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How social networks for sports are disrupting fan engagement?

The benefits of fan engagement can never be overstated. Rewarding fans for their loyalty and viewership on a sports social network can have massive impact on the brand image.

So what do you want to do you when your favorite team wins? Shout out to the world, isn’t it? And what if it loses? You want to rant, with fellow buffs. Fandom has been a peculiar subject, for a very long time. Sportsmen, teams and their marketing agencies can see the potential of emotional engagement, but it’s very difficult to collate mass sentiment over a single platform. Fan engagement has a hot topic among the who’s who of the sporting world, lately. With the surge of social media, there have been massive strides taken by various parties in this context, in the recent past.

But thanks to the vagaries of conventional social networks, accompanied by the lack of customizability and hence the reduced sense of exclusive appeal and belongingness, these haven’t quite lived up to the billing yet. One particular phenomenon, however, that has grown into prominence very recently, is of creating exclusive social network for sports, leagues, teams and athletes. And while still nascent, this has the potential to be the next big disruption in the digital world.

What are social networks for sports?

Let’s dwell a little further. What are ‘social networks for sports’, also known as ‘sports social networks’? For the record, sports social networks are just platforms to unite fans and followers. And it just builds from here. Exclusive sports social networks bring in fans of that particular sport or team on one platform. And since everything on the platform is customized in tune with the sport, or team of choice, the sense of belonging, and consequently, the loyalty to the platform is much greater and longer.

Does it really have an advantage?

Well, the benefits of fan engagement can never be overstated. It is well known that rewarding fans for their loyalty and viewership can have massive impact on the brand image. But the benefits of fan engagement these days can be much more tangible than that. Since, with social networks for sports, you can get in touch with every individual fan directly, the intermediate points of contact gets eliminated, and thus you have more control over every interaction. So what does that result in.

Well, first of all, direct fan engagement can be as precisely segmented digital marketing avenue as any. When you know what the user is there for, and what his current state of mind is, you will not have a hard time pitching in, would you? The campaigns run on these platforms can be the most cost effective, yielding ROIs unimaginable with any other front of marketing.

Another great marketing advantage it provides is with regard to the market research. To build the brand of a sport, a league or a team, the knowledge of user interests, fan behaviour and touchpoints are essential. And with a dedicated social network for sports, the collection of this data can be both easy and accurate.

And finally, the great advantage that it offers to promoters is to transact with the fans directly, whether it be bookings, merchandising, membership or content. The uniquely customized platform means that the proposition stays firmly intact, and the competition is minimal. Plus, as the sole authority of the given league/team, you could offer access to stuff that no one else can.

How to reach out?

One of the dilemmas that troubles those looking to build a sports social network, is that they have no idea as to what to offer to the audience, as the whole proposition is new, and there is no universal solution to the problem. This question can be answered, though, by the Uses and Gratification (U&G) theory. For social media, McQuail U&G research (1983) is apt and applicable. In the research, it is mentioned that:

/ Information & Entertainment are the key driver for users to adopt the platform
/ It is important to let users have a self identity, through self expression and peer recognition
/ Integration & social interaction helps in bonding with peers, giving a sense of belonging and builds a community culture
/ To build loyalty, empowerment, remuneration and brand love were found to be the most important requisites

Social networks for sports help you score on all these parameters easily. And, with internet having reached every nook and corner of this world, tapping the fans isn’t a problem anymore.

The disruption has already begun

If you think that everything discussed up to this point is futuristic in nature, think again. People have already begun moving to sport specific social networks. Sites & Apps like Sportsfanlive and Rooter have taken up the content and engagement market by storm, whereas some new players like like Fancred (catering to NFL fans) and and ATLETO (built for athletics enthusiasts) have taken the Sport Specific route. In fact, fancred recently raised a whopping $3m in it’s recent round of financing. Any which way, these player are trying to capture a greater pie in this rapidly growing market of sports enthusiasts.

If you ever wished to venture into a platform for sports enthusiasts, then there has never been a better time for it than now. Vinfotech, the pioneers in sports social network development, can help scale your idea to great heights. Years of experience, unmatched technological expertise and an eye for the sports market have already made Vinfotech the biggest name in development of social network for sports. You never know. Your idea could be the next big thing.

And we are here to help you execute it.

IN A NUTSHELL
  • Social media pages on sports haven’t lived up to the billing yet
  • Exclusive sports social networks bring in fans of that particular sport or team on one platform
  • With a dedicated social network for sports, the collection of data is easy and accurate
  • Promoters get to transact with the fans directly in bookings, merchandising, membership or content

About Vinfotech

Vinfotech creates world's best social networks for employees, brands, interest groups and sports fans. We promise initial set of real engaged users to put turbo in your social network growth. Our award winning software vSocial™ allows us to build stellar customized communities faster and better. Our customers include Aston Martin, Burberry, Arabian Gulf League and Snapdeal.

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