The digital guys at FC Barcelona and Chelsea have obviously been busy behind the scenes in making sure that the club is seen as being on the forefront of all things social media. Just as Google announce that businesses can now have their own pages on the platform (after them being taken down upon the launch of Google+ back in July) then FC Barcelona and Chelsea also come out and say they are one of the first to join the platform along with Burberry and Pepsi.
The news only broke a matter of hours ago that the American giant was opening this up with some key partners, with both clubs being in there. It is a fantastic coup for the Spanish and English clubs and it will be interesting now to see what they do with it. I anticipate we will see others such as Real Madrid, Man City and Liverpool follow suit in the near future but many will be sitting back and waiting to see how it can work for a club.
Google+ is something I joined back in the beta launch but it has to be said that I havent been on there for quite a while now. Part of that is because I work on Gmail at work and my Google+ is under another sign-in so I cannot access both at once. I am sure I can change this but for the time being I havent seen the point.
Barca announced the news on its website under the headline “Strategic agreement between FC Barcelona and Google+”. A headline I am sure they have been eagerly anticipating the use of and proud that they have beaten their greatest rivals, Real, to the punch.
Interestingly Chelsea have yet to make any such announcement despite going live at the same time. Barca have taken a much more proactive approach whereas it looks like the English club are taking a more cautious line, possibly trying to figure out what it is they want to do with it and who will interact with them before making a big song and dance about it.
According to FC Barcelona’s New Technologies Director, Dídac Lee, “it’s good news that FC Barcelona is present at the worldwide launch of Google+ Pages.” Lee added, “this strategic agreement with Google+ is further proof our commitment to Barça’s global audience.”
So far the page has gained over 6,000 followers and had over 900 +1′s. Content wise the club announced their arrival with a welcome message to fans; “Welcome to the Official FC Barcelona Google + Page, stay up to date with Club and follow all the new developments”. The only other content is 11 photo’s from the Athlico Bilbao game yesterday. Chelsea have only 32 followers at time of writing and added a few photos.
Will we now be writing articles on engagement and follower numbers on Google+ as well as Facebook and Twitter? We knew this day would be coming but not quite so soon (the last update was that business pages would go live next year). It is certainly something else that we need to keep an eye on and could possibly turn the big 3 (currently Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) into a big 4.
There has been some scepticism about how well the platform will work and some comments have been less than flattering. Users activity on the site has certainly dipped since the public launch but it still accounts for some 40m user accounts.
One other thing to note is that although the business pages are live, they dont have ‘vanity URLs’ yet, so dont go expecting to see either club posting up their Google+ URL on a poster anytime soon!
Other sports teams that have launched with Google+ include Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Mercury, Dallas Cowboys, WWE and Portland Trailblazers.
What do you think about the move and how do you think they can utlilise the platform?