Why Football is like Social Media – Players vs. Teams

Why Football is like Social Media – Players vs. Teams

Germany_Alex Livesey_GettyImagesCongratulations to the new World Cup 2014 champions – Germany, a team that roared through from the early group stages right through to the finish.

The well oiled German unit racked up some impressive statistics at the end of the tournament with the golden glove award for the best keeper going to Neuer, while Miroslav Klose walked away with the celebrated title of leading goal scorer in the history of the World Cup. Eclipsing Brasilian favourite Ronaldo and famed fellow countryman – Gerd Mueller.

So how did they do it? How did they overcome the home favourite and host, Brasil and neutralise footballing greats France and Portugal? Internet memes provided the answer – Germany had a team!

Digital specialists and community managers representing brands in the online space are like forwards, charged with the task of scoring digital goals with customers. Their end game is to build customer loyalty, generate engagement around a brand and drive sales. More often than not, they’re out there making solo plays, trying to beat the defense and score without any team support. Much like teams that rely on a lone superstar to take them to glory.

Germany, operates like a machine. Each part performing a task that was part of a larger operation. All moving toward a singular objective – Win. Few brands/ businesses can say that they function the same when it comes to their social media strategies. Simply plugging someone in the role of community manager and leaving them out there in the digital wilderness, is like Argentina relying on Messi alone as master playmaker and goal scorer.

Social media strategies should not be treated as merely an extension of the marketing department. It’s a job for an organisation. Ask the folks at Dell. Through their Social Media and Community University (SMaC U), they deliver a “certification program open to all employees to understand Dell’s social media strategy, governance, best practices and how to use social to better serve our customers.” This ensures that a wider cross section of the organisation is enabled to represent the brand across social media, leverage their expertise in different fields and engage customers in conversation. Their end game – Build Trust, and a 6.5M revenue from Twitter conversations in 2009 is a definite WIN.

Football is not a one man show. The pundits will be mulling over the rapid decline of South American giants Brasil, after the loss of Neymar Jr. La Albiceleste it could be argued, depended too heavily on #MessiMagic, putting enormous pressure on the famed number 10. The same can probably be said about the Dutch and Arjen Robben, or Portugal and Ronaldo. Messi_GettyImages_MartinRose

Social media is growing in size and scope, customer conversations are being dispersed across a large area of digital real estate, making it even more important to put more bodies behind the all important tasks of listening, reaching and engaging. Businesses need to understand this changing dynamic and take action if they intend to positively impact customer conversations around their brand. There is a need for restructuring within organisations to allow for more agility which would unlock greater collaboration, create timely responses and fuel increased interactions with markets.

Joachim Loew commented that his German team will be around to reign for a long time, so will social media. It’s a signal of the changing of the guards on both ends. The question now for coaches and CEOs is whether either are prepared to change their game plans!


July 14th, 2014

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