Football clubs are used to being competitive. It is the definition of their purpose, to compete against their rivals for trophies, glory and trophies. As Premier League clubs embrace the digital age and the commercial and revenue opportunities which a significant social presence gives them, they are trying to be more creative with the way they engage with supporters on this new field of competition, where the target isn’t a rectangular frame with nets attached, but instead it is fan engagement.
Last night, Liverpool FC certainly took their best shot when they announced the signing of Mohamed Salah from AS Roma for a club record fee. In a 17 second video with only a wave emoji as description, a person can be seen scrolling through a twitter feed called “Announce Salah now” containing fan messages calling on the club to announce the deal. The camera then zooms out to show the person as being the player himself, who then says “Salah, Announced”. It is a playful joke with the club’s fanbase who have been anxiously calling on the team executives to complete what turned out to be protracted negotiations with the Serie A club.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 22, 2017
At the time of writing, the tweet had generated a massive response on social media. The video has had over 28k RTs and 37k likes on Twitter, and 26k reactions, 5k shares and 769k views on Facebook. On Instagram, which is the platform which clubs should concentrate more, as it generates significantly more engagement, an image of Salah in the Liverpool shirt has 351k likes to date, and that will continue to rise.
Liverpool’s media team are not the first team this summer to be clever in the way they announce a player, with Arsenal using a list of 10 former players manager Arsene Wenger had signed for the club, to spell out the name of their new signing Sead “Kolasinac”. While Arsenal fans would no doubt prefer the players used had been “Merson, Eduardo, Sanchez, Sylvinho and Iwobi”, it was nevertheless an innovative way to announce a new signing which produced a lot of positive engagement with their fanbase.
In our interview this week with Jeramie McPeek, the former VP of Digital & Brand Strategy for the Phoenix Suns and Social Media Quarterback for the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee, he stressed that the three aspects clubs need to focus on as part of their social strategy is to interact with their fans, produce innovative content and above all, entertain. Gone are the days when followers are satisfied with mere updates from their favourite team’s account, they want to be entertained and engaged, nay they demand it.
Liverpool and Arsenal in these signing announcement posts have shown as willingness to pay attention to all three of those aspects, we watch with baited breath to see what other Premier League clubs will do over the course of the summer to “outscore” their rivals in this battle for eyeballs and engagement. Liverpool have taken the lead for now, you can guarantee that the Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea social teams are planning their responses this morning.
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