There can be no doubt that the emergence of social media has completely changed the way we communicate in recent years, with the sheer speed of its wildfire-like spread forcing society to bend to its will! Like many phenomenons from the late 20th and early 21st centuries, social media has been vital in terms of achieving goals that were previously unimaginable – a genuine social and cultural revolution that has embedded itself in our day-to-day lives.
The world of sport is, of course, not immune to this paradigm and, what’s more, this sector enjoys a key differential: passion. Though difficult to measure, there’s no doubt this intangible value is a game-changing advantage when it comes to helping clubs or sportsmen & women reach out to their fans. Yet though social media is currently the quickest way of getting ‘from A to B’, every journey is – metaphorically speaking – not without its risks.
In terms of sponsorship, social media has become an ideal shop window for all kinds of brands, with data available to prove it. Indeed, according to a study by the company Millward Brown, 88% of those watching sports on TV are simultaneously connected to social channels, with 64% of those watching sport in person doing the same. What is more, a study by Forbes states that 85% of users have more trust in posts made by ‘influencers’than in content in the form of traditional adverts.
Meanwhile, my own experiences during nearly a decade as Director of Communications at a Movistar Ínter Fútbol Sala lead me to the unshakeable conclusion that, everyone’s media impact will be greater if all involved use the tools at their disposal correctly – and in a coordinated way. A solid social media strategy can prove decisive in key areas that shape the present and the future of those involved in sports – be they individuals, clubs or federations. Brand-strengthening, return on sponsors’ investment, or vital feedback gained from a two-way ‘conversation’ with your fans are just some of the positives that can be achieved via a coordinated, well-managed online communication strategy.
It is key, therefore, for all sporting stakeholders to be able to count on personnel qualified enough to carry out this task correctly. In my opinion, this point deserves even greater emphasis in the case of sportsmen and women themselves, given the clear ‘duality’ that surrounds them. On the one hand, the way they interact with their fans has an important role to play in successful social-media synergy, though we must not overlook the fact that their real impact, to a major degree, depends on their sporting performance.
Given that we can now reach every corner of the world via a simple click of a button, there is no underestimating the importance of being well-advised when it comes to getting the optimum rewards from – while minimizing the risks of – your social media channels.