Manchester City Football Club: Top of the social league
This article originally appeared in the Social Brands 100.
Panel Score: 84
Data Score: 132
Social Brand Score: 216
- Top Ten brands overall on Twitter, YouTube and Foursquare.
- Top Five for community engagement with brand content on Facebook.
Facebook may have brands thinking about fans like never before, but they have always been the lifeblood of football clubs. With devotees around the globe, engaging through social media has been an opportunity for some quick wins for clubs in the Premier League.
The nature of professional sports is such that there’s an obvious link between new fan uptake and success on the pitch, so Manchester City Football Club has seen numbers grow as it has risen through the league table this year, becoming Premier League champions for the first time in 44 years.
The social media team’s objective is to engage with new fans and give them even more reasons to stay loyal. “Because it’s football, it’s tribal and passionate,” says Manchester City’s Chris Nield. “We need to be like a mate to our fans – there to listen and help.”
The Club relaunched its website in July 2010 with social media fully integrated into the site. It has continued to improve functionality since then and developed a variety of content, hosting live chats on Twitter with the players, livestreaming training sessions, creating videos for its YouTube channel, and displaying moderated tweets on the big screen before and after games. “We’ve also got profiles up and running on Instagram and Pinterest,” says Nield. “We do different things on these niche platforms and won’t expect big numbers but it’s good to be there getting to know a really interested and educated fanbase.”
This summer Manchester City will be getting involved with the festival circuit, releasing an app that celebrates the city’s musical heritage. Users can download tracks by local bands, remix them, and share with friends. “This will give fans something to engage with while they wait for the new football season to start,” says Nield.
Further afield, Nield will be working with micro-blogging site Weibo for the first time, as the team starts a pre-season tour in China – a good reminder about the distinctive nature of social media in some countries.
Its approach to social media has enabled Manchester City to deepen its relationship with die-hard supporters, connect with a diverse base of new fans, and most important, to lay the groundwork to retain them for the future.