I saw two turf-braking stories today about football clubs putting the social into soccer. The first was about Manchester United appointing an agency to design and build a digital platform to provide a social network for fans around the world. The club has identified a target of more than 500 million fans – more than double the number of registered twitter users – so why not have a network just for reds. FlickedIn anyone, InOfftheBlogPost, OnMeHeadBook perhaps?
The slight problem is United’s reputation for real engagement. The club has looked at Facebook and Twitter bans for its players more than once. What is United”s motivation? “Social network? I think they mean fan club or more accurately, sales database” quipped Nigel Sarbutts of BrandAlert.
Step up to the spot then Jaguares de Chiapas, a club in the Primera División de México. They’ve registered all of the players on twitter and they’ve added their twitter handles onto the back of the players shirts. In social media terms and as a PR story in general; “back of the net”.
It doesn’t always take big names or big budgets to reach your goal. Innovative ideas and real creativity have no substitute. As they say in the in the Estadio Victor Manuel Reyna in Chiapas “in football as in life, 140 characters are enough to decide which side you’re on”.