It was a great and instructive hangout with Digisport specialist and former Social Media Manager at Real Madrid FC, Adam Bader. My colleague Vedran and I tuned in to listen to an expert, and are happy to share some insights with you. 

During his four years at Real Madrid, Adam Bader helped the club build their social presence and grow it’s fan base from 4mil to 140mil! Adam talked about building a social media strategy in sport, and he said something interesting:“70% is who you know, 30% is what you know! It’s a very powerful concept!”. I really liked his conclusion about ads: “The best ad is when people think ‘It’s not an ad’. You can see a Nike example before the World Cup last year”.

Here are the best takeaways from the conversation that Adam Bader had with Marcos Castro.

1. Share your knowledge and others will recognize that

Adam started off with a blog about Real Madrid. They recognized his efforts at the club and they asked him to join the club. He was a volunteer for the first six months. 

When he showed his knowledge and produced results, they hired him as Social media manager.

2. Growth and results are connected, here is why!

According to Adam Bader, growth and results are connected because, when a team wins games, fans are happy and they are talking about this everywhere… on the street, on the job and of course, on social media! 

According to this, clubs that are on the top of the league table have an easier job on social media… you can create the best possible content, but if your team is struggling, it won’t help too much.

3. Fans have better connection with players

Fans have better connections with players than the clubs, and this is very important to remember. You always have some players that you love and follow no matter what club they play for. So, it’s important to have these players in the team, they are great brand ambassadors.

The best ad is when people think it’s not an ad… and the best way to promote your brand is to get players to wear your boots like Adidas does in ‘There will be haters’ ad. 

Screenshot 2015-03-13 21.37.09

4. Make fun of your social media mistakes

We are all human and we make mistakes. The difference between a good and bad community manager is how they handle a crisis situation.

As Adam said, “the first rule of crisis management is: avoid crisis at all cost!” You can make a mistake, but the sooner you apologize or make fun of your own mistake, the better. If you have a large number of followers on Twitter, deleting a post will not do the trick. Someone has seen it, so apologize, be transparent, and be honest. People appreciate that.

5. If you run a team with smaller budget, you have to make noise!

The key is to find a good marketing team because it is about the people, not an idea. “You have to hire people who are passionate about the club”, according to Adam Bader. They have to know the club inside out, be a fan, know what fans want, and perhaps, someone multilingual and/or multicultural.

Next step is being creative and creating content. Engage in conversation with former players and use their image, talk to fans and bloggers. Try creating a brand. It is hard to work with a small budget, you have to make noise!

6. You have to entertain fans by telling a story

In order to enlarge the number of followers, you have to give them content, and it has to be special. But in order to sell on social media, you will have to try much harder because it is nearly impossible.

Adam said “the only way to sell on social is by storytelling”. If you want to see a story, you have to see ads by Nike and Adidas. They entertain people using smart ads. I went myself to look for a #therewillbehaters t-shirt when I saw the ad. Multiply that reaction by at least 20mil other fans.

7. In the future, players will sign digital media rights contracts

Because of everything mentioned above, Adam Bader told that clubs will sign contracts with players that will include Digital media rights. That means clubs will tell players what they must post on social media, and this will give club sponsors even more content. As Adam mentioned, ‘any post by a player is worth much more then any post by a club’. 

But, what will happen