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Football Stole the Social Media Cup

Football Stole the Social Media Cup

Football (Soccer) is stealing the global stage when it comes to social media Forbes magazine pronounced this week, Real Madrid CF knocking previous chart-toppers Man Utd off their perch, and Barcelona running in third. On the right of the image below the teams were ranked in order of franchise value and then their combined Facebook and Twitter following. To the left, the size of the bubbles represents their social following. We thought we would dig a little deeper into Real Madrid’s social media strategy.

Social Media and Sport #DigiSport #SMSport

Real Madrid is one of the most recognisable brands in sport, due to their keen embrace of new technologies and communications to increase their profitability. While many UK clubs are just starting to ride the social media wave, see previous article The Future Of Social Media In Sport, Real Madrid have been utilising it for a while now. Since its launch the clubs Facebook page has been a massive success, building up a huge following with over 39m current ‘likes’. The page may have been started as a way for Madrid to test fan interaction, but, it has also developed into a powerful tool to direct traffic to However, Madrid’s strategy focuses on more than just Facebook.

Madrid clearly understands the importance of engagement and providing fans with great content, for one of the player´s birthdays the club produced special video content dedicated to the player itself and alongside this, they ran a 24-hour jersey sale. Social media has also opened up additional ways for Madrid to activate their partnerships with sponsors as now they have the opportunity not only to be in the stadium, on the shirts, and on the website, they can also have their messages pushed across the clubs social media channels. It has also been suggested that some partners value mentions and space on the clubs Facebook and Twitter pages above advertising on the website.

It is resoundingly clear that social media plays a very important part in keeping Madrid in the top position for franchise value, don’t you agree?

Have a Break, Have No-WiFi

Free WiFi is available everywhere. It’s available in bars, restaurants, trains, tubes, airports, supermarkets and even at Mount Everest – here in the digital team we do not see this as a bad thing. However, it does mean that people are constantly online.

Kit Kat saw this as an opportunity to give people a break. Instead of offering Free WiFi like every other brand, they created a Free No-WiFi Zone.

Have a Break, Have No-WiFi

A big sign with a small WiFi jammer that blocked all the signals within a five-meter radius. So people could escape e-mails, updates, tags and even likes. Encouraging people to read a good old newspaper, a real book or have a genuine conversation. Whilst eating a Kit Kat.

Their stunt started a conversation about the need for places where people can disconnect, which was just the sort of attention they were looking for.

Do you think there is a need for places where people can disconnect? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Share a Coke

For the first time ever, Coca-Cola has altered the script on 500ml and 375ml bottles to read the names of customers – and we love the idea at PHA Digital!

Coined as The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, shelves across the country have been stocked with 150 of the most popular names, from Aaron to Zoe – it’s intention to capture the nation’s imagination this summer and drive growth for retailers.

Starbucks launched a similar campaign last year and awarded customers with personalised name inscriptions, but did you ever find yourself unwittingly annoyed at the misspelling of your name?

Yeah, us too.

Coke have overcome this hitch by giving customers whose names are not available on the pack, the chance to create their own virtual can online.

Be sure to Tweet us pictures of your personalised bottle and in the meantime, Happy Sharing.

Share coke

Cover image courtesy of Mike Mozart,

The Future of Social Media in Sport

Last week, Saracens Rugby Club launched Wi-Fi throughout the entirety of Allianz Park. Reportedly the first sports club in Europe to attempt to encourage real-time user-generated content (UGC) that could add value to the match-day experience.

The clubs goal was to communicate that they now have a permanent home in London, whilst also creating a fan-based social media buzz around the game. Saracens promoted a selection of hashtags throughout the match-day programme, across their own social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) and featured them on 2 display screens.

They had recognised that one of the biggest requirements to improve the match day experience was information, such as; player statistics, team statistics, etc. To try and combat this, the live game commentary was fed through Twitter along with all major incidences and occasional sports stats. The real-time trial received tremendously positive feedback, the clubs twitter reach increased by 45%, in-game messaging increased by 20%, and picture-based content soared to a staggering 67%.

Times are changing. As sport becomes more tightly integrated with technologies more pressure is put on clubs to find more innovative ways to engage fans and enhance live sporting experiences. Edward Griffiths, CEO of Saracens commented on the new initiative, “not every rugby supporter will appreciate ‘second screen’ activity, but we are pushing the boundaries… and our fans are having fun.” For Saracens this is only the beginning, they will be further looking to drive additional revenue to the bars and restaurants through effective community management.

With the future of social media in sport in mind, here are 5 trends to watch out for:

BRAND MARKETING – Currently most clubs use social media for brand marketing, for example; tickets, merchandise and adverts. Similar to Saracens, most clubs will start focusing on the match-day experience – the statistics, the atmosphere, the music, the pre-match rituals, etc. Instead of telling the fans what they should aspire to want, marketers will start absorbing the emotions and stories fans experience throughout the game.

SOCIAL MEDIA HUBS – European clubs will start taking note of this brilliant invention on the other side of the pond. Social media hubs are allocated areas within the stadium on match-day where pre-selected fans (social media savvy and influential in the digital space) can take control of the clubs social media presence. Simple yet effective, as who knows what the fans want better than the fans themselves?

TWITTER PARTIES – American clubs recognise how powerful and influential their socially active fans can be and one way of rewarding them is a “Fan Night” in which fans are invited to go to the stadium to meet their fellow tweeters and put faces to twitter handles. An excellent way to bring clubs most influential tweeters, Instagrammers and followers closer.

FAN-BASED CONTENT – Some Clubs have already started to include fans in their official content but we predict this to rise. Whether it is getting a fan to write a match report that features in the programme or create a YouTube interview with a player. Fan-based content is a whole lot more engaging.

PINTEREST – Pinterest seems to have been neglected at current but it is an obvious tool for clubs to use to promote their online shops. But boards can also be used as a platform for fans to share their favourite moments, quotes, etc.

Here in the PHA Digital team, we are excited to see the evolution of Social Media in Sport and how effective UK Sports Clubs are at utilizing their own Social Media Marketing Strategies.