Jan 8, 2014

Football in China

British Football & Social Media


With the recent world cup (well done Germany!), we felt it was about time we wrote something about everyone’s favourite sport….football!

The English premier league is not only enjoyed by our fellow Europeans, but increasingly fans in mainland China have been following the footsteps of their western counterparts and have become a nation of football crazed fans. Seeing the recent popularity, some football clubs have been trying to promote and sell their genuine merchandise in China, such as Liverpool FC. Some clubs have even been working with local travel agencies, to try and bring fans from thousands of miles away to their favourite FC stadium and experience the atmosphere their “home” club has to offer. It has become increasing important for football clubs to capitalise on their Chinese fan base, and increase their brand image and even brand awareness with Chinese football. Manchester United is a great example, as they have been very proactive in reaching out and engaging with Chinese fans, giving them a great reason to stay loyal to their favourite FC. Based on the latest research (undertaken by PingPong Digital), 35% of football clubs from the Premier League have digitally landed in the Chinese market.

In order to explore the market profitably of Chinese consumers, PingPong Digital recommends the following top tips from our strategy and social media team.

Firstly, have a Chinese landing page, this is important to keep Chinese consumers attention when they do their all-important research about football clubs. Understanding certain nuances about Chinese consumers is very important, simplicity is not always the best way to go, Chinese consumers like to be presented with a wealth of information on a landing page so they can make an informed choice on which page they want to go to next.

Secondly, using the right social media channels to engage with potential and current fans, the most popular social media applications and websites in the UK such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked in Mainland China. Because of this, China has it’s own Twitter (Weibo) and it’s own Youtube (Youku), so it’s vital that you use those to reach Chinese fans. Based on the latest figures, there are 224,000 verified users and 143 companies from Global Fortune 500 companies.

Lastly, to deliver customised content to target specific demographic groups. Social media strategy is all about producing high quality content to share with targeted audiences at the best time. One of most important things about content is to share something meaningful and useful. It is not only about promotion. You have to give people a reason to follow you, and give your existing fans updated stories and news to keep their attention, otherwise they may stray somewhere else.

Article: Aoze Zhang