The key to successfully utilising social media is focusing on the passion of the fans. By only investing a minimal amount of time and money into social media Celtic are failing to take full advantage of its power to connect and bond with us the fans. Most major clubs are on top of social media and have tens of people working on social media projects, but there is no evidence of this at Celtcfc.net yet it is an excellent tool for companies with minimal budgets. The potential is staggering, as mainstream Celtic fans can tell you, it costs next to nothing to open an account on Facebook or Twitter and then all you need to do is build your followers. If Celtic build this up to the levels we know they could, the club can promote sponsors, tickets and merchandise and also offer it to sponsors as an outlet for promotions. If Bayern Munich have 700,000 followers on Twitter, I-Mobile has a chance to promote a new phone to all of them in one message. Even if just a small percentage of followers buy the phone, it’s still pure profit.
It could be argued that club’s websites should be the platform for this messaging and brand building and the promotion of Chanel 67 and the need to register for use is perhaps the route that the club are going down but social media is not always what the fans really want from the club. The fans care about a whole range of things, but mainly we want to feel part of the club, not just a money making option. We want to know what player is injured, who is signing; basically every detail down to what the team had for dinner. Interaction via social media is an ideal method of doing this.
At Chelsea, the club mascot ‘Stamford the Lion’ is tweeting, providing a face for club messages, but some clubs can go one better and get the players to tweet and followers of our Twitter page will know Juarez has his own Twitter feed. Of course, boundaries need to be set to avoid problems similar to last summer when unsettled Tottenham striker Darren Bent tweeted a transfer request “Do I wanna go Hull City NO. Do I wanna go stoke NO do I wanna go sunderland YES so stop f****** around levy.”
Celticfc.net is a busy mass of confused messages, few of which are relevant to the fans when the fans want it. During our game with Lincoln for example I got better and more accurate score updates from Lincoln’s site than ours. We had the club website in available Japanese, but dropped that as soon as Naka left. All of this social media is about brand development, what’s the point of developing the brand if we ditch everything so easily?