As VIVO Pro Kabaddi League gains momentum, Social Samosa takes a look at the Haryana Steelers social media strategy and how they are building a community online.
For Haryana Steelers, the key has been to communicate locally in a language and tone the community associates with, both online and offline. This forms the bulk of the Haryana Steelers Social Media Strategy.
The HS Crew comprises of local youth who relish the opportunity to work for a team that’s their own. They have been using hashtags like #DhaakadBoys, #ShaanSeSteelers, and #KnowYourSteelers to promote team members online.
When it comes to coverage in media, #SteelersMedia is a prominent hashtag. Interactive activities are clubbed under #FunWithSteelers and #HaryanaSteelers is, of course, a common hashtag at play among all categories of posts. According to Tweet Binder, #FunWithSteelers has 233 Replies and #HaryanaSteelers has 167 replies.
The use of emojis is also very common in posts across the spectrum, giving their social media communication a candid, people’s team vibe.
According to Mustafa Ghouse, CEO, JSW Sports, the team represents the state and everything that comes with it. “It’s not just about the sport but the culture,” he says. JSW Sports owns Haryana Steelers.
Haryana Steelers — Journey
Sensing opportunity with Pro Kabaddi League pumping life and glamour into kabaddi, JSW Sports jumped in. The decision to choose a team too came easy. “Haryana was the easiest choice when it came to picking a city, simply because the Jindal family hails from the state and Haryana — over the years — has become synonymous with the sport,” says Mustafa.
During the first season, the gamble paid off when the Steelers made it to the playoff stage and managed to establish a strong fan base. In the second season, efforts were put in to maintain good visibility. Mustafa explains, “It helped us attract some of the best players on the circuit, along with reputed brands and sponsors who bought into the vision of the team.”
From a marketing point of view, Haryana Steelers believe in taking a ‘fans first’ approach. This includes building and engaging with the community in the state the team represents. “Our efforts have been to grow a fan base organically, even if it means that the process is slightly slow,” he says.
On-ground, the team dabbled with multiple means like BTL, print, radio, hyper-local activations and sponsor-led activations. In terms of community engagement, efforts include creating a fan army, dubbed the Dhakad Toli and the team members travelling around to local markets, playgrounds, akhadas, academies, stadiums, schools, and hangouts in a bid to raise awareness and build connections with audiences and potential fans.
Social Media Footprint
Twitter: 26.4k Followers
Facebook: 346k Likes
Instagram: 71.1k Followers
The Haryana Steelers Social Media Strategy
Calling themselves a young team, Mustafa says the focus, with respect to social media, is to create awareness. In time, they are hoping to cultivate a community of fans who connect with the team and the sport at a deeper level. “We want to give Haryana a reason to pack the stadium every single time the Steelers play,” he says.
Video content is doing really well at the moment in the space of sports marketing, he says, adding that the trend followed and the medium being used is what determines its success. He explains, “Audiences and fans are consuming content rapidly, and while we aim to generate as much of it as possible, we do keep a strict eye on the quality of what is being rolled out.”
The road ahead
Mustafa predicts: The kind of viewership and popularity that kabaddi has been generating across the seasons has been very encouraging. Growing the popularity of the sport is a process that needs the coming together of many aspects. If kabaddi consistently manages to tick all boxes, then I don’t see a reason why its popularity won’t rise further. Cricket has done so many things right over a long period of time, and we would all benefit if we took a leaf out the sport’s book in a bid to popularise kabaddi.
To sum up
The most interesting aspect of Haryana Steelers is how they have an association with JSW, a brand known for steel. This reflects well in their communication over social media as kabaddi is a sport of grit, strength, and determination. There are multiple posts where the brand is able to directly promote themselves with the help of the players and the players seem to be benefitting from the recognition.
Another key aspect to the social media presence of Haryana Steelers is how they have created separate hashtags for each category of post that they put up. Action images of team members make up for the bulk of the posts, which is a definite plus.