Manchester United is taking a bold step for a professional sports team on social media: the club is creating a social network for its estimated 660 million fans worldwide.
The social network will be part of a digital platform rolled out over the next two years, aimed at a huge target of 500 million fans. The goal? To drive engagement with Manchester United fans, and to “tap into Asian markets” – where the club already has a strong following and smartphone use is growing – according to Marketing Magazine.
Manchester United’s social network will:
- host multimedia content
- offer advertising and sponsorship opportunities for brands
- sell club merchandise through e-commerce
- offer fans exclusive content, including videos of star players and content from the club’s MUTV channel
The winner of last year’s Premier League title, the club’s Facebook page already has over 20 million fans – will more join in for an “exclusive” social network experience catered to their interests? A recent study ranks Manchester United at #8 among the best users of social media in the Premier League (Chelsea was #1). Technorati reports that while Manchester United had the highest number of Facebook fans among Premier league teams, the club was mainly broadcasting messages via Facebook and “doing little to engage with followers.” The announcement to launch the new social network came “hot on the heels” of the study results.