How England’s social media output creates optimism about the World Cup

England fans have had to wait a while to get involved with this World Cup. Watching on as Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Portugal and even Germany stumbled to varying degrees in their opening fixtures will have had some licking their lips. None more so than the players, surely.

On Monday, the wait is over, though. And England will face Tunisia hoping that they don’t go the same way as the other big favourites – even if few believe that the Three Lions can go all the way this year.

Perhaps that makes things easier.

Managing expectations is what England World Cup campaigns often seem to boil down to, and this time those hopes and dreams for the tournament don’t appear to go much further than ‘let’s play well on our way to a valiant exit in the quarter final.’ And as a result maybe that makes things easier when it comes to running England’s official social channels.

In fact, the mood around the camp appears to be some of the best in recent memory. Players look happy, we’re not hearing about the boredom and the box sets or the divide between the media and the team. This time, the players are being encouraged to get closer not just to the journalists but to the fans too, on social media.

The official channels have become a place for the team to almost create its own media coverage, complementing the big interviews we’ve seen in national newspapers or broadcasters with the likes of Danny Rose and Raheem Sterling.

The players seem more human, more personable, and that’s very much down to the FA’s media team – they’ve taken a team that the media traditionally like to scrutinise tear down and made them into a group of players that engender a feel-good factor. That might have something to do with the make-up of the team – the exciting young players, the pace and prowess in the squad – but it also has to do with the way they’re able to portray themselves.

Right from the off, with the buzz around the official squad announcement video, there’s been a sense of optimism about the team.

That’s not the only job the FA have had to do with their social media output, though.

Bringing players closer to the fans is one thing, but it works both ways. Bringing out the journeys of the fans who have come to Russia to cheer on the team is important, too – especially this year when fewer England fans than normal have made the four-yearly pilgrimage.

A fan blog is a clever way of doing that, and also provides a different kind of coverage – beyond social media and video content, this gives other fans the chance to take in written content, too. And for those not in Volgograd for the opening game, it gives a sense of the trip.

Then there’s a duty to fans at home, too. England’s build-up to the match isn’t complete without all the relevant info – time, place, TV channel and of course a hashtag.

For England fans, the World Cup has well and truly arrived.

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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