Social Media

Social media

Social media, fans and football club Facebook pages

Samandeep Chohan

Makis Karteros

Posted: September 22, 2014

Report on an EASM 2014 presentation by Bastian Popp and Herbert Woratschek

Both Popp and Woratschek are leading academics in the department of service management and have identified a debate concerning social media and its suitability when marketing, specifically isolating Facebook. In the contemporary world social media is all around us. It’s an intangible asset for everyone. An added motivation in completing this research is the simple fact that research in this area is hard to come by. Maybe because social media has hit heights none of us expected? Now for a few facts;

1. 1.32 billion monthly active users of Facebook

2. 54% of social network users perceive social networking websites as a good place to learn about products and brands

3. Brand managers (in sport) create and maintain official Facebook brand pages (FBP)

4. Sport teams are considered as ‘brands’ on Facebook

 

Key drivers and moderators

From what we know as avid social media users is the idea of ‘brands’ promoting products and services. They want to strengthen our loyalty to the club (relationship marketing). It’s the number one indicator for brand success. In addition, loyalty towards FBP also indicates brand success (online and offline context).

For the research to be significant, Popp and Woratschek solely looked at the German Pro Football League. They wanted to find out how customer satisfaction and customer loyalty leads to consumer brand identification. Four targets of identification were covered; the club itself, players, manager and the fans.

First topic the researchers covered was to find out how consumer identification and satisfaction determines user’s loyal to FBP of professional football clubs. The conceptual framework discovered highlighted consumers may identify with multiple targets of identification, e.g. brand, company, other customers. We have all experienced this first hand. Moreover, FBP are constructed through both the brand’s and user’s activity. Reinforcing user’s commitment to the brand was again uncovered. Two main targets of identification with FBP;

  1. FBP website as official representative of the brand
  2. Users of FBP

However, as Facebook is owned by a third party, control over pages is handed over. Debate on the role of trust in the companies which operate social media for the sports brand’s social media success comes to play.

Secondly, the researchers covered the effects on FBP loyalty by the user’s personal trust in Facebook. The results were as expected. Trust in Facebook has only a small, but meaningful effect on FBP. Particularly the interaction between users – FBP loyalty is negatively moderated by trust in Facebook. Nevertheless, missing trust is not the end of the world for sport clubs. It’s a feeling we have all grown up with.

What is gathered from this piece of research is the underlying fact that trust equals confidence in relation to brand success. Sporting clubs as a whole want their products and services to be seen by everyone. One of the best ways to do that – invest in social media marketing strategies.

About Samandeep Chohan

Samandeep is a recent Sport Management graduate at Coventry University who is seeking employment in the world of sport. He has worked in the ticketing and sales department for Coventry City Football Club, organised and coached sporting events and written for sporting blogs from the age of 16. Samandeep’s email address – chouhan3@uni.coventry.ac.uk

About Makis Karteros

Makis is currently writing a PhD on investment in human capital and its impact on football club’s performance.  He has been involved in the sports industry in many ways having worked for professional football clubs, media organisations and IT companies, in Greece and India.