The Relationship Between Sports and Social Media

  • Date: September 12, 2014

Today’s sports teams have now become effective businesses with revenue targets to reach, one of the main reasons why sports teams have adopted social media to effectively market the team and the business. In this blog post we’ll be looking at the relationship between sports and social media platforms.

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil not only gave us some amazing sporting moments such as a flying Dutchman, a hungry Uruguayan and dominating German’s but showcased that social media and sporting events are a perfect couple in the modern world with more comments, pictures and videos being shared over social media than any other event in history.

For instance, the match between Germany and Argentina broke records on Facebook with 280 million interactions during the game, topping the previous record of 245 million held by the 2013 Superbowl. The entire tournaments interactions, on Facebook, reached a colossal one billion figure this making the World Cup the first event in Facebook’s history to reach such a mark. Despite being the biggest game on Facebook, it was Germany’s crushing of Brazil that drew the biggest amount of tweets on Twitter. The game delivered an astonishing 35.6 million tweets during the match, making it the most-tweeted sports game ever.

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It’s not just football that dominates the proceedings of social media; the American Basketball team Miami Heat have over 19 million followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This shows that with a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Vine and Instagram being used by nearly one in four people worldwide, it is impossible not to know what is happening in a variety of sporting worlds.

Today’s sports teams have now become effective businesses with revenue targets to reach, one of the main reasons why sports teams have adopted social media to effectively market the team and the business. In this blog post we’ll be looking at the relationship between sports and social media platforms

NFL & Twitter

Twitter’s 140 character limit puts your writing skills to the test by limiting the use of extensive marketing lingo and replacing with plain and simple writing to get your point across.

You only need to look over the Atlantic to see the power of social media being effectively used by one of the biggest sports in the globe, NFL. The American National Football League have successfully adopted the Twitter platform to run a live action news feed for their league, following the @nfl page you not only get live action tweets but the creation of discussions and news surrounding the 32 teams in the league.

The @NFL account is also one of front runners when it comes to utilising social media accounts to their full potential, with any new addition to Twitter’s features being pioneered by the league’s page.

Using a full stop before a mention allows your Twitter feed to see the tweet, this is not entirely a new feature but has been recently used as an effective marketing technique.

The social media platform has recently introduced the ability to add one or more photos to a tweet without it affecting your character count.

Manchester United and Facebook

Founded in 2004, Facebook soon took the world of social media to the next level after past failures from MySpace and Bebo and founder Mark Zuckerburg hasn’t become one of the worlds youngest every billionaires without having a business brain.

In recent years Facebook has turned into a money making machine with the introduction of a limited news feed which only shows the most relevant posts. Adopting a pay per view method similar to Google AdWords, the organic reach of your page can soon drop if you do not utilise Facebook effectively.

If you’re looking for a prime example of effective use take a look at the Manchester United page, with 57 Millions likes on Facebook, the Barclays Premier League team Manchester United have successfully cracked the code without having to ‘’boost posts’’.

The news feed sorting algorithm uses allows liked, commented and shared posts to have better visibility but to do this you need to ensure the content you have is ‘’good’’ and delivers engagement. Manchester United only posts statuses which are accompanied by images or videos, this makes the post not only stand out in the news feed but increases engagement and visibility.

Next time you’re on Facebook, take a deeper look into the posts appearing on your news feed, you’re likely to see a lot of posts which have ‘’Liked this’’, ‘’Shared this’’ or ‘’Commented on this’’.

This is because Zuckerberg is reaching into the mechanics of ‘’friendship’’, to be friends with someone you usually have common interests and opinions hence why Facebook is increasing the visibility of posts which are interesting and engaging your friends.

Another great aspect of Manchester United’s page is their use of the timeline feature. Facebook is virtually a photo album which can showcase your entire history, one of the main reasons why it’s called a ‘’timeline’’, and Manchester United have used this feature to showcase notable moments from their existence.

Wimbledon and Google Plus

Despite being the oldest tennis championship in the world, Wimbledon is still in touch with social media using Google’s answer to social media, Google Plus.

Often trailing in the social media rat race behind Facebook and Twitter, Google Plus is still an effective network to market your business and Wimbledon have adopted the site effectively to remain in touch with tennis fans after the fortnight of the grass tennis tournament is over.

By posting engaging content throughout the year Wimbledon’s Google Plus page has become the destination for tennis news. As well as talking about past games at the All England Club, the current maintenance of courts and the build up to the debuts of young tennis players it also keeps followers up to date with news from around the world of tennis including action from different competitions such as the US Open.

Being the social media love child of one of the largest search engines also gives Google Plus users the advantage of improving their page rankings by simply optimising their page. By adding your business title, description, page links and a custom page URL you can appear higher in Google search rankings.

The correct use of Google Plus has given the Wimbledon championship a page 1 ranking for the keyword ‘’tennis championship’’ second to only news and resource page Wikipedia.

Basketball’s biggest star and Instagram

American basketball superstar LeBron James, often compared to the greatness of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, is often seen an as untouchable, someone who is not from this planet but the power of social media has struck again, bringing James’s life as a 29 year old from Akron, Ohio to sight.

With nearly 7 million followers LeBron has become one of the most popular athletes on the image and video sharing site Instagram, which has only been around since 2010. The page not only gives LeBron the ability to showcase his luxury lifestyle and extensive fitness routine but a chance to show he’s just a normal guy who loves his family and his kids, bringing his closer to his fanbase around the world.

He is even partial to the popular Instagram past time of taking a picture of his food.

The summer of 2014, during the NBA off-season, the biggest decision of LeBron James career came to a close. He had to decide whether to stay with Miami Heat, the team that gave his two NBA Championship wins and rings, or to go back to the team that initially drafted him, Cleveland Cavaliers. Once his decision was made, to go back to Cleveland, he chose to post make his announcement on Instagram, a platform which showcases him in a different light as a normal 29 year old.

Gone in 6 Seconds

The newest addition to the sport and social media relationship is the short-video sharing platform, Vine.

This platform is often used to bring live sporting action to your phone with fans in the crowd or viewers at home recording action and sharing it around the world, allowing users of the platform to see the best moments without actually tuning into the game itself. This action has fallen into the grey area of social media and what who owns the copyright to the vines.

Vine has given sports teams the chance to get creative because of its stop motion function. Trust us, its creative camera skills not magic as some others may have you believe, see Zach.King’s Vine Account. Once again we discuss the NFL in particular the San Francisco 49ers for their use of the platform.

The NFL team have created a page which not only gives followers behind the scene action like teams entering stadiums but great entertainment value. A prime example of the 49ers brilliance on the page is the Vine in which ‘’amazing things’’ happen when you pull on a Levis 49ers fan jacket.

If you’re looking to follow in the footsteps of sports teams around the world and effectively market your business using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Vine and Instagram get in contact with our team today.


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