OK with more and more of our clients demanding to be on Facebook with real results, I wanted to look into one of Melbourne (and Victoria’s) biggest interests and past times – AFL.
I was inspired, as a mad Collingwood supporter (don’t hold it against me please) to view how they and other clubs are using Facebook and importantly how this correlates to their membership numbers. I was inspired to do this, because I believe AFL clubs have far less challenges in getting genuine Facebook likes and interaction than other businesses looking at the medium. We manage around 10 Facebook accounts for our clients, all using it for different purposes, but all wanting two main things:
1 – Lots of people liking them
2 – Lots of people interacting with them
I feel as though AFL clubs tick these 2 boxes easily – people don’t just like their chosen club, they like it. Furthermore what is a more talked about topic on a Monday morning than the footy results? To break it down, I looked at membership numbers in comparison to Facebook likes. Getting a member I decided was far harder than a Facebook like. A membership costs money, a Facebook like doesn’t, plus there are more supporters for every club than members.
Collingwood and Essendon both do it brilliantly, with 70,000 plus members and 134,000 plus fans on Facebook and nearly 50,000 members and 123,000 plus fans respectively. To me this is the perfect example of securing support, and the daily opportunity to market without being a member. Another assumption I made was that if they can get members, surely they can get each of those members to join them on Facebook. I would imagine some clubs have a social media flyer or communication strategy for all members to join when they sign up.
However there are a lot of clubs who are not doing it as well. Take Richmond for example (certainly one of the top 4 supported clubs in Victoria). They have 47,000 plus members but only 44,000 likes on Facebook. Melbourne is in the same boat, 36,000 members but only 15,000 fans. Why aren’t these clubs at the very least getting all their members to interact with them online, as well as trying to attract all those non members to Facebook. Surely it is the perfect medium to not only communicate with members regularly and provide another avenue to ensure they resign for the following season, but also target all those non member supporters to sign up. In total 8 clubs had more members than FB fans.
I found this quite strange, given the investment clubs make in communication, acquiring members and being in the face of their supporters. Surely if they can secure members at a cost they can secure FB fans more easily. I am a fan of the Collingwood page, I don’t visit it regularly but I do enjoy the live feeds that come through my page, interviews with players, pics from the latest match. I often like, or vote on their polls, and as a non member it gives me a great opportunity to interact and see what is happening with the club, while not being as member.
So after this strange little investigative project, what do I recommend:
The clubs need to get more fans than they have members, then they can ensure they are targeting as many new supporters as possible to buy members.
Furthermore if you cannot get the people to like you on FB that love your club, what chance do the rest of us have in establishing genuine interaction and interest with our brands or organisations on Facebook.
PS – Kudos to Collingwood for having not only the most members, but also the most FB fans!
Posted by LJ.