With the expansion of Web 2. 0 social media and a seemingly infinite growing industry. Social media is not only affecting the consumer industry but rather recently starting to become more popular among sports teams. Using multiple articles and various sources this paper will examine the positive and negative effects that social media has had on the sport marketing industry. Some examples of social media include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Word Press along many other social networking sites. The two social networks this paper will focus mostly on are Facebook and Twitter.
These two sites have provided the sport marketing industry with a plethora of ways to get their information to millions of people. These social networks have made it very easy for companies to stay in contact with fans and consumers and provide ways to get quick feedback from them. In an article entitled Facebook: the future of networking with customers written by Ray Poynter. Poynter states that “Facebook has attracted millions of ordinary people to social networking and claims to be offering new solutions to old problems. ” The problems that Poynter is referring to are the ways companies collect research.
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For many years the pursuit of insight meant writing a research brief, appointing an agency which would then recruit a sample, conducting interviews and analysis, and after a period of time, presenting the distilled findings (Poynter, 2008). This is all now done much faster through Facebook. Facebook polling is a new way to find answers to simple questions. You can specify a sample size, pay a small fee, and have the results appear a few hours later (Poynter, 2008). Ray also states that although these are useful, they will not replace conventional research just yet.
Facebook not only offers polling, but they also allow the public to create groups which the consumers can monitor and see what the public is looking for. An example of this in the text is when Cadbury Chocolate company noticed 93 Facebook groups including 14,000 members petitioning for Wispa (a candy bar discontinued in 2003) to be re-launched. Due to the overwhelming number of consumers asking for the product, Cadbury re-launched the product in 2007 (Poynter, 2008). This article focuses on consumer products; however, the same techniques can be used in the sport industry.
Although fans will never be the deciding factors as to which player a team drafts or who they pick up in free agency, these techniques have been apparent in grass-root marketing. Teams may ask fans to vote for new jersey designs or mascot names. Also, teams can use Facebook polling to see what fans are interested in or what promotions they would like to see. They can then use that information to attract the fans to their websites and to buy tickets for special promotions. This not only allows the team to connect with the consumer but also empowers the consumer knowing that they can make a difference and their views are important to the team.
Another positive of social media is the large reach they provide companies. To better understand the reach that social media provides companies, I looked over the article titled Friends, Fans, and Followers: Do Ads Work on Social Networks? Written by David G. Taylor, Jeffery E. Lewin and David Strutton. Social media is continuing to evolve and sport marketing groups are working to use this to their advantage. Social networking sites are growing and becoming more popular every day. People of all ages have access to and use these sites on a daily basis and marketing groups are aware of this.
These sites are free and easy to use and make it possible to interact with many different people in a non-formal way. Three examples talked about in the article are Old Spice fragrance line inviting Facebook users to “Turn Up Your Man Smell” by becoming “fans” of its products (David G. Taylor, 2011). Within a week the fan page had over 120,000 new fans. This means that 120,000 people saw the product and showed interest in the product. Along with that, when someone likes the page, all of their friends see it on their Facebook Wall so the advertisement is exposed to even more people who will now have it on their minds.
A team can post on its Facebook page a link to the website to buy tickets to its upcoming game. When they do this the reach of the advertisement is to everyone who is a fan of the team’s page, which contains regional fans as well as fans from outside the immediate area of the team. Although the fans outside the area may not be able to attend the game they will have visited the teams website which will make the site look better thus allowing the team to charge more for advertisements on the website. Also it will make the fan aware of the date and time of the game so they can watch it on television.
Red Robin restaurant chain enlisted Facebook users and “brand ambassadors. ” They asked them to send pre-written recommendations to online friends. They collected about 1,500 people to enlist, each with an average of 150 friends. Due to these recommendations being sent to friends on Facebook Red Robin estimates approximately 225,000 positive advertisement impressions were viewed (David G. Taylor, 2011). Toyota also used social media to rebuild their brand image after a decline in sales due to safety issues (David G. Taylor, 2011).
Toyota used both YouTube and Facebook to promote its Sienna minivan. They created a fictional couple to show that the minivan was “cool”. These examples can be used in the sport setting in many different ways. Many companies are now finding influential people on social networking sites to spread the word about their company. Much like Red Robin, teams have ambassadors who are ordinary public figures that can spread the word about their team in a positive way. Also teams that are trying to rebuild can look at Toyota who did a great job rebounding from a disastrous recall.
An example of this could be a team such as the Cincinnati Bengals who had several players involved in bad situations. They can use local ambassadors and social media to re-brand themselves and get in positive light of the consumers. There are many other benefits for sport marketing groups that go along with using social media. Some of these include low cost, quick feedback, easier connections, and wider reach. Social networking sites are very cheap to use, if not free, and reach everyone from kids to adults.
Connections can be made fast and easily and the feedback about the information a company puts out can be retrieved rather quickly as compared to other methods of advertising. Another reason social media has become so popular is its relatively low cost compared to with other types of marketing. The real cost of social media is paying someone or a group of people (depending on the size of your company and social media presence) to keep your twitter, Facebook, and blogs up to date and that is it. According to BIA/Kelsey, a media consulting firm, companies spent about $2. billion on social-media advertising in 2010; the number is projected to grow to nearly $8 billion in 2015 (Manjoo, 2011). Compared to many other types of marketing which can cost upwards of millions of dollars for a month long advertisement, social media is much more cost effective because the campaign can run for an entire year or longer. Currently 140 million brands, including Red Bull, Zara, Victoria’s Secret and Skittles have Facebook Fan Pages, with Coca Cola and Starbucks leading the way with just over 21 and 18 million fans ‘Likes’ respectively (Hardey, 2010).
