‘Better fan engagement’ will be one of the top three priorities for Super Rugby franchises in the 2014 competition. The Social Pages 2013-14 will take a slightly different approach in looking at how the Australian Super Rugby sides engage with fans.
Brands that connect with sports fans on social media motivate consumers to take action, including purchasing memberships, tickets or merchandise. By commenting or sharing content on Facebook, Google + or Twitter, brands essentially get free media coverage direct to their target market.
Social media use is easy, immediate and most importantly for Australian rugby, it’s free.In a media environment where the rugby presence is already tiny and diminishing, getting 40,000 people across social platforms to see your photo/clip/article is GOLD. Usually.
Fan engagement is a basically the friendship between a brand (team, coaches and players) and a consumer (us). And just like real friendships there are some things that our friends do that really give us the shits
They only call when they want something from you
You know the friend who you barely hear from throughout the year, who calls you for a catch-up then hits you up to help him move? This is how I feel about franchises (and players) who tweet irregularly throughout the year, then suddenly push a membership, or a corporate breakfast, or a lunch or a fundraising something or other.
If we’re going to be friends I’m more likely to do stuff for you/buy tickets/share on Facebook if I feel like we’re real friends, not just Facebook friends.
They always talk about how good it is somewhere else
This is when franchises or players just post links to other stuff and you have to click through to see what it is – yes you, Faingaa Twins! (Also as an aside – please don’t sign off a tweet as #FTS or #FTA if it is obvious that it wasn’t actually written by you – that’s dishonest). Instagram is great in that you can simultaneously post to three places, but it shouldn’t be the only place you post photos or clips – post to Facebook and Twitter directly sometimes because it’s easier for your fans.
And if you’re going to post to Twitter make your post suitable for Twitter (ie. 140 characters or less). Posting a long status to Facebook then tweeting that status reduces my interest by 100 per cent. For those of us who are engaged in social media across multiple platforms, give us something a bit different across each one and we’ll eat it up!
They lecture at us and don’t let us into a conversation. And THEN they expect us to tell everyone else about it!
Yes that means you, Queensland Reds! Without a single response to a fan in more than 200 tweets, and no replies to comments on Instagram either, we have a problem. You’re either ignoring questions or comments completely, or they’re not being asked. From a fan engagement perspective, the former is rude but the latter is actually more concerning.
They talk a big game
Like most people, I will blindly follow the requests of the Brumbies in the hope that doing so will get me a photo of Clyde Rathbone and David Pocock (hereafter known collectively as Cockbone – this was Mr Rathbone’s selection) shirtless, and preferably glistening with sweat and some dirt smeared across their… anyway. So when they tell me to follow someone I will follow.
On Friday last week the Brumbies did a shout-out to their new scrumhalf, Michael Dowsett (@mdowsett_19) saying he was ‘well worth the follow’. He has tweeted 51 times since January, and those tweets have mostly consisted of retweets and replies to mates. And since then he has given us three RTs and a reply to his teammates. In non-Twitter speak that isn’t ‘worth a follow’. My issue isn’t with Michael’s tweeting – Twitter isn’t for everyone – rather my problem is with the advertising. I STRONGLY encourage the Brumbies to read tomorrow’s post: ‘What makes this fan engage’.
(Although in the meantime, Brumbies people, if you see Cockbone frolicking in a state of undress at training and post the photo and/or video, all will be forgiven. Forever. If it seems a bit weird for you to do it, I’m happy to fly down to capture the image in person or smear stuff places – whatever you need)
I’m a social media junkie and over the coming months I’ll be posting up the social media goings on of the franchises and the players. To the staff and players of the Reds, Waratahs, Brumbies, Rebels and Force, I challenge you to make my life easy and be creative, be funny, be yourselves.
Some Social Pages quality follows:
Auckland Blues Rugby (@BluesRugby on Twitter and Instagram) – they set the standard for fan engagement throughout Super Rugby.
Quade Cooper (@QuadeCooper on Twitter and Instagram) – he’s not the same tweeter/person as he was a year or two ago.
Laurie Weeks (@L_Weeks on twitter and Instagram) – he is hilarious.
Laurie Fisher (@LordLaurie58) – obviously a great rugby brain, and does respond to punters asking questions