Flickr / Photo by atn0197.

Social media is changing how sports franchises and fans interact

As a growing number of Americans are engaging on platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, companies are increasingly relying upon social media to market their products and engage with their clients—sports teams are no exception.

Social media provides many aspects of marketing and engagement previously unavailable to teams—it changes how teams and their fans can interact and affects how often fans are exposed to content from the teams they follow. Today, teams can receive feedback from fans immediately as well as respond to questions from fans.

Social is useful and growing

According to Nielsen, 87% of American adults now own a cell phone and social media reached almost 200 million people each week in the final quarter of 2016. It is, however, important for companies, and sports teams, to know who their audience is on social media. Somewhat surprisingly, Millenials did not make up the heaviest social media user group in 2016, Generation X (aged 35-49) did, spending almost 7 hours on average on social media per week.  

Just as important as understanding the user base, is understanding how to win them over. Teams have effectively used social media as a took through different strategies designed to create an active community following. Creating this following can not only allow teams to enhance and grow their brand, but can also energize existing fans and inform them of events.

Sports teams have the unique ability to use their players to promote their brands and engage with fans. By allowing fans the opportunity to interact with players via social media, teams can grow their followings and increase hype around their franchises—players can help produce exciting, sharable content.

The ability to share instantly can be dangerous

There can be drawbacks to the increased roll of social media, however—risks which teams must always consider and monitor. Social media introduces an “immediate” aspect previously unavailable and largely what makes it so popular. When content is being dispersed instantly via Tweets or live video, for example, undesirable content can be shared unintentionally which can impact the integrity of the brand.

For this reason, teams must always balance pushing content often and swiftly with monitoring the content they are producing. This is especially true when players and others are generating content.

Social is here to stay

Social media is changing how sports franchises can interact with fans and promote their brands. Forty-three percent  of weekly Facebook activity and 33% of weekly Twitter activity occurred in the final quarter of 2016 as fans took to social to discuss NFL games.  Teams can communicate with fans, fans can communicate with teams—the sports world is changing. 

Flickr / Photo by atn0197.