Taking cues from the social media presence of #ISL2019 teams, here’s a cheat sheet on how to increase engagement with football fans through digital touchpoints.
From the times of staying up late at night to watch a football match being played on foreign lands to getting access to the lives of star players, a lot has changed for football fans in India. A major part of the process has been played by social media, supported by broadcast. In the Indian football hinterland, there has been a burst in content and consumption, with a focus on going hyperlocal.
Football consumption in India has grown manifold over the last few years, especially in the states like Mizoram, Assam, Kerala, Meghalaya, and Tripura. The availability of sports broadcast in regional languages has helped the cause. An interesting factor is how more than the metro cities, it is the tier-2 and tier-3 cities that are taking the lead. About 500 million people watch the sport in India. This rise can also be deduced from the social media interactions of football fans.
Leagues like the Premium League, La Liga, and the Indian Super League have been able to capture the imagination of football fans over different social media platforms. This includes the following of both domestic and international leagues. On one hand, there are brands pumping in money, on the other, efforts are put in to convert teams and players into individual brands. In all the chaos that ensues, there are lessons to learn.
There is a lot of scope in terms of brands joining the bandwagon to support the game, financially and holistically. Given the internet penetration and possibilities that come with it, social media is bound to play a very important role in this development.
Here we take a look at some of the strategies that have been successful in helping score football fans on social media, with the help of data shared with Social Samosa by Germin8, a digital intelligence company.
Social Media Field
Kerala Blasters FC has the highest fan following on all platforms, followed by Chennaiyin FC and ATK. Compared to other teams, while Facebook is leveraged more by ATK and Mumbai City FC, YouTube is most leveraged by Northeast United FC.
In terms of more engagement, Kerela Blasters FC received the highest engagement on Facebook and Instagram, followed by posts of Chennai FC and Bengaluru FC.
1. Live updates get traction
Posts that give football fans a taste of live action are appreciated the most online. These help increase engagement as those away from screen get to be a part of the conversation and those watching are able to use this content to share their excitement. If you were to dissect the category further, what works best are posts that are specific to victory celebrations or a goal score.
2. Build team heroes
Posts that highlight specific players work second best in terms of garnering engagement. Here, an aspect of affinity helps build a connection between the team and the fans, via players. According to the data-based observations, users tend to compliment, appreciate and welcome the players, showcasing a positive tonality towards the team.
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3. Player-centric Instagram
While Facebook and Twitter can be used to push links and textual updates, Instagram should be reserved for visual communication with human elements, preferably real images. “On Instagram, most of the teams post player-related images and videos,” says the report. The strategy seems to be working well for the teams.
4. Sponsorship avenues
To be able to build a narrative that helps the sports, teams, players, and brands in one go is an ideal case scenario. Data suggests that these posts do well in terms of engagement too. One of the high performing campaigns of #ISL2019, according to Germin8 data, is that of the association of Mumbai City FC with Etihad Airways.
5. Pictures work well
An interesting aspect revealed by Germina8 is that the highest engagement has been observed on posts containing images/creatives followed by videos. This was based on the Facebook and Instagram engagement garnered by the top three performing teams — Kerela Blasters FC, Chennai FC, and Bengaluru FC. It essentially reflects that even if you can’t spend on producing videos, investing in images is a good idea.