Regular viewers of Sky Sports are well assured that each time they sit down to watch Premier League football they are being treated to the best league in the world. Whether this is the case or not is open to debate. One thing that is for sure is English football is still well behind American sports when it come to fully utilising social media and creating innovative ways through social media to connect, engage and to extend fans’ experiences online.
At this stage it looks like the title is going to the red side of Manchester however when it comes to their use of social media Manchester City are certainly top of the league. This is one part of their communications where they have certainly been strategic, committed and certainly imaginative.
In January following the home match against Spurs the club allowed the 47,000 fans who attended the match to tag themselves in a 360-degree image on the club’s site which could then be shared on share Facebook and Twitter. Not just this but avatars of Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri were also added into the image. Fans who spotted them were entered into a competition to win a signed shirt and personalised video message from Balotelli. This activity worked well on two levels.
Not only did it include fans that attended the game but also brought in those who weren’t at the match as it incentivised them by including the competition element. Any activity that can marry offline activities with online is always a winner in my books.
In February the club also led the way by having captain Vincent Kompany engage with fans in a live Facebook and Twitter interview which was a Premier League first. Building on its success they did a second fans Q&A session with Kompany after their home match against Sunderland last weekend which incorporated Foursquare as well.
This is surprising given American pro-sports have done this on plenty of occasions and it is great to finally see English Premier League clubs picking up on this.
The club has also implemented the new Facebook timeline to good effect with a rich use of milestones outlining the clubs history. The one feature that caught my eye was the Timeline Covers tab which has a list of eight cover photos from which a fan can take and add as a cover photo to their own Facebook profile. Simple and effective.
Of course not everything they have done has worked and much like any football team their social media team encountered a mid season wobble with a Twitter activity that didn’t quite work out as planned. The successful #BlueView activity, which incorporated fans’ Tweets into their match day experience, came about as a result of an idea to have tweets from two Man City bloggers appear on a big screen pre match. It didn’t work out and the case study as a result of this can be downloaded here. However it shows the club isn’t afraid to try new things and are willing to make mistakes and, crucially, learn from them.
Much of this activity isn’t groundbreaking as American pro-sports have been carrying out these activities for some time now. Importantly it is Man City’s commitment in leveraging social media to engage with fans and to further strengthen their affinity with the club.
You can check out all their social media activity here