West Ham’s slick transfer announcement is a lesson to others

It’s been a great few days for West Ham fans.

Yesterday’s signing of Issa Diop added a solid defender to the ranks – something that they’ve needed for quite a while. Today, Lukasz Fabianski has been added to the squad and brings a wealth of Premier League experience to a position the Hammers found to be a problem one last season.

The difficulty for the East London club over the last few years has been managing their fans’ expectations. Because of the move to the Olympic Stadium, and the promises of success that such a switch brings, Irons fans have been thoroughly disappointed with their lot. Now, even with Manuel Pellegrini at the helm, the club is having to tread a fine line on social media: needing to engage and energise their passionate fans whilst also being aware of the depth of feeling.

The announcement of Fabianski, then, showed that they’re getting it right.

A seemingly quick and easy transfer was complemented by a quick and easy looking announcement. Naturally, there will have been a lot of work behind the scenes that we don’t see, but the result was a slick morning of Twitter posts which gave fans everything they needed and wanted from this news.

Like all transfer announcements these days, it started with a video.

The Hammers played on the World Cup theme with a sticker book style video, adding the Polish Goalkeeper to the West Ham page – with other fan-favourites like Mark Noble in attendance, too.

When it comes to announcing transfers now, clubs seem to have the template down pretty well. It’s not enough just to post a video and have done with it. Sometimes videos are cryptic or maybe they’re too long. In other cases, people just don’t watch. The job of the official account isn’t to provide ‘video content’ or ‘image content’ it’s to inform fans of the news. And if some don’t watch videos, then a graphic with all the relevant information is necessary.

Again – nailed it. As well as the #WelcomeFabianski hashtag, which is a modern necessity, too….

Last year, on the Digital Sport Insider podcast, Amar Singh – West Ham’s head of content and presumably one of the people behind the announcement – told Dan McLaren that, “Sometimes what might seem like a fairly dreary story will be the most read, because fans will come to you for information first and foremost.”

In order to ensure that the right information was presented to the fans (or indeed to any interested parties), West Ham had an article on the site, too. It’s standard practice these days to create these three things: a video, an image and a written article. But in terms of a case study for a club who got it right, look no further than this from the Hammers.

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 810 posts

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

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