Football and Social Media: Why Clubs Need To Change To Stay Relevant

This guest post on the UK Sports Network by Oscar Ugaz, the former Digital Business Manager for Real Madrid FC, is a must read for all those interested in the emerging relationship between the ‘beautiful game’ and social media.  Although having a football focus, the key message of the article is relevant to all industries and brands.

The main thrust of the article is that most football clubs manage their new social media assets with the same ‘alpha male’ attitude used in old media i.e. accumulating large numbers of followers/fans then using social media to broadcast messages AT rather than engage WITH fans. For example, top clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester Utd, with over 20 million Facebook fans each, have an average Engagement Ratio of less than 3.5 per cent.

Oscar’s argument fully supports the results of our on-going research in this area reported in previous posts – namely that the world’s top football clubs are using social media as a broadcasting channel rather than as a platform for fan engagement.

The article provides some good advice on using the insights generated from social media to deliver high value content and fan engagement.  However, it concludes with a very pessimistic message – one that we fully agree with and not just for football brands.

‘If brands like football clubs, that are supposed to create some of the most deep and engaging relationships do not produce real value this can give support to those that suggest that social media is a fad and a waste of time. And this will have the familiar sound of a bubble burst with all the negative effects towards digital media’.

The full article can be accessed here and is well worth a read – http://www.theuksportsnetwork.com/football-social-media-why-clubs-need-to-change-to-stay-relevant

As usual, comments and feedback are very welcome. Why do football clubs find it so difficult to engage?


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