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  • Julian Jackson

Are you really taking advantage of Social Media?

Many sports rights holders are extensively using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Twitch to engage with their fans, but are they really getting the full engagement benefits that social media can bring to the sports industry?

By Julian Jackson, Founding partner ResultX Asia. 16th August 2021

When you ask most sports organisations how they engage with their fans, most will reply in the affirmative that they use usual social media platforms to reach out to their supporters. However, most will not be making any significant revenues from such interactions and are not reaching as many of those fans that they think they are.

One of the main reasons that they are not reaching as many people as they think, is because of the algorithms that Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and Twitch use. All of these companies are businesses with shareholders and so have to make money from your content in order for them to thrive.

To supplement their already huge revenues, it is in their interests to encourage you to buy advertising packages to boost your content posts to reach as many people as possible. This means that, despite an organisation boasting that they have many millions of fans across all social media, the amount of fans out of that number that actually see your content can be a small fraction, as little as 1.9%, if there is little to no engagement with those posts.

The Great Wall of Social Media

To really reach the majority of your followers you will need to pay in order to "boost" your content posts, as this is where the platforms make a sizeable portion of their revenues - it is within their interests to hold back how many of your followers get to see your posts.

How do you combat that? Obviously, the 1st step is to make interesting content that will get shared, make sure you post regularly and also be communicative, i.e. talk to people, comment on their posts, reply in DM, and so on. This will ensure that you get a higher percentage of fans seeing your posts but that still wont get it in front of ALL your fans.

There are now ways to really engage with you fans in more interactive ways, that previously, were not available to sports organisations. The technology now exists that is easily available, proven and more importantly, cost effective that allows you to reach out to ALL of your fans with your content - and do it all on your own platform.

A number of new companies have sprung up all across the globe, such as Agora, Monterosa, LiveLike and Fanisko that allow you to host LIVE REAL TIME engagements with your fans all on your own app or website. Live Watch Parties, exclusive Talk Shows, Fan walls, Augmented Reality features and Social VIP subscription experiences can all be hosted on your own web and app platforms as opposed to doing it all on 3rd party social media.

Now, many reading this will be saying, why go to the expense and hassle of doing it on my platform when the Social media Infrastructure already exists and the only costs associated with it is the cost of producing the content and maybe the cost of boosting that content?

The reason that I write this, is because in my career it has always been about generating revenue and whilst the current system of social media is great for engagement, (or at least in reduced numbers) it has not been a great revenue source, as the revenue has, in the main, stayed with the 3rd party platforms whose shareholders have benefitted from the spoils of your content

Undertaking social engagement on your own platform now allows you take advantage of the revenues generated directly from social commerce. This form of commerce which is undertaken on social media in the form of product discovery has proven to be much more lucrative for sports brands as it has much higher conversion rates than usual e-commerce (5% as opposed to 2%). You are also not restricted to the commercial rules imposed by the 3rd Party Social Media platforms who like to control what you can and can't do with your own sponsors and advertisers.

The exciting part is that you can get the feedback and views of your fans directly in Real Time, using video or audio (e.g. Clubhouse style communities), interactions and offer exclusive video/audio chat rooms and interactive talk shows with your sports influencers be it players, coaches and other fans.

You are also free to take advantage of content tipping which has exploded in the last couple of years, driven by Gen Z and millennials who don't necessarily want to pay for content but are more than happy to tip content creators if they enjoy their content. If this happens on your own platform you can take a slice of the tips that, previously, was the realm of the 3rd party platforms.

With all of the content that you produce able to be seen by every one of your fans, who visit your platform, it means that it is directly monetisable without having to use a 3rd party platform. You then use the current Social Media Platforms purely as a promotion vehicle for your own content on your own platform rather than the destination.

Facebook et al have had it all their own way up until this point and now is the time to take back control and the monetisation of your own content.

To read more articles on Monetising your Fans through Digital engagement click HERE

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