Attention Sports Fans: “Like” Us
When it comes to crowd input nobody gets it the way sports franchises do. In fact, although most people assume they are professional athletes (which is true) they are also professional relationship marketers. How else do you explain the fan devotion being experienced by the Indianapolis Colts in spite of the fact they haven’t won a game all year? And how else do you explain the millions of dollars in Chicago Cubs merchandise sold every year?
Sports franchises survive in spite of a losing record because of the devotion of their fans. They have devoted fans because they know how to build relationships. Lasting relationships. The same type of relationships that every social media marketer dreams of cultivating for their clients. These relationships transcend success because they are built on something more sincere; a belief that this devotion makes a difference and is appreciated.
Social media marketing is relationship marketing. The relationships you are trying to build need to be as strong as any relationship between a ‘Cheesehead’ and the Green Bay Packers. It needs to outlast the ups and downs of the daily grind; good publicity and bad and everything that goes along with being in business today.
Despite the fact you can almost count the number of American soccer fans on one hand, it is the most popular sport on social media. Soccer teams in Europe count their fans in the tens of millions, yet only one sports franchise in the United States has eclipsed that mark. The Los Angeles Lakers recently boasted that they had more than 11,000,000 social media fans. This is a great number here, but pales in comparison to a sport which has almost no domestic support. This can not be explained through social media marketing efforts alone, but how well you encourage involvement and how you cultivate relationships certainly has at least something to do with it.
Don’t be fooled by numbers. Having millions of social media fans does not always mean you are doing the right thing, it just means people are interested in what you are doing. The real key to effective social media marketing is not only building these relationships, but understanding how to leverage them to get what your client wants. For sports teams this is likely measured in the unwavering support they receive no matter how many games they win or lose. For your business (or business client) it is likely converting these fans into actual paying customers.
Are you going to win or lose?
The Boston Celtics may have 17 NBA titles and the Dallas Mavericks may be defending champions, but the Los Angeles Lakers rule all of American sports teams when it comes to social media.
According to Sports Fan Graph, Kobe Bryant and his teammates have 2,193,556 followers on Twitter and 11,014,083 friends on Facebook, for a total of 13,207,639 fans on social media. That makes the Lakers No. 1 in both the NBA and among North American sports franchises.
The Celtics are a distant second in the NBA with a total of 5,886,146 followers between Twitter and Facebook.
Also among those topping the Celtics is World Wrestling Entertainment (7,752,592).
Overall, though, soccer rules the world of social media. The top 3 franchises on the planet in these rankings are FC Barcelona (25,641,398), followed by Real Madrid (24,845,295) and Manchester United (20,634,250). Six of the top 10 spots belong to soccer franchises.
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