Social Media lessons from a big sporting weekend

While casting an eye over the tweets from official accounts during the weekend’s biggest sporting action, I found myself remembering a recent post from FIFA’s Alex Stone.

Accompanying an image of two tweets from major social media accounts – both of which had received over 600 comments at the time of the screengrab – was a thought: “No photo. No illustration. No video. Lots of interaction.”

That would go against lots of received wisdom about what we’re told works well on social media: images and videos are supposed generate the most engagement because they attract people’s attention, that’s become established as best practice.

But the tweets in question posed their own questions: open-ended questions to which fans will have their own personal answers. And it works

It mightn’t be the most sophisticated tactic in the world, but it turns out fans love expressing opinions about sport on Twitter – who knew?

So at the end of last night’s Super Bowl, the NFL’s UK based Twitter account took a similar approach when asking its fans who they felt should have been the game’s Most Valuable Player.

The results were similar, though not quite the same:

From an engagement standpoint, it was successful. NFL UK (176k followers) has a much smaller platform on Twitter than the FIFA World Cup (7m followers) or even TalkSport (1m followers), but the sentiment wasn’t quite as positive.

A UK audience had to stay up late to watch the New England Patriots emerge victorious again and earn Tom Brady his sixth Super Bowl Ring, but after a stunning season with bags of action – and after recent Super Bowl matches that have been decided in dramatic fashion – this one was something of a damp squib.

Still, it garnered comments.

As did this Monday’s tweet from the UEFA Champions League, asking fans to pick their ideal five-a-side team from the players left in the tournament which resumes again this month. In this case, there is an image, but the content is similar.

It’s another tweet in which the official account is asking fans for their opinions, asking them to contribute. In fairness, this is a tactic the Champions League use to great effect from time to time all throughout the year, but it’s one that always seems to get results.

If your ultimate aim is to get someone to interact with you, the simplest way of doing that is to ask them a question. On social media, it appears things work the same way.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 775 posts

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

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