Mon | Nov 18, 2019

Dalton Myers | Social media is serious business

Published:Saturday | October 19, 2019 | 12:21 AM

Accounting firm KPMG has published its latest statistical analysis on football, this time focusing on the use and impact of social media on football globally. The group KPMG Football Benchmark Social Media Analytics tool helps to highlight what it considers as “value of social media in the business, of football” and gives some key statistics on how clubs and football organisations use various platforms to their benefit.

The research may have been based on the premise that football is a very competitive and lucrative business where each stakeholder tries to find ways to gain a competitive edge, with increased sales and profit being the bottom line. One of the key points of the report is that football, like any other top sport, recognises that there is value in moving towards “an entertainment company model” which ensures that the fans are captivated by the entertainment value of the brand on display, whether it is a professional team like Liverpool and/or the Premier League competition itself. The entertainment model of sport targets fans from all ages, race and so on, but at all times tries to use sponsorship and brand activations to get new consumers and fans.

The KPMG report argues that “Football is leading the way in building worldwide audiences”. It analyses the use of social media by 1,000 clubs, leagues and sporting competitions. The primary social media platforms were Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. A main discussion surrounded the importance of social media for these clubs and players in increasing brand awareness, fan exposure and increased following. If we look at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, you would have noticed some innovative use of social media platforms not just to give information, but to add to the entertainment package.

Globally, social media is a huge marketing tool which is used to generate income or target particular audiences. In Jamaica, we have struggled to use social media for similar effect. Yes, I know the argument is that the realities here differ from Europe; and while that may be true for Jamaica, there are other research studies which show the impact of social media, especially the top four platforms. Locally, though, we have not sought to maximise the usage of social media or limit the usage, which reduces that entertainment effect that could be used to get new clients and new fans, while generating direct or residual revenue.

If we look at the four main local governing sporting bodies, football, netball, cricket, and athletics, it shows that we are far behind in the usage of social media when compared to international norms. There are steps by some to improve, but I suspect we have a far way to go. The average Jamaican sports fan does not use the official social media handles for their entertainment value and often times cannot get updated information either.

JFF SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY

So far, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) leads the way with usage of social media in terms of posts, response and general activity. They also have 37,300 followers on Instagram, 93,216 pages likes on Facebook and 16,500 followers on Twitter. Next would be Netball Jamaica with 5,138 followers on Instagram, 11,144 likes on Facebook and 6,991 followers on Twitter. The Jamaica Cricket Association falls behind while the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association is woefully short. I am not suggesting that any of these organisations do not value social media and may not have attempted to use it to increase followers. In fact, some have made effort to do some improvements. However, without the effective use of social media, the sporting bodies may not be able to have a creative presence, increase followers or help to increase exposure for sponsors.

With technology, many of us have become very addicted to our smartphones, apps and just in general, social media, and this should be a bigger reason for increased usage of social media to push the entertainment value of sport locally. I can well imagine several persons indicating that there are social, cultural, and financial issues that make our reality different from others. There may be barriers such as human resources and capital to inject in such investments. I get that, but the problem is that without this kind of investment, we will lag much further behind and continue struggle to generate any income from the already lucrative sporting industry.

Dalton Myers is a sports consultant and host of The Drive Phase Podcast. Email feedback to daltonsmyers@gmail.com or tweet @daltonsmyers