Bayern Munich’s use of Instagram Stories polls shows how useful it can be to clubs

The new Instagram Stories voting function is less than a month old, and as such, we’re still getting used to it.

When new functions arrive, it always takes a while to understand not just how to use them but also how they’re relevant to you. So far, we’ve seen the likes of Barcelona attempt to use polls to engage with their fanbase on Instagram, but not many have taken to the function like Bayern Munich have this weekend.

On Instagram stories, the idea for sports teams is to interact with Instagram in real-time, which is something they’ve never really been able to do before. Twitter is the platform which usually seems to be the most effective for producing real-time content given its immediacy and its status as the place to go for breaking news. If you want to know your team’s latest score, head to their Twitter account.

But what’s interesting about this is the possibility that these polls represent the start of Instagram’s strategy to allow its creators the possibility of real-time engagement with their fans.

Unlike on Twitter, part of what makes Instagram stories unsuited to such engagement is the passive nature of the content. As a fan, they can be immersive, informative and entertaining – but there’s very little you can do to interact. On Twitter you can comment, share with your followers and friends or even add your own comments to the world with the quote retweet function.

The poll function – as illustrated brilliantly by Bayern’s social media team – adds a new dimension to stories allowing fans to feel involved and, in this case, literally direct the content themselves. Indeed, the reason that Bayern’s attempt this weekend was so interesting is because of what it could mean for teams in the future, and why Instagram polls could become so important.

For one thing, Instagram is the fastest-growing social media platform for football clubs. Recently, Nielsen found that it was the platform where starting lineup graphics gained the most traction, even though Twitter would seem like the most appropriate platform for a piece of content with such a short shelf-life (of only about an hour before kick-off). Cracking Instagram is clearly key for clubs in the near future, and having a way to actively interact with fans in stories is incredibly useful on this front.

But another one is just how immersive the feature can be, even though fans are only seeing images and videos on their smartphones.

The idea is that most of those watching won’t actually have made it to the game. This is something that many clubs are having to deal with more and more: for the biggest clubs in particular, fans come from much further afield than the confines of your own city limits. As such, presenting with coverage of the game isn’t enough by itself. You have to capture the imagination and sense of romanticism that most foreign fans feel when they follow their team. So taking them behind the scenes at a big home game and into the changing rooms at the end, even going as far as to allow fans to vote on whether or not they’d prefer beer or an energy drink or mayonnaise or ketchup on their chips allows fans to feel much closer to the stadium they probably wish they were sitting in.

So far, of course, the function is very new. But it will be interesting to see how Bayern build on it over the coming weeks, and how others use polls on the platform, too. But perhaps most interesting is how this could change the sort of content fans want during a matchday.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 831 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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