Social media is a tremendous force for reaching the masses, with more than 3.6B users and a predicted audience of ~4.5B by 2025. When used properly, social media in sports marketing can be quite beneficial. Your ability to target a specific audience has never been better.
Sports marketing is the process of creating and promoting your brand through sports or fitness-related content. It involves more than athlete-endorsed items and uses the star power of the sports industry to boost sales. Fitness and wellness brands, sports teams, and franchises are also included.
Including sports social media in your marketing plan is the most effective way to communicate with current and new fans, since 52 percent of sports enthusiasts use their smart devices to check platforms while they’re watching an event. Aside from that, the average user spends more than two hours every day on social media. Here are some trends worth watching:
More and more sports fans are turning to Amazon Prime, YouTube TV, Hulu, and ESPN+ to watch their favorite events. Twitter and Facebook, for example, have partnered with sports organizations to provide even greater access. Since fans are more engaged on social media than ever before, grab their attention with real-time material and updates.
Live tweets are a popular tool for broadcasters, teams, and fans to interact with their audience. If you can’t watch the game live, you can follow it on Twitter. Many sports groups even broadcast the event with a live feed of popular tweets. Providing this information to update-hungry followers is a great way to boost your brand. If you’re new to Twitter, follow your favorite athlete or broadcaster for ideas.
Here are some ways to make the most of real-time updates:
- Provide live content for events other than games — press conferences, drafts, and weigh-ins that are often just as popular with fans.
- Create punchy and unique hashtags.
- Incorporate polls, Q&As, and giveaways to increase engagement.
Providing a real-time experience keeps fans in the action, especially when many can’t attend their favorite live events.
Developing story-style content about favorite athletes behind the scenes is something fans never seem to tire of Instagram and Facebook do a great job of creating a community-wide experience that feels intimate with an unscripted, uncut style. If viewers don’t click, they’ll miss out on the action.
Stories attract a lot of interest because of their transient nature. They also provide accessible, personal insight into the lives of fans’ favorite personalities. Depending on your sports brand, use stories to:
- Spotlight your team’s off-the-field activity.
- Document a day-in-the-life of one athlete.
- Showcase new items, content shoots, and more to your audience.
- Share content from sponsored athletes, and even fans.
Audiences love learning what makes athletes tick when they’re not competing—from their favorite protein shake to walking the dog. The possibilities are truly unlimited!
Athletes have a long tradition of giving back to their communities and social media is a great way to keep your fans aware of the good work they and your organization are doing. Athletes can use their status in the community to help those in need on a national and local level.
Using social media to promote charitable events is more than virtuous soapboxing. It encourages your audience and other athletes to engage and participate and connects your brand and values to the cause.
Though growingly popular beforehand, eSports exploded with the 2020 halt of live sports during the pandemic. This competitive video gaming has drawn fans of all kinds and many businesses are recognizing and investing in its popularity with sponsorships. Capitalize on eSports with real-time side-by-side commentary and post-competition video to engage with your fans.
Staying relevant social media can be difficult, but you can make it fun. Connecting with your audience through humor is one of the most effective ways to engage, and memes are popular since they provide a shared experience. With trending memes, challenges, and aesthetics on your social media feeds fans are sure to become a member of your community. Experiment with platforms like TikTok, too, to share your spin on the latest dance or stunt with a branded comedy and voice to go viral.
Keeping it real
Authentic content on social media is in increasing demand. Viewers want to hear directly from players, watch behind-the-scenes footage, and interact with others in real time. Harnessing your organization’s human element in your sports marketing initiatives can help establish brand loyalty and boost sales.