I believe that so many of our Scottish sports clubs and organisations are realising the power that social media, and specifically Twitter, could have when it comes to growing and regularly engaging with fans. Creating an identity, showcasing what their club is all about and, importantly for me, having a bit of a laugh now and again.
Unfortunately, cases are still prevalent of social media not being valued by clubs and unfortunately, these cases are being driven by the decision makers at those clubs.
Over the last seven days, Berwick Rangers have received a huge level of attention and media coverage. You’d probably have to go back to 1967 and their win against Rangers in the Scottish Cup to find a time when they were talked about so much. It’s all down to the middle Tweet of the three in the screenshot below.
Play-by-play match Tweets from Berwick’s account are usually lucky to get the two or three likes that the first and third Tweets on that screenshot have. The middle Tweet hit the jackpot and resonated with thousands of people who probably felt it encapsulated the current “wonderful madness” tag that Scottish football holds.
Amusing approaches to Twitter aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Unfortunately the decision makers at Berwick Rangers fall into that category. They clearly weren’t fans of the Tweet or the coverage it received, leading to this.
Obviously impressions aren’t everything on social but these two Tweets earned the club around 2 million of them. That’s huge for a club battling to stay in the SPFL this season. The engagement rates on both of the Tweets too are absolutely massive in comparison to the expected usual levels for Twitter too.
I initially thought the follow up last night was a joke, continuing to play on the entertaining tone of the account that’s actually been in place for longer than just the Tweet from Saturday.
Unfortunately it wasn’t. The volunteer helping the club out has actually been relieved of his duties and the last two big hitting Tweets have had to be uploaded as screenshots because they’ve actually been deleted.
Talking to your fans like they’d talk to each other goes a long way to building relationships with them, keeping them engaged even in the bad times like we can see in the last image there. I’m not saying that clubs need to act like Roma on Twitter all the time, but introducing an element of that could be of benefit. Berwick’s Twitter account has grown by around 4,000 followers in just over a year. That’s really good growth for a club that hasn’t had too much to shout about in that time. They’ve got the second largest following in League 2 across all social channels with a strong Instagram account and a regularly updated YouTube channel too. Those are things that could lead to attracting more sponsors to the club or being able to improve on any current deals in place.
I set out to try and do as much as possible to help as many clubs and organisations as possible, whether that’s sporadically writing pieces on this site, sharing good examples and best practice from elsewhere on Twitter or co-hosting the Scottish Football Marketing Podcast. Things like this happening is disappointing and makes you step back and realise that there’s still a long way to go for the message to really break through to everyone. What hope is there if leaders at the top of clubs don’t embrace and appreciate ways in which their club can grow.
There’s plenty of examples of this happening across the country already. Motherwell, Hibs and Hearts are just a few of those that have shown the fun side of football clubs on social can work. The Lowland League and BSC Glasgow have shown that humour can go hand in hand with growing a following and a reputation. It’s an approach more clubs should take.