Sporf’s Nick Speakman on the state of social media ahead of SportsPro’s TBC

Later this month, SportsPro’s The Brand Conference will take place at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, and as always, this will be an event to bring together a host of influential and insightful members of the sports industry’s leading organisations.

Every year, we see countless examples of change within the sector and its many different areas – live-streaming and OTT services taking over rights to show premium live sports content, virtual reality making its way towards the mainstream or game changing brand engagements.

This year, one of the most significant topics in the landscape has been social media. It’s not new – though on the whole still clearly very young compared to other industries – nor is it particularly misunderstood. But in the wake of trust erosion, privacy regulations and the maturing nature of how people use online social platforms, there are surely changes afoot.

At TBC this year, the founder of Sporf Nick Speakman will be imparting his wisdom on the subject, and recently he spoke to SportsPro’s Nick Friend about the rise of his company from a Twitter parody account to a trusted tool to reach sports fans en masse.

Over the last six years, Sporf has transformed itself. “We are seen as being more complete – helping to produce, create, collaborate, edit, distribute, report back,” says Speakman. “We have gone from being the final part of the conveyor belt where a brand has created content, shot it, edited it and we were then the final part.”

“Now, we are at the front of the conveyor belt – we can ask people what they want to create and then we can actually help them do that. I think the fact that we can do all of this six years on shows the speed with which the social media industry has grown in itself.”

The speed that it’s grown means it can change just as quickly.

Though we may now be in the consolidation part of the journey, where the growth curve is plateauing, we’re also seeing sports teams, leagues and athletes understand the changing nature of social media. Football clubs and governing bodies like the FA are beginning to use the platform to its fullest and where once these organisations saw Twitter and Facebook as a means to post press releases and share news, they’re now seeing it as a way to engage properly with fans. That also applies to athletes – like Jack Wilshere who teamed up with Sporf and William Hill for a social media takeover during the World Cup.

Such use cases are becoming more and more common, the link between brands, influencers and sports personalities or organisations is becoming stronger and stronger. But that might only mean that change happens even faster as new platforms or trends emerge to facilitate this type of content even further.

“The most interesting part of the next stage is to see which platforms ‘survive’,” Speakman told SportsPro, pointing to the successes that Facebook and Twitter have enjoyed in the past, but also the criticisms they have endured recently as well as the unforeseen challenges they’re likely to face in the future given the rapidly-changing nature of social media.

“Because of this, it will be interesting to see which platforms ‘survive’ amid the rise of any new social media platforms that come to surface in the coming years. As mentioned before, the beauty of social media is that it’s so adaptive and ever-changing. So who knows whether the likes of Facebook and Instagram will be overtaken by a new emerging platform? I always strongly recommend that all social media brands are responsive and adaptive because there is so much potential for unpredictability.”

Sporf’s continued growth shows that the channel understands these changes and will always attempt to adapt to them – whereas not adapting quickly enough may well have been one reason why some sports as well as other industries or sectors are experiencing difficulties catching up.

Join over 350 senior executives at The Brand Conference in September! With delegates from Allianz, Manchester United, Michelin, Roc Nation, National Football League (NFL), Subway, Twitter, Monster Energy & many more already signed up to attend.

This is the only event where you can connect with rights holders and brands to discuss all things social, marketing and sponsorship in sport.

Download the agenda here: http://www.sportsprotbc.com/download/agenda

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 799 posts

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

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