Social is meant to be fun… let’s not lose sight of that!

February 22, 2023
3 mins
Social is meant to be fun… let’s not lose sight of that!

Social media has become a crucial cog in the operation of sports organisations over the years.

With the means to reach a large audience from anywhere in the world, clubs and leagues have begun leveraging social media to communicate with the public, promote their business and generate revenue.

But put yourself in the shoes of an everyday fan for a moment.

If you’re opening Instagram to see a fresh post from your favourite sports team loading, which are you hoping to see?

a) A branded post promoting corporate messages and commercial activities.

b) Quirky and engaging content of your favourite players in their inner sanctum.

We’re going to go out on a limb and assume you opted for the latter... but unfortunately, not all organisations share this view.

As social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram continue to boom, the value of their pages grows. Naturally, business managers see this as an opportunity to cash in through advertising and commercial partnerships.

But let’s step back for a moment and look at the bigger picture…

The world’s fastest growing social media platform, TikTok’s mission statement is “to inspire creativity and bring joy”. Meanwhile, Instagram seeks “to capture and share the world’s moments”.

Straight from the horse’s mouth.

These platforms are designed firstly and fore-mostly for engaging and entertaining audiences – and so they should be used as such.

Algorithms have no appetite for hard sells, and neither do fans. Audiences are not interested in overt adverts for tickets and memberships, nor bland content to tick boxes with the partnerships team.

Content creation is a lot easier when you just focus on your followers:

✅ Provide value for your audience.

✅ Concentrate on increasing brand affinity.

✅ Connect and build relationships with your community.

The best content on social media is that which is designed to captivate. This is the content that builds value and then creates commercial opportunities.

Many sports franchises in the United States have mastered this art. Look no further than the Los Angeles Chargers, who boast an acclaimed portfolio of social media channels.

The Chargers create unique, engaging content which appeals to a broad audience and promotes organic channel growth.

Like this:

And this:

Which in turn, gives them the means to sell space on their channels for commercialised (but nonetheless entertaining) content, like this:

Thankfully, some Australian sports brands are beginning to see the value in such fun, cheeky content.

The National Basketball League (NBL)'s Adelaide 36ers poking fun at the Sydney Kings was simply brilliant:

While the Brisbane Lions managed to put smiles on faces in spite of their AFLW Grand Final loss:

Unfortunately, these ideas are shut down all too often to prioritise commercial outputs, maintain ‘professionalism’, or especially out of fear of backlash. Oftentimes, these decisions are being made by executives with minimal social media presence and hence little understanding of trends and platform nuances.

But it's time for sports organisations to look on the bright side of life and hand the keys to the creatives.

Like Stewart-Hass Racings' VP of Brand & Digital Strategy Jess Smith says: “Process matters, yes. Tone of voice matters, yes. But having the peanut gallery all chime in will run down your Social Media Manager & stifle them.”

Play around with your fans. Tease your rivals. Push boundaries. This is, after all, a proven formula for successful content.

Social media is meant to be fun… let’s not lose sight of that!

Share this post
Share this post
Your weekly download of sports content and creative.

Become a Game Changer

Subscribe to our 'Game Changer' newsletter and receive an oasis of industry insights and invaluable resources designed to keep you not just relevant, but ahead of the curve.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.