Tonight West Ham United take on Hull City in the Premier League. Now a mid-table clash between two teams who have hit some reasonable form as we head into the business end of the season.
The game at Upton Park has been picked out by the home club as an opportunity to really push what they do when it comes to engaging with fans through social media. Most teams will launch one or two new initiatives, but not West Ham. They have gone all-out for this one and there is a huge amount going on across Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
There is action happening pre-match, during it and post-match! This is all aimed at activating the clubs 900,000+ followers across all their social media platforms (and presumably building on this number too). It’s already gained coverage in the Metro, with whom it has a strong relationship and fans have been discussing it on forums, in fanzines and across social media platforms.
West Ham’s Media Officer (Digital), Leo Tyrie, explained to us the thinking behind the idea…
“As a Club West Ham United are always looking for new and exciting ways to engage with our fanbase and the idea of theming a match around our social media output made perfect sense for us.
Our numbers across Twitter and Facebook have steadily climbed over the past couple of years, while we have recently developed our output further across Instagram, Google+ and YouTube.
We want our supporters to feel as involved in the matchday experience as possible and we’re looking forward to showcasting their – and our – content around the match against Hull.”
Below is the exhaustive list of what has been going on, and also what will be happening during the day. I’m wondering if there will be any new Vines after the media team came along to our Digital Sport London event on Monday night, perhaps doing some last minute research! (They were mentioned as an example of best use of the tool during the event – well done Leo and your team).
• #HammerShirts – The club asked fans to Tweet them with messages of support for the team. The best 20 messages will be printed on T-shirts and worn by the players during their pre-match warm-up. The players will sign their own T-shirt, which will be sent to the fan who Tweeted their message. These messages will also appear in the Official Programme on matchday.
• Phoenix from the Flames – Fans were also asked to submit videos of them recreating your favourite West Ham United moment from the 2013/14 season! The winning entry or entries will be broadcast on the big screens before kick-off and on the Club’s Official YouTube channel.
• The final piece of pre-match engagement was to conduct the main interview with Mohamed Diame in the Official Programme. Fans had to submit their questions for Mo on their Twitter page @whufc_official using the hashtage #AskMo
• #Gloveaway – Goalkeeper Adrian will be leaving one of his gloves at a mystery east London location, which he will announce at 12noon on matchday on his Twitter page @AdriSanMiguel. The first fan to find Adrian’s glove will be given two tickets to the game (if required) and get to meet Adrian. (Similar to the Treasure Hunt run by Nottingham Forest recently)
• Competitions – There will be the chance to win a piece of signed memorabilia by entering their matchday starting XI prediction competition on Twitter using the hashtag #WHULINEUP and by predicting West Ham’s first goalscorer using #WHUGOAL
• #HammersPlaylist – Tweet your favourite song to be part of the matchday playlist at half-time. West Ham will create a ten-song shortlist, with the top three songs voted by fans on @whufc_official making the half-time playlist over the PA system. To nominate your ONE song for the Hammers Playlist, fans can do so now using the hashtag #HammersPlaylist
• Matchday coverage – Their multimedia team will be following the players around the Boleyn Ground on matchday, with regular videos being published on the Club’s official YouTube channel.
• #MattsMatchday – Midfielder Matt Taylor will Tweet his matchday from start to finish on his Twitter page @Official_MattT using the hashtag #MattsMatchday
During the action
• Player pundit – The club will be asking a first-team player (subject to availability) to join them in the Press Box to give his expert opinion on the action during the game on our official Twitter page @whufc_official
• #HammerTime – During the game, they want fans to Tweet a photo from wherever they are watching the match, whether that be in the ground, at home or in a bar, on your own on with a group of fellow supporters using the hashtag #HammerTime. This will be interesting with the lack of 3G generally available at grounds – will any fans be able to do so during game time?
• Matchday coverage – Sharing the very best images from in and around the Boleyn Ground all matchday, including action photos, in a gallery on their official Facebook page.
• Man of the Match – Launching live Man of the Match vote immediately after the final whistle on the official Twitter page. The player with the most RT wins Man of the Match, with one of the fans who voted for him winning a signed prize.
It’s a pretty extensive list of activity – the West Ham media team are certainly going to be VERY busy for the rest of today! Good luck to Leo and the team down at Upton Park. Hopefully we’ll follow it up with a chat with them about how it went and what their plans are going forward.