It has been a novel feeling this last couple of weeks with the UKSN site being seen as a viable press source with an invite to the Puma Media Launch last Tuesday and this week seems me attend the SportBusiness Group Sport & New Media Conference in Manchester.
It is great that sport is starting to wake up to the possibilities and with a showing of over 150 attendees on Wednesday it shows that there is a great yearning to learn more. At the moment the UK has few examples of success stories of teams, leagues, businesses or athletes who have made that leap into great fan engagement and commercial success with Social Media.
Many teams, as we have reported on this site, have set up Facebook Fan Pages and Twitter accounts with varying amounts of success. But as with all things in life and business there is a great saying that ‘to fail to plan is to plan to fail’. Without a strategy in place you won’t succeed. Opening an account for free is not enough if not taken into account with the rest of the marketing and PR strategy.
“The search is now on for new ways to not only reach customers and fans, but to understand them, to activate sponsorships in fresh and exciting ways, encourage participation, grow fan bases and protect your reputation online.” (Sport & New Media website)
We shall see a number of topics touched on during the day rather than anything studied in great depth. New media as a whole is a vast field made up of so much it would be impossible to cover every topic in one day.
My interest is drawn to the afternoon session that looks at sports associations utilising the web 2.0 possibilities. British Universities & Colleges Sport will be talking about their use of Facebook which has over 6,000 fans and includes competitions, flash landing page, photos and videos. It will be interesting to find out the thoughts and strategies behind their move in social media.
One panel session looks like it could stir some debate with the title ‘Social Media: New opportunity – new threats?’. It has been highlighted by organisations I have spoken to in sport that there is a fear factor. Yes it is a whole new world of opportunity but also one of threats, just look at Nestle to see what can happen when social media is handled badly. The questions will be coming thick and fast from the delegates on this particular session I feel.
The speaker line up is very impressive with representatives from Google, IMG, Chelsea Digital, BBC, Eurosport, IFNA, comScore, Fudge, Pilot Media and Braben Sport. It would have been great to hear from Manchester City and Liverpool who doing some great work in the North West though. Maybe they are being saved for the next conference.
An added bonus for delegates is that the new comScore report titled ‘The State of Digital Sport’ will be given to every delegate as take away. As I said at the top of this article, it is a exciting time for sport with the new didigtal possibilities that are open to all. The PR, Marketing, fan engagement and commercial landscapes are changing forever……. are you ready for it?
More info on the event is at www.sportandnewmedia.com