To be honest, my only contact with ice hockey in Köln is the overcrowded tram on my way from office on a matchday. Altought I have heard a lot about great atmosphere made by “Haie” fans, I have always preferred watching Bundesliga rather than ice hockey.
Season has already ended, but I have a ticket for an opening season game in September. Lanxess Arena, with capacity of 18,650 spectators, is already sold out and we don’t even know which team we will play against.
The Kölner Haie (Cologne Sharks) were founded in 1972. And the team was one of the founding members of the DEL (German Ice Hockey League).In over 40 years club has developed into one of the most powerful ice hockey clubs in Germany. According to Wikipedia Kölner Haie have the second highest average attendance in Europe behind Swiss team SC Bern.
BLIND DATE TICKETS
Only a few days after the season ended, “Haie” marketing team started a cool marketing campaign. “Blind date” tickets for the first game of the upcoming season. Advertising goal was clear, “we want a sold-out Lanxess Arena on September 11 no matter which team is coming”, and they have succeeded. Reaction from fans was crazy, they were delighted with clubs activity. Fans already posting about the first game where they are expecting great rivals from Dusseldorf. Four months without hockey is simply a long period for them.
There is still three months before the start of the season, and marketing team knows that arena is sold out. I’m asking myself if they are preparing something special for that day? They should not forget that there will be hundred of fans like me, coming for the first time, thanks to “blind date tickets campaign”. They should make them love the atmosphere so they can come again and become loyal fans.
“Haie” are active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and have a Youtube channel.
With a little over 140 thousand likes, Facebook is the main social media channel, with a focus on news and games reviews. According to the number of likes and shares of some “behind the scene content” during the season, they should definitely put more of that type of content. Videos from Christmas market, Ryan Jones trying to speak German and some photos from Cologne Carnival are a great example.
They have significantly smaller number of followers on Twitter (4400), which is not surprising because Twitter is not so popular in Germany outside football yet. My opinion is that “Haie” marketing team hasn’t even tried to use it in a right manner. Twitter account has almost the same content as Facebook and they don’t constantly use one unique #hashtag, which is a powerful tool in fan engagement. It is important to understand which one describes you best and be consistent. Numbers will happen naturally.
“Haie” have officially joined Instagram in December 2014. Instagram is growing so fast and that is the best channel for “behind the scene” content. Less than 100 photos in 6 months are simply too little, and they should use it more. Fans love emotions and Instagram is a perfect tool to create them.
There is still a lot of room for improvement on social media. We have made some tips (they work):
- – create a unique #hashtag and be consistent using it on every social media platform. They are a powerful tool in fan engagement.
- – create a story and involve your fans. Let your fans make content, they can be very creative
- – more “behind the scene content”, especially on Instagram
- – reetweet your fans, they will tweet even more and you will attract new followers
- – make a tweet of the week and photo of the month under same #hashtag. Post about winners and give fans gifts
- – create more attractive graphics on Facebook
- – even more video content. According to likes and shares on “Haie’s” Facebook site, fans are loving it
- – post in English. A lot of people living in Köln today speak only English