Sachin Says Hi and Bhajji Goes Balle Balle on Facebook
Cricket is a religion in India, and for many years it was a monotheistic religion where there was only one God: Sachin Tendulkar. There were many great players but there was only one God and then came IPL and with it came many deities and many religions.
During IPL, cricket is not just one religion, and God is not just one. Every team has its own stars and superstars. Every team has its own fans, followers, and worshipers putting the Gods of cricket on the pedestal much higher than they enjoy in the International Arena.
It’s time to humanize Gods
Mumbai Indians, which has the fortune of having the God of Gods as its skipper, is using Facebook to humanize cricket lords. The team, which already enjoys the love and support of 2.5 million Facebook fans, is taking social media engagement one step further.
MI Paltans, as the Mumbai Indians fans are collectively called, for the first time ever, is going to receive personalized message from the cricket greats, right on their Facebook wall. This will drive the number of likes on the Facebook fan page of Mumbai Indians, and it will also increase the level of active engagement. On that front, the page, at the time of writing, has kept 25,845 actively engaged, which may be a decent number, but when seen in the context of 2.5 million fans is not very impressive. Only around 1% of the total fans are actively engaged with the fan page.
The new strategy will surely change all this. When a personalized video message from cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Rohit Sharma, and Lasith Malinga, etc., will be posted on Facebook, it will drive more likes and fuel more discussions.
Gods will become friends
‘Players become Friends’ is what Ogilvy & Mather, the agency which is running this campaign, is calling this effort to allowing cricket stars communicating with MI Paltans through Facebook, but in reality, it will be like Gods coming down to befriend mere mortals.
Currently Mumbai Indians’ Facebook fan page is the most famous fan page for a sports brand in India, but the effort will push it upward in the top 10 Facebook Fan page (of any kind) in India, where it already has its presence.
For MI Paltans, FB will be social again
Imagine you met Sachin Tendulkar in a friend’s party, and you are introduced to him. How will your discussion shape? Will you just talk, talk, and talk, while, Sachin, on the other hand, will just listen to what you say without speaking a single word?
Real social communication is not like that. It’s a two-way process, where both the parties participate.
This was (and is) missing from brand pages of celebrities, where each of them is speaking to the wall, if not to the hand. Mumbai Indians’ effort to ask cricketers to actively responds to their fans and send message directly from their hotel rooms is going to bring the missing piece back to the social communication, which will give MI Paltans a taste of the inside of Mumbai Indians dressing room. And the best part is the cricketers will use the first name of a fan to reply to his question. See the video below to get a taste of what it will be like:
As I can see from here, everyone, from the Mumbai Indians fans to the fans of other IPL teams, is going to like Mumbai Indians’ Facebook page because everyone, regardless of his team loyalty, will love to peak into private space of these cricket gods.
MI Paltans going Big on Videos
After sporadic use of videos in the last 2 seasons, MI Paltans is going big on Video in the current season. The team has been creating and seeding videos on its YouTube Channel for more than a month now, but the main target of these videos are to drive traffic to Mumbai Indians Facebook fan page, which has been optimized for search rankings using rich snippets. Upon searching Google for keyword “Mumbai Indians Facebook” you will come across the following listing:
It tells the story of how the team is planning to use videos. Mumbai Indians are also using twitter to drive traffic to its Facebook fan page.
Unlike the previous year, the social media think-tank is consolidating and focusing all its efforts to Facebook fan page. Mumbai Indians is, indeed, going to use YouTube and Twitter in a big way, but the goal of these tools will be primarily to bring people to its Facebook fan page, where the interaction will take place. And what will work in engaging fans better than a video message from the cricketers themselves?
Mumbai Indians are playing their cards well, and as the IPL is coming closer, it is infusing life into their campaign and above video is just an example of it, though a very emphatic exampling in that. MI Paltans will get many more personalized videos of that sort.
IPL is, indeed, going to be very exciting for all the cricket fans and even Mumbai Indians owner. Winning the cup does matter in IPL, but more than that what matters is the team’s journey to the cup, and on this front Mumbai Indians seem to be way ahead of the competition.