Posted on 17 April 2013.
Guest Post: Tom Kelk is a tech/sport blogger and Account Exec at global social media agency We Are Social. You can find him on Twitter (@TomKelk), LinkedIn and his blog.
Twitter launched their video service – Vine, in February and the assumption was that brands, and football clubs would embrace it as a useful communication tool. Vine, in essence, should offer clubs a wonderful opportunity to engage with their audience. It’s taking what Twitter did for writing, and applying it to video. However, the question stood; Are you able to capture the necessary inside 6 seconds?
The answer in short is, absolutely. However, it depends on your creativity, time and attention to detail. The problem of course is with the platform. For the moment, clips must be recorded and uploaded at the point of capture. There is no room for editing or uploading previously developed video.
This will change as Vine develops to work for brands, but for the moment clubs must be clever and creative inside the 6 seconds of unedited footage. The excitement of a new platform enticed clubs to get involved immediately, and we saw initial ventures onto the platform in late January and early February, but where have football clubs gone from there? The truth is, not very far. Birmingham City were very quick onto the scene and are still arguably the most developed football club on Vine. They produced this simple, creative and effective Vine back in January:
Unfortunately videos from most clubs have not developed from this and have become somewhat repetitive, dull and unprofessional. Silent videos of a mashed and fragmented series of clips or an attempt to film 6 seconds of content – looking around an empty stadium being a popular choice – under the assumption that it will have a similar effect to YouTube content. When clubs are filming around the inside of the stadium, why is it empty?
This is true of Arsenal….
and now Newcastle….
and most other clubs on Vine. Film a stadium in full voice and people will watch, and share that content. Newcastle missed a real trick but not getting involved post their 90th minute winner against Fulham. The crowd was raucous, and the players were delirious. That produces viral, and shareable content.
Clubs seem unaware that much of this provides little value to the consumer and this is a key reason behind the lack of engagement on the Vine posts. Not only this, we are seeing the new joiners repeat the same mistakes made from the early starters. Newcastle United recently ventured onto the media, and it has certainly been a journey from the fairly good to the downright awful.
I first noticed the club’s use of Vine on the Saturday morning before a game where the person with the phone had simply filmed an obscure area around the Etihad and Manchester City club shop, and uploaded it. Such was the terrible quality, and pointlessness of the video, it was subsequently deleted on the Monday. The sheer aimless nature of the video highlights much of Newcastle United’s, and many other clubs problem with Vine; they do not know how to use it, and do not appear fussed about taking the time to research how it can be best used.
This is perfectly demonstrated by Manchester City’s previous empty stadium film which blurs in and out of focus and should simply not be published. Why does this Vine content not get processed through the same rigorous standards that other social media content does?
Another problem with current Vine videos is this desire to fit as much into the six seconds as possible, and whilst this has worked in several Vine videos, clubs must be willing to shoot singular pieces of content. There seems to be an aversion to capturing six seconds of one feature, instead, clubs insist on cramming 15 scenes into each video. It risks the end-product being fragmented and less effective.
There is plenty of content in this effort from Newcastle United, but this can be halved and would be more effective:
It’s the same with this training clip from Southampton:
We’ve seen the success of well executed drills going viral with Barcelona being the central feature, so why not follow this example using Vine? This fragmented approach also nullifies the effect of sound. Whilst I like clubs embracing new media and opportunities – this cannot be done for the sake of it. If the quality of video is poor, then there is little point in publishing. Indeed, there will be nothing but negative feedback should this be the case. New clubs to the platform have had an opportunity to consider content and ideas from trail-blazers like QPR, Birmingham City and Manchester City which makes the lack of content creativity and all-round low quality even worse.
So, what has been proven to work? We’ve seen success with behind the scenes content, this was especially true of the January transfer window where Wes Thomas and Darius Henderson were seen, and Chris Samba was announced on Vine. Training clips also appear to work well but there are many more opportunities – filming six seconds of a player returning to training post injury for example.
Vine, in essence, should offer clubs a wonderful opportunity to engage with their audience. It’s taking what Twitter did for writing, and applying it to video. However, the question stood; Are you able to capture the necessary inside 6 seconds?
Why is there a significant lack of a footballer showing off his skills? 6 seconds of various players demonstrating their best tricks – perhaps in a series where the Twitter community end up voting for their favourite – would be engaging and absorbing content. Premier League football has access to some incredible assets, why are they not being used with Vine? Here’s a nice idea from Fulham but again, it’s poorly executed
If you can capture the emotion and the feeling that each fan experiences on matchday then the video becomes consumable and shareable. This is fully dependent on sound and this is a weakness in the vast majority of Vine content. It’s not difficult but it’s an example of clubs not setting standards for their Vine content in the same way they might for Facebook or Twitter.
Clubs need to take Vine seriously, it’s not going to be a central communication channel for the moment but it works well as a partnership with Twitter. Clubs appear to forget that Vine isn’t simply a network on its own but it is an extension of Twitter, and functions as such. It should be valued at the same standards. If a club hasn’t got the time to take care over the video content, then Vine should be avoided for the time being. It cannot be used for the sake of it.
There are around 7 Premier League clubs on Vine and this will grow into next season. The close season offers a great opportunity to test features and stories on Vine, and for clubs to maximise their assets to good effect. Hopefully we will see some real creativity and value from football clubs come July because it is sorely needed.