3 Ways Social Media Increases Sports Fan Loyalty, Part 4: Makes Fans Contributors to the Team
Fans were asked to make a #finalvote on Twitter for Major League Baseball All-Star candidates. This graph shows incredible response the social media campaign received.
This is the fourth and final post in a series adapted from the white paper “3 Ways Sports Organizations Use Social Media to Increase Fan Loyalty.” In this part we break down the third way social media increases sports fan loyalty, by making fans contributors to teams and uniting them. View part 1, part 2, part 3, or download the full whitepaper below.
While dedicated sports fans buy jerseys, paint their faces and attend games to show their loyalty to the team, in the past they’ve had a very limited role in contributing to and being involved in an organization.
In the past, sports organizations – like almost all companies – used traditional media channels like television and radio to broadcast to fans, to deliver a brand-focused message. Social media turns the tables and puts the fans in control of what content performs well. Unsurprisingly, this happens to be the content that focuses on the fans or pulls them into the conversation.
The idea of co-creation has major implications on how involved fans feel in their teams. By asking fans to submit photos, comments, videos and suggestions, and then highlighting this content on official channels, you not only show that you’re listening but that they have a role in your team.
A fan that feels like they’re contributing is going to be a fan for life. This is especially true of children. The Liverpool FC football (soccer) team has a website dedicated to artistic submissions from young fans. Placing their drawings and art on the team website or social media channels is a great way to cement their passion for the team and create lifelong fans. Social media is forever, and that’s a good thing when it gives a fan a memorable experience that they can hang on to and share.
Leagues have managed to pull fans in as contributors as well. Major League Baseball, for example, has let fans vote on Twitter for players that they want to see on the All-Star teams. In this way, fans know that they’ve had a direct impact on the selection of players. Other examples include voting for “the play of the year” or the league’s “fan favourite” player. The inclusion of the fan on such a basic level can have a significant impact on their loyalty.
Social media has also helped increase fan loyalty without any participation of the professional sports organizations themselves. The most dedicated fans have shown themselves to be very interested in joining or creating communities with their fellow-supporters on social channels. These fan communities help promote and support the teams while building a strong bond among fans, without necessarily involving the team at all.
By offering exclusive content, being honest and human, and involving fans in the organization on social media channels, sports teams, athletes and leagues of all levels can increase fan loyalty and have a lasting impact on their business success.
For the full report, download “3 Ways Sports Organizations Use Social Media to Increase Fan Loyalty.