Facebook Friday – what retailers can learn from how football teams are using Facebook

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Football Clubs’ Fan Pages are some of the most popular on Facebook. The three football clubs here have over 50 million fans between them. Football clubs have embraced Facebook and Social Media as an important part of their marketing activity, if you sit and watch a live game on television more often than not you will see the phrase “Find us on Facebook” scrolling around the side of the pitch on the interactive advertising hoardings.

Facebook offers football fans all over the world the chance to keep up to date with their favourite football teams and just last month Facebook broadcast it’s first live football match with over 700 million potential viewers.

There is no doubt that Facebook plays a great part in Manchester United, FC Barcelona & Arsenal’s online marketing, but what can retailers learn? Here, we discuss that.

Football Club: FC Barcelona
Likes: Over 19,500,000
Page: facebook.com/fcbarcelona
When visiting FC Barcelona’s Facebook Page it is immediately obvious that Facebook is part of a much larger social media strategy with links to their YouTube, Twitter and forum visible on the first page you see. They encourage visitors to become a fan with the phrase “Click the ‘like’ button above and make Barca even bigger”, a good tactic to ensure all visitors become fans while hinting at the fact they are already the best supported club on Facebook with over 19.5 million likes.

Also on FC Barcelona’s page they publicise ticket sales, include an interactive catalogue of merchandise fans can buy and, most interestingly, they have created their own Facebook game. This is a great way to ensure fans keep coming back to the page.

Learnings:

  • FC Barcelona use their page well to inform fans of their other social media platforms including YouTube, Twitter and their own forum
  • By using a “like” image on their homepage they encourage every visitor to like the page
  • They have created their own Facebook game which will help to ensure visitors keep coming back, increase engagement, and spread word about their Facebook page

Football Club: Manchester United
Likes: Over 18,500,000
Page: facebook.com/manchesterunited
Manchester United’s Facebook Page immediately engages fans by offering them the chance to “Sign for United!” By clicking through and “becoming the club’s latest Summer signing” you are then prompted to sign up to their emails – handing over your name, email address and country. This is a great way to gather data and could easily be done by a retailer in the form of their own members club.

Once into the page Manchester United have an option to “Spread the Word” which is a custom tab that asks users to invite their friends to become fans of the club on Facebook, as well as their own “like” button picture to encourage visitors to like the page.

Learnings:

  • Manchester United use their Facebook Page well to gather email data by encouraging visitors to “Sign for the club”
  • Like FC Barcelona they have a “like” image to encourage each visitor to like the page
  • Their “Spread the Word” tab encourages fans to invite their friends to become fans and is a great way to grow their Facebook likes

Football Club: Arsenal
Likes: Over 7,300,000
Page: facebook.com/Arsenal
Unlike FC Barcelona and Manchester United, when you log onto Arsenal’s Facebook Page you are greeted with their wall, set as default to display the latest posts by the page itself. The page posts frequently and posts are regularly getting over 1,000 comments which shows how well Arsenal are using their page to start discussions.

The Arsenal page does have a “Welcome” tab, but it’s not set to appear as default to new users. The tab itself is very good with links to all the players Facebook profiles as well as a link to sign up to their email newsletter but with it not being set as the default screen for new visitors a lot of fans are never going to see it. Like FC Barcelona, Arsenal have included a “Shop” tab to advertise their merchandise.

Learning:

  • Arsenal have concentrated on news & discussion with their Facebook page, posting 3 or 4 times a day and gaining over 1,000 comments regularly
  • The welcome page is great, but it needs to be set as the default visiting page otherwise it could be rather pointless
  • They’re using their players to grow the following too by encouraging fans to find the players pages too

Conclusion
Overall there are a lot of features on the football clubs’ Facebook Pages which can be taken straight onto a retailer’s Facebook Page:

  • Barcelona use the platform very well to promote their other social media offerings including Twitter, YouTube and their Forum
  • Both Manchester United and FC Barcelona use a “like” image to encourage visitors to become a fan of the page
  • FC Barcelona have created their own Facebook game which is a great way to encourage visitors to revisit the page, it may prove too costly for a small retailer however
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