They say sports bring people together, and that holds true even in marketing.
With all the different sports played across the globe, there are many sports fans around the world. Sports fans have a close connection with their favorite sporting events, teams, and players.
Brands can leverage these connections to create effective marketing campaigns and grow revenues.
Social media has enhanced how sports enthusiasts consume content. Back then, fans had to rely on sports magazines and news broadcasts to know what their favorite sports stars are up to.
Now, all you have to do is follow your favorite sports star on social media to get insights into their daily lives. Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, is the world’s most-followed individual with 527 million followers on Instagram.
Image via Instagram
Looking at the profiles of the leading sports brands on social media also reveals the huge interest in sports. For instance, the NFL Twitter page has 32 million followers, while ESPN has 22 million followers on Facebook.
Such is the craze around sports and sporting personnel on social media. Brands too can benefit from this interest by crafting their own sports social media strategies to attract new customers and grow sales.
Let’s see how in the next section.
Sports Social Media Marketing Strategies That Really Work
In its 2022 World Football Report, Nielsen found that social media is one of the leading platforms for football content, with 72% of fans using it to join in on the action.
Image via Nielsen
Clearly, social media is a great way to reach sports lovers around the world.
1. Understand Your Target Audience
Before deciding on the sports social media marketing strategies you will use to grow your brand, you first need to study your target audience to understand which sport appeals to them.
The popularity of sports varies across countries. For example, the top three sports in the US are American football, basketball, and baseball. In the UK, the top sports are football, boxing, and triathlon sport.
Meanwhile, figure skating, baseball, and football are the top sports in Japan.
Image via Nielsen
By understanding the top sports in the country you’re targeting, you will know which campaigns to run to appeal to its sports fans. For example, if you want to reach sports fans in the UK, you will focus on campaigns that appeal to football fans.
In this case, you may decide to sponsor the Premier League to have your products advertised during the top matches. Or you can choose to work with a footballer to promote your products.
While this is just the general approach when targeting sports fans in specific regions, you want to dig deeper into your lead generation software audience analytics to learn the favorite sport of your target users.
For example, you may realize that motorsports are the favorite sport of Gen Z in the UK and not football. If you didn’t take the time to understand what your target Gen Z audience in the UK wants, you may end up creating campaigns with zero impact just because you thought football is the top sport in the UK.
That’s why it’s important to take time to understand what your audience really wants. Marketers can use CRM tools like Copper CRM and social media listening tools like Brand24 to better understand their users.
2. Collaborate with Sports Personalities
If you have the money, working with an athlete for your brand campaigns is one of the most effective sports social media marketing strategies. Athletes have close connections with their fans, and working with them is a great way to appeal to sports fans.
A great example of an ecommerce business working with star athletes to reach sports fans is Louis Vuitton’s campaign featuring Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
As two of the best and most followed footballers in the world, the brand couldn’t have picked a better pair of sports personalities to connect with football fans.
Image via Instagram
Launched just a day before the 2022 world cup in Qatar, the campaign broke the internet and trended on most social media platforms. Ronaldo’s post racked up 30 million likes while Messi’s post picked up 24.5 million likes in just 24 hours.
Louis Vuitton must have paid top dollar to get two of the greatest footballers ever for a campaign. But if they intended to reach sports fans, they hit that nail directly on the head by collaborating with two of the most popular sportsmen of all time.
And while we are talking about collaboration, why not partner with sports influencers? You can leverage the power of influencer marketing to promote your brand in an impressing way. Here is a quick guide from Attrock on how to work with influencers.
3. Use Sports Memes
A study by Oracle found that 91% of customers want brands to be funny. This number is higher among Gen Z and Millennials at 94%. The study also found that 75% of respondents would follow a brand on social media if it’s funny.
The report supports the belief that a humorous presence online can help brands strengthen their relationship with customers and deliver a better customer experience. That’s why memes are one of the best tools a marketer can use to engage their audience on social media.
Some of the reasons why memes are one of the best sports social media marketing strategies you can use to connect with sports fans include:
- They make your audience laugh
- They show your laid-back and charming personality
- Memes are relatable and easy to understand
- Memes can go viral and reach many people
Besides making your social feed lively, memes receive high engagement from fans. This can be rewarding for your brand since the likes, comments, and shares from social media users will increase your reach and online visibility.
Ryanair has established itself as a humorous brand on social media. When Belgium and Germany, two of the strongest teams in the competition, were knocked out of the 2022 World Cup, they took to Twitter to make fun of the situation.
Image via Twitter
4. Create Fun TikTok Content
Instagram is a popular social media platform for sports fans, but TikTok marketing is now emerging as one of the top sports social media marketing strategies.
TikTok was a key platform during the last few major sports events where fans used the channel to follow their favorite athletes to find out what they are up to.
Athletes use the platform to share sides of themselves that simply cannot be captured on other avenues like television. And since TikTok has a personal feel to it, this created an immersive experience for sports fans across the world.
TikTok provides the right avenue for brands to create video content that appeals to sports fans.
The effectiveness of video content across marketing channels means brands should prioritize video marketing and advertise on video-centric platforms like TikTok.
Add to the fact that the chances of going viral are higher on TikTok than any other social media channel, then you can see why many brands are now marketing on TikTok.
Nike targets sports fans with its products and does most of its marketing on TikTok. To connect with female soccer fans, the brand created bespoke soccer boots for Alexia Putellas, who is the best female footballer in the world.
Image via TikTok
5. Run Contests
Sports is all about winning. Sports fans love competition and that’s what makes social media contests one of the most powerful sports social media marketing strategies.
Contests, games, and quizzes are interactive ways to engage sports fans on social media. For example, you can upload a photo and ask users to caption it. If the photo is related to sports, you will get many sports fans responding and writing unique captions.
Other interactive ways to connect with sports enthusiasts on social media include:
- Asking trivia questions
- Asking users to predict the score of a game
- Asking users vote for the player of the match using QR code
By making your contests interactive, you will engage your audience. Moreover, you’ll also get them to visit your social media page again to see if you have more fun activities for them.
Budweiser, a beer brand that often targets sports fans ran a few social media contests during the FIFA world cup in Qatar.
In the image below, the brand is asking sports fans to vote for the player of the match during the World Cup quarter-finals between England and France.
Image via Twitter
6. Support Social Causes
Last on this list of the best sports social media marketing strategies to connect with sports fans is to support social causes.
Customers want to know that their favorite brands support the causes that are close to them. To reach sports fans, brands can partner with sports personalities to advance social causes.
Nike’s support for social causes is well known. In the image below, the brand collaborates with Meghan Rapinoe of the US Women’s Football team to encourage people to be comfortable in their own skin and go after their goals no matter what.
Image via Instagram
Wrapping Up Social Media Marketing Strategies for Brands
People across the world love sports. Sports enthusiasts follow their favorite players and teams on social media to stay updated on what they are up to.
By implementing the above-mentioned sports social media marketing strategies, brands can reach sports fans online and let them know about their products.
Whether it’s by working with sports personalities, using memes, TikTok marketing, or running social media contests, there are many ways to use social media to reach sports fans.
Just ensure the sports content you’re creating is relevant to your target users and if you want to appeal to as many sports fans as possible.