The fact that so many companies are using Facebook shows that there must be something about Facebook that it needs to be included in 140 million brands marketing strategy. If a small market team can run a successful social media campaign at a fairly inexpensive price compared to the money they use on other types of marketing they should be able to generate more interest in the team for less money. Which means the team will have more money to spend on upgrades to the team or facilities.
Some of the negative aspects of social networking sites include hacking, not fully measurable results or inaccuracies, negative postings, and “press-to-send”. As with any online site, social networks are prone to hackers and information may be altered. Because it is so easy to post due to “press-to-send” athletes can get themselves in trouble by making negative comments and the general public may post things that are bad for publicity as well. Also, the impact of the social media campaign is not fully measurable. In social media many of the attributes that made it so popular are also hurting teams and players.
Word of mouth (WOM) is a process of conveying information from person to person and plays a major role in customer buying decision (Bernard J. Jensen, 2009). WOM communication functions are based on social networking and trust: people rely on families, friends, and others in their social network for information. Research also indicates that people appear to trust seemingly disinterested opinions from people outside their immediate social network, such as online reviews (Bernard J. Jensen, 2009). This means that companies have less control over the views of their product.
In relation to the sport world if a well known columnist or popular local figure is talking negatively about your team or certain players then the public is more likely to be swayed to feel the same about the team or player. Also many players have their own personal twitter accounts from which they can “tweet” things that they should not be saying, there are many examples of this and usually makes headline news at least once a week. Many times these negative “tweets” gets the player slapped with a hefty fine from the league that they play in but it does much more than take change out of the player’s pockets.
Many times when a story like this comes out the media is attracted to the story which causes distractions for the team. And if the “tweet” was bad enough it could affect the brand image of that team which could affect ticket and merchandise sales. Also because social media is based off the internet hacking is a major problem for social media. There have been countless twitter hacks which are when someone hacks into a twitter account and then sends out false information.
This is dangerous because many times the issues isn’t resolved until word has already spread containing the false information, and then the brand has to find a way to convince the public that is was a hack and the information was not true. In an article titled (Like) + (Retweet) = $$$? Written by Farhad Manjoo he discusses the accountability that companies put on Facebook and twitter to bring them new business. The article talks about a few examples of how social media has been used but the results are not measurable. The first example he brings up is Audi motors Super Bowl ad containing the first ever twitter hashtag.
After spending over a million dollars on the Super Bowl commercial along with a Promoted Trend ad on twitter they could not tell if based of that twitter hashtag if anyone was influences in buying an Audi (Manjoo, 2011). Doug Clark, Audi of America’s general manager for social media and customer engagement says “Today the equation to measure that doesn’t exist” (Manjoo, 2011). Because social media is so new everyone is doing it and nobody knows why, it’s just popular and because of that companies are willing to spend money even though they aren’t guaranteed a specific outcome.
One company can spend $1,000 and get great feedback another company can spend $10,000 and get no feedback. EMarketer estimates that 80% of companies will participate in social-media marketing this year, nearly double the number of just three years ago (Manjoo, 2011). Because of the lack of measurability in social media many companies are starting to come up with ways to measure effectiveness of a social media campaign. One way is a company called Klout developed by Joe Fernandez in 2007. The Klout Score, an integer from 1 to 100 that summarizes every person’s influence online.
The score is determined by a number of factors — including how influential your followers are and how many people retweet or respond to things you say online (Manjoo, 2011). Klout can tell a company who is influential and who companies can target to get there product in the minds of more fans, but unfortunately they still cannot tell how people react to the tweets and posts about the product. There is no direct correlation in seeing a “tweet” or comment on Facebook and then running to the store to buy a product. Fortunately, there is a new company claiming to do just that.
Wildfire is using sweepstakes and contests to bring people to Facebook pages. The example in the reading is Jamba Juice that allowed people to collect a “lucky” coupon from Jamba’s Facebook page. You’d only find out the value of the coupon if you took it to a Jamba Juice store, and some of the coupons would pay out cash prizes of up to $10,000. The campaign drove tens of thousands of people to Jamba Juice locations; every time someone used one of Wildfire’s coupons to make a purchase, the smoothie chain could credit that customer to the promotion (Manjoo, 2011).
This finally draws a straight line from the Facebook page to the store and the consumer spending money. These trends could easily be used by sport teams when trying to attract people to their social website. A team could hire Klout to find the most influential people who talk about their sport in their region and get them to post positive feedback about the team or tweet a special promotion the team has to draw interest to an upcoming game. Teams could also hire Wildfire to set up sweepstakes that get fans to buy tickets or spend money in some way whether on merchandise or concessions.
These are all great new ways that social media is slowly evolving into something that is measureable but unfortunately they have yet to scratch the surface on the impact social media has on consumers. References Taylor, David G. , Lewin, Jeffery E. , and Strutton, David. (2011). Friends, Fans, and Followers: Do Ads Work on Social Networks? Journal of Advertising Research, 51(1), 258-275. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Hardey, M. (2011). To spin straw into gold? New lessons from consumer- generated content. International Journal of Market Research, 53(1), 13-15. oi:10. 2501 /IJMR-53-1 -013- 015 Jansen, B. J. , Zhang, M. , Sobel, K. , ; Chowdury, A. (2009). Twitter power: Tweets as electronic word of mouth. Journal of the American Society for Information Science ; Technology, 60(11), 2169-2188. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Manjoo, F. (2011). (Like) + (Retweet) = $$$?. Fast Company, (157), 86-117. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. Poynter, R. (2008). Facebook: the future of networking with customers. International Journal ofMarket Research, 50(1), 11-12. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.