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Release Date: March 3, 2021

Used as a global communication and engagement medium, social media has altered the traditional business-customer relationship dynamics. Social networking is a medium that helps users to interact in a real-time, productive rear conversation.

The growth of social media has changed the sporting industry over the past decade. One of the most powerful features of social media is the ability to easily and effectively engage with people worldwide. In this regard, social engagement channels offer fresh and exciting communication opportunities across the sports industry.

“Fans can communicate with sports teams and leagues through social media, as athletes have profiles, allowing potentially millions of fans to connect with them and their teams directly. Fans can now be a part of the sports organization’s tale thanks to this direct link.”

Social media is changing the way sports stars, teams, and audiences connect with each other. Spectators are no longer merely watching sport. Viewers can now get coverage, insights, and commentary directly from the source, thanks to live-tweeting sports, making snide memes, and cheerleading from the internet.

“Fans who engage with sports on social media are more likely to have positive feelings towards brands and sponsors.”

Sports fans are chomping at using social media to discuss their favourite clubs and athletes.

So, the role of social media in sports will continue to be influenced by a variety of factors like:

  • Keeping fans informed about the team’s news updates.
  • Providing fans with ways to connect with clubs and have their opinions known.
  • highlighting team-related news and activities in the community

We’ve also seen how social media has benefited the sport and has evolved into a significant part.

Now, let’s talk about some new social media trends in sports and best practices that play a fair game on both networks and represent authentic ways to reach the audience.

Real-time updates and “online” content must be emphasized

Sports are made buzzworthy through their idea of taking place in real-time.

Furthermore, die-hard supporters are able to express themselves and interact with clubs (for better or worse).

So, whatever the teams can do to catch and promote those real-time interactions is a bonus. The following are some common strategies for doing so:

  • Live-tweeting sporting events, press conferences, and drafts.
  • Providing fans match-specific hashtags to use while sharing on social media.
  • Using polls or Q&A sessions on Instagram or Facebook Live to get input from fans.

For example, Let’s look at how teams in the ‘Champions League’ use hashtags, videos, and polling to generate hype during a match on Twitter and Instagram.

While they use Instagram Stories to provide play-by-play updates, stadium footage, and goal announcements, fans are likewise invited to vote for their favorite players to keep the hype train rolling after the game.  

The most critical element in what makes a social account stand out is creativity. In sports social media, this entails pursuing new avenues and opportunities to engage fans in real-time. It also involves clever captions that make the account sound like being run by a fan rather than a company.

Express the behind-the-scenes perspectives by Stories

There are no surprises here.

The number one thing that the viewer needs to see more of from marketers is tapping into their followers’ posts, such as Instagram Stories.

The same principle applies to sports social media, particularly among athletes. Players will exhibit their daily lives and go behind-the-scenes by sharing stories.

Since stories are raw and off-the-cuff, they eliminate the “corporate” feel of sports content on social media. Athletes and teams alike should make full use of Stories to keep fresh in their supporters’ eyes.

Showing support for social causes

Athletes should not be hesitant to speak out about social and political issues. Athletes and sports teams should take advantage of their opportunities to make a statement.

For example, MLB used their league account to spotlight players protesting for social justice, and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. The NHL had done something similar in their #HockeyisforEveryone initiative to express support for the LGBQ+ community.

Although taking a stance may enrage some fans, advocacy is at the heart of much sports social media. The outrage can be loud, but with their influence and their audiences’ scale, teams see speaking out as a duty.

“The potential for enhancing relationships through social media is particularly promising for sport managers in the current competitive environment.”

But be cautious!

In terms of how they deal with their followers, teams and players must be on the same page.

It can be challenging for athletes to avoid social media apologies or possible fan backlash. This is partly because many teams have enormous audiences.

Athletes are able to express themselves, but clubs should pay close attention to how they communicate with supporters, example: replying to a troll.

Teams should speak about their beliefs and what is expected of them as a brand on social media. Athletes and those in charge of posting on behalf of a team’s account are held to the same standards. While leagues’ social media practices aren’t publicly available, setting certain “ground rules” is a good idea.

How do sports and social media look in the future?

Social media will continue to play a significant part in athletics, no matter how you slice it.

Teams can do all they can to keep the excitement and energy going on social media, particularly when teams return to the field and fans return to the stands. The pointers and best practices mentioned above will assist one in doing just that.

Overall, the sports industry’s relationship with social media is only in its early stages, but with emerging technology expanding the limits of what sport should be, now is the time to take opportunities when they arise.

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