#dogstweetup – A quick review
Wanted to provide a quick review of the #dogstweetup event run as part of the weekend AFL round. The event was open to all interested in social media, and attracted a good mix of industry practitioners within sport and from a wider range of media, marketing and PR brands, as well as students and some fans of the club.
Bulldogs Mascot pre-game
Social media is now a large and well integrated part of the digital offering for AFL clubs, with teams averaging 16.8K Twitter followers and 76K Facebook followers. We’ve see a large amount of growth in follower sizes for AFL clubs overall as well as large increases in the usage levels of clubs, and significant changes in the approaches of clubs between participatory and promotional strategies (more on this coming). While popular, social media and networking provides unique challenges and operational issues, and as such has gained increasing attention at academic and industry conferences and workshops in the last 12 months.
The event kicked off with a pre-game social media and marketing panel session in the Arena View room at Etihad Stadium. A panel of three (Jonno Simpson, Ed Wyatt and Justine Bloom) gave some diverse insights around how they used social media in respective roles and organisations, with the session compared by Tom Nickson (WBFC). A few players also joined the panel to round out a good collection of insights. Following the panel, there was a chance for a catch up with panelists and take photos of or with the Bulldogs premiership cup. We then we headed down to the ground to form part of the guard of honour before taking our seats to watch the game.
Ive listed some of my notes and key messages from the day including cases, operational issues and philosophies around social media use :
- Some good case studies mentioned were the Portland Timbers (team – MLS) and Jared Dudley (athlete – NBA)
- Social media can be a challenge for organisations, teams and leagues – particularly when players are very active in their own use
- Working in social media can be a complex role – needing to communicate through a single channel for many aspects of an organsiation or brand
- Any client strategy needs to be led by an idea of how consumers use Social Media – this will often be case specific
- Being the first to release content is great, but being right is vital. As such, its important to take to time to check content or fact check prior to hitting send
- Key rule: If you wouldn’t say it in public, or wouldn’t want your grandmother to read it, don’t tweet it
- There are times where an issue/rumour will hit mainstream social media and become public before a official club or brand message is released. Where possible, organisations should still join the conversation
- Personality is important – let brands speak and have a fan friendly focus
- It wont always be ‘good times’ for a sport team – but if communication, credibility and trust building can still resonate from the club when its a bad time for the team (i.e. off field or on field issues), things are likely to be very good when times are better
- AFL sport media networks are manned heavily for Australian markets (majority of hours of the day). Not yet a 24 hour tool but a next frontier given a need for communicating with international audiences
- Social media is used as a service tool and has a customer service focus. Need for immediate communication and to go where fans are. In some cases, it’s a challenge to get organisations and staff to support an approach which goes beyond a website as point of contact
- Players have awareness of risks of social networking. Communicated they know the power of communication and regard it as equally powerful to spoken words in other media formats
- Players are not required or pressured to use Twitter. Generally, they gave examples of enjoying interaction with fans, which was 95% positive. Gave examples of using Twitter to differentiate themselves away from the ‘stereotypical’ AFL player
- The issue of monetising social media is an increasingly relevant issue (in all forums Ive heard this spoken on in the last 12 months). Many strategies may not make money in initial stages and ROI is not always financial – supports a view that social media/networking needs to be central in activating wider elements of a communications plan
 Credit here to @patdavis3, @mandsglossop, @meljwainwright, @AnneFed, @JGarant and @saskystewart whose tweets Ive gone back to in collating this