Man City aren’t the only Manchester club leading the way in using players’ off-field skills

Last week, we talked about Manchester City and how allowing the injured Benjamin Mendy to create videos for the official Instagram account during last week’s home game against Stoke City was an impressive and innovative use of an injured player.

When you think about it, injured players are still part of the team, and their job is still to work for the club: if they’re naturally engaging on social media, then, why not harness that from time to time?

Whilst this may look like further evidence of the fact that sportspeople have somehow become content creators in their own right, it should probably be pointed out that Mendy is a particularly engaging footballer on social media. Like people in every walk of life, some just seem born with the gift of great social media skills, others not so much.

Yet there’s more than one way to allow your players to engage with the fans. Admittedly, it would likely be a bad idea to force it too much, but some athletes want to do things outside of the sports they play, and Mendy’s activity on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat shows that.

But he’s not the only one.

Perhaps the instantaneous nature of social media, and the fact that it’s more likely for an image or a short video to go viral than anything else, means that Juan Mata’s weekly blog isn’t given the same sort of coverage as Mendy’s Instagram videos. But Manchester United are, in their own way, making the most of their player’s off-the-field skills, too.

The Spanish international is known for being an articulate player. His blog is always thoughtful and well-written. It is often insightful, too, though Mata – given the fact he is a key player for one of the world’s top clubs – can’t really go into too much tactical detail about recent games, understandably. He has also launched the Common Goal initiative recently, too, attempting to enlist fellow professionals to give 1% of their salaries to charities every month.

Mata certainly hits the headlines, then, and his blog is presumably very well-read indeed. But when thinking about the ways in which clubs can use their players’ skills away from football in order to engage with fans, this is another authentic way of doing things, and is certainly in the same bracket as Mendy’s Instagram takeover: both players are adored by their fans, and both would be creating the same sorts of online content even if their clubs didn’t get involved to promote it.

It just makes sense for clubs to direct their fans towards it.

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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