Slightly over a week from now, the entire nation of 1.17 billon people will be glued to their television sets at home, their phones, and the Internet at work following every move of their favorite teams or their favorite players, depending on where their loyalty lies.
Unlike 2011, where main focus of IPL organisers was to lure people to stadia, sports bar, and their television sets, in 2012 the organisers have decided to cash in on the rising popularity of social media, and rightly so. Social media was used in the last versions of the game as well, but not to the same effect it is being used now, or will be used this time. Reason being the growing numbers of smartphones and increasing smartphone usage to access web and to participate in various social media platforms.
In this article, I will analyze how IPL organisers are using social media to engage cricket fans and what they are missing on, and in the concluding part we will see how they fare vis-à-vis teams on the social media platform.
Tools of engagement
Social media is vast. It is growing every day. New tools are being added and the old ones are pulled out, so it will be utter arrogance on my part and sheer waste of time on our part to see how teams are doing on all the platforms, regardless of the tool’s relevance. So, in the series, I will mainly analyze the teams’ efforts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and website (through blog etc.), and I will also see if any team or IPL itself has designed a mobile app to cash in on the smartphone growth.
Let’s embark on the exciting journey and see how IPL is using social media.
IPL on Facebook
Everyone is on Facebook, so it was but obvious for IPL to be present there. It is there, rather it has a very strong presence there, may be not as strong a presence as Mumbai Indians has, but 989,000 fans (at the time of writing) is no less a feat, and around 20,000 of them are actively engaged with the page, which is higher than the ones engaged with Mumbai Indians page, in terms of percentage of total fans.
On an average, around 300-400 people like each update put live on the page, which are mainly announcements of one kind or another. Seeing the nature of the page and level of engagement, it is not that bad, but efforts to actively engage fans should have been planned.
The real estate of the page has been nicely used, except for the app bar. It would have been more effective, if nice images had been used, and if app about video had been brought above the fold, which currently is not visible.
IPL on Twitter
Hash tags: #IPL and #YehIPLHaiBoss
In terms of profile optimisation, IPL has made a proper use of twitter. Every section has been properly used. The updates are interesting, but use of its own hash tag is very limited. The tweets are very rarely re-tweeted which suggests that people, though they follow twitter page in bulk, are not very excited with the things they see there.
IPL on YouTube
IPL’s media partner Times Internet manages its YouTube Channel, and there is not much pre-series activity going on. The videos posted there are either from the matches or post match events, which one can find anywhere on the web. Seeing the equity and resources it has, IPL should have used this platform more creatively to take engagement to the next level, but it has missed the opportunity, at least for now.
For 2012, there is only one IPL promo video, rest of them are from the previous series.
IPL has also launched a mobile app for iOS platform which will enable iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad users stay connected with the series. This could have been more rewarding should IPL had released app for android platform as well. Not having an app for android means turning back on a much larger section of smartphone users. Android-based devices are more in use than are iOS ones.
Unlike Mumbai Indians, which has a central theme running across all the social media platforms, IPL is lacking cohesion. Despite registering its presence on all major platforms, it misses out on the opportunity to glue people to the social sites because the strategy is missing.
Another thing that is missing is blog. IPL would have created a stronger buzz by including blogging, which is at the core of any social media activity. IPL should also have created some exclusive content for social media. It would have made the stay on its social profiles much more worthy for the fans.
2012 is a year of missed opportunity for IPL, in terms of social media use. In the next article, we will see how Kolkata Night Riders is doing in Social media. Meanwhile, use the comment box below and let me know what you feel about IPL’s social media efforts?