BEST DIGITAL / SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM
Bristol City FC
We are a unique proposition as the Bristol City Football Club is part of a larger sporting group model all owned by the Lansdown family (referred to as Bristol Sport). Our digital media strategy is part of the overall group’s strategy promoted by Jon Lansdown, Chairman of Bristol City FC.
Our tone of voice aims to be playful and engaging. It is guided by the following statement by Jon Lansdown: “We take what we do very seriously, but we must never take ourselves too seriously.”
As part of the larger sporting group, we work as a shared media resource which collaborates across Bristol Sport, Bristol Bears (rugby) men and women, Bristol Flyers (basketball), Bristol City men & women, Ashton Gate Stadium and each of our clubs’ respective community foundations. This enables us to amplify our coverage across multiple channels and engaged supporters.
Whilst impressions and unique views form part of the litmus tests for success, engagement is a key area that we consistently focus on. As the digital media team who first invented the Goal Gifs we have always had a deliberate focus on driving engagement with our fans and our sponsors.
Engage Digital Partners
Engage Digital Partners has continued to build a reputation for delivering fan engagement strategy and execution across content production, distribution and audience development and influencer marketing. We work in football with Australia’s A-League and W-League helping to re-write their digital strategy in 2019/20; with Real Madrid for whom we have created a fan engagement strategy and executed this on all social channels. We also work with Arsenal (now in their fourth season with EDP) to engage fans and fan clubs in India.
Our most ambitious work, also in India, has been with Chelsea FC who are striving to become the leading club in digital in India. We have brought them together with a Bollywood superstar who is also a genuine Chelsea fan. He is directly involved in content through a regular show, Out of the Blue and we have harnessed his social channels to enable CFC to appeal to the valuable entertainment audience. The results have been exceptional and Arjun Kapoor is becoming part of the Chelsea furniture and a real figurehead for the Indian market.
In a challenging period for football – and all industries – Everton brought its fanbase and community together through relevant and engaging content that aligned with the Club’s values of Family, Determination, Authenticity and Ambition.
Digital and Social played a vital part in the delivery of the Blue Family campaign, as Everton engaged with both existing and new audiences to provide health and wellbeing advice and connect fans around the world with their club – and one another.
This included collaborating with footballers, musicians, local authorities and staff across the Club to create content that was relevant, entertaining and informative.
Digital and Social played a significant part in raising thousands of pounds for the Blue Family campaign, which is supporting the most vulnerable people in our community during the pandemic.
Additionally, the teams had to react quickly to the major signing of Colombian superstar James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, developing a plan to capitalise on the global splash it would inevitably make, and turn it into an opportunity for international growth and engagement, particularly in the Club’s target markets of North and South America. This included the launch of a new Spanish-language Club website and Spanish-language social media accounts.
Leicester City FC
We launched our official TikTok channel in November 2019, and it has since gone on to become one of the most engaged social media accounts in world sport.
It has seen us interact with a new audience; a much younger generation of supporters that consume fast-paced, and most importantly, humorous content.
Ensuring that fan engagement is at the heart of our strategy, our approach on TikTok is much more contemporary than our other channels, and with it has produced viral content, and even created platform trends.
Our audience is not restricted to Leicester fans, and we regularly reply to opposition supporters, who we would previously never engage with, allowing us to further expand our reach.
A key age range of TikTok users is the mid-to-late teens, and this has helped us to connect with younger supporters all over the world who may not yet have chosen a club to support, ultimately providing us with the potential of gaining fans for life.
In late 2020, we analysed our current digital strategy, and have since developed a plan for the next three years that will focus on engaging with a younger demographic, with TikTok now at the very centre of that strategy.
Manchester United FC
In 2020 Manchester United’s social channels finished as most engaged across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and remain the biggest Premier League club with 190M followers. United remain #1 in China, having launched on Douyin and became the first sports club to pass 10M followers on Weibo in June. We launched on TikTok, and quickly became the most engaged club in the Premier League. We launched a new lifestyle channel ‘We Are United’, as we innovated on Social commerce, which sparked record Ecommerce results.
But beyond the big numbers, we’re most proud of how we tackled the pandemic head on, pivoting our social channels to CSR, charity and good will content, whilst football paused. Whilst other clubs went ‘dark’ and furloughed workers, we doubled down, donating prime Social Media real estate to our Foundation, and pushing good causes like Marcus Rashford’s School meals and the NHS. We used time with players to reach out to the most vulnerable, like the elderly and frontline key worker families, and created educational and wellbeing challenges and worksheets for kids in lockdown. Sure, the big numbers stand out, but the big smiles we brought to fan’s faces were our highlight of 2020.
Motherwell FC traditionally sits in the position of being one of Scotland’s “provincial” clubs. A £4m turnover business, it lies in the regional shadow of Celtic and Rangers, based 12 and 15 miles away respectively.
With 4,500 season ticket holders and engaged social media following of 120,000, the club communicates its mission statement – To improve people’s lives – through strong emotional storytelling of its values. In having a bigger purpose other than winning matches, it stands out as a club with an authentic and differentiated identity.
With just three staff members, the club has crafted a content strategy that enjoys some of the highest engagement per head in world football. Through innovations such as access to the dressing room, interviews on the pitch at full-time and the monthly Inside Motherwell documentary series, together with important work in the areas of suicide prevention and child poverty, the club stands out with a strong identity.
Surpassing its engagement and follower targets in 2020, the digital team also won acclaim for their documentary charting the recovery from injury of David Turnbull, showcasing his physical and mental rehabilitation before eventually winning back his move to Celtic for a club-record fee.