|How Everton have stepped it up to engage fans|
Wednesday, 02 November 2016 11:38
A whopping 150 million tweets were posted during the 2012 Olympics. When Leicester City won the Premier League in remarkable fashion earlier this year, over 5.5 million tweets were sent. Manchester United have recently announced that they are the most followed Premier League club on all social media platforms, with over 106 million followers across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Weibo. These statistics are just some that show the massive volume of sports fans taking to social media and the engagement and monetisation opportunity this poses for sports brands and clubs.
Everton Football Club in particular, listened to fans’ input when they launched their new website and digital approach, with a new look and an enriched and more engaging functionality. As part of the research phase, they took the time to take fans and stakeholders’ feedback on board to drive their new approach, which has been met with roaring success thus far.
Everton’s goal was to build fan engagement and customer loyalty on their website and apps, as well as within the stadium at Goodison Park. Their digital overhaul started in 2014 and a part of this process has been to interact with fans in forward-thinking ways. A prime example of their approach is through personalising their interactions with their fanbase to make them meaningful.
Richard Kenyon, Director of Marketing and Communications at Everton believes this personal communication sets the club apart and helps them both attract new fans as well as engage with their current fans in an inclusive way.
“We look at engaging on a personal level, making it meaningful. It is very much club to individual, rather than mass messaging,” says Kenyon.
One of the ways Everton is doing this is through their utilisation of social search and display platform Tagboard, in order to meet their engagement goals.
Tagboard collect, curate and display posts categorised under specific hashtags in real-time, while also allowing safe social moderation which ensures that no unwanted posts are displayed. Everton in specific, use Tagboard to display fans’ social media posts categorised under a specific hashtag, on massive screens in the stadium in real-time - which enriches fans’ interactions with the club.
Tagboard CEO Josh Decker believes the reason for this enriched experience is because of the unique bond built between the club and the fans and stresses the importance of building that community.
“If you build a stronger community, it increases the value and experience for every person in that community, and also increases customer loyalty,” said Decker. “Fans are then also more likely to want to make more purchases as well as invite other people to join the community.”
Everton’s targets of increasing customer loyalty ties in with Tagboard’s ability to create conversations and build strong fan communities by posting fans’ posts up on big screens while they’re enjoying games - and creating a memorable and personable experience.
“We're empowering teams to create joy with their fans. Regardless of the outcome of the game, fans will remember that personal reward. I have been to a hundred different installations around the world and every time I walk into a stadium with Tagboard, it's a unique experience. It's customised. It's crafted to that team, to that brand, to that community,” added Decker.
Everton’s capitalisation on digital to engage with fans on a personal level has been successful and other sports clubs and brands are also adopting the model. In this fast-changing business of fan engagement, however, it is vital to stay ahead of the curve.