise these on your fanbase (target audience). If these channels are well taken care of, you can include more channels in the mix. Maybe even try new ones. New networks and communities are being built every day, so always keep an eye open for innovation.
What are you offering to make the work easier?
Our product is a software as a service platform. We empower editorial teams of sports organisations to instantly create and publish sports visuals, animations and videos for social media. So, we support the social media teams in generating better, branded, visual content, in less time. This means that the same group of people can produce more engaging content.
What are fans and followers expecting from social media profiles of clubs and leagues?
Like I mentioned before; demand is high, and fans are expecting a lot. They expect to be taken seriously, also on social media. Nowadays fans wait to get all kinds of information in their feed from the clubs and leagues that they follow. Not only nice pictures but live coverage, statistics, behind-the-scenes-footage as well as other entertaining content. As a club, you want to make sure that you’re the first to communicate any update, news-flash or additional information about your club. Social Media fans do not wait for tomorrows newspaper; they want to consume content real-time!
What makes a good social media profile?
In sports, that is easy to define: a good social profile puts fans first. No matter if you have a big budget or no budget at all, this is something everyone can do. Yes, maybe you want more traffic to your website, perhaps you want to sell more shirts online, all that is possible, but the experience of the fan should be the primary focus, throughout your channels. On the other hand, you have the sponsors, who are also expecting more from your social media channels. Branding, continuity and cross-channel posts are essential here, for the visibility of your sponsor.
I would say you must have a long-term-strategy but also need to be able to react quickly to trends and things that happened recently. Is this the basic requirement for good social media work?
Yes, of course, you need a strategy. Social media is too big to go with the flow. The strategy is your foundation and can differ per channel. Secondly, you need to make sure that you are preparing for what is coming next, that includes; live coverage, news, trends and virality (remember the cat at FC Bayern?). Look at it like this, you don’t know if your team will score a goal, but when they do, you have your social-team and tech-set-up ready to communicate it with your fans, as soon as possible, in any language needed and in such a way that fans feel invited for interaction and engagement.
What content is the “most valuable” on Facebook, Instagram and others?
From a sports business perspective, content with the highest engagement-ratio is the most valuable. These are the likes, the comments, the shares, the times that videos are viewed and the interactions on your shared content. These things count for social media algorithms. The more your content is shared, the more fans will start following your pages. Video content is the primary driver for growth. Already in 2016 Facebook announced that within five years they would mostly be a video-network. Video content has 1200% more shares, so it’s about time to start investing in qualitative videos that make your club stand out from the crowd, without losing your identity and branding. Because, since you own your social media pages, all these engaging fans are a tremendous and very valuable asset to your company.
You have the insights: which of your content gets the most attention/interaction?
It’s good to clarify that Content Stadium doesn’t own any content, the clubs do. We design and build templates, which your social media team can use on our platform – without a frequency cap and 24/7 access – to create content. We see a lot of different content getting a lot of interaction. Sports is emotion. Therefore a regular post, with a match result, for example, can double or triple in engagement due to an unexpected big-win (or loss). Of course, some graphics always tend to get more interaction than others. We help our clubs and companies with identifying this potential when we define the right templates for their social media strategy.
This interview first appeared in the newsletter of ‘FUSSBALL BUSINESS Magazin’. Click here to read it.
About Fussball Business
FUSSBALL BUSINESS is a magazine for football and business for the German-speaking countries. The magazine is addressed to deciders and opinion leaders in football-business and football-near business as well as to deciders in companies, agencies, associations and also to sports marketing students. Besides the magazine, FUSSBALL BUSINESS is publishing a weekly football-business-newsletter and organizes football-business-events, like the Big Data in Football-Conference in Graz, Austria.
About Content Stadium
Content Stadium is a software as a service platform that empowers editorial teams to create and publish sports visuals, animations and videos for social media within seconds. More info: www.contentstadium.com
M: +49151 51157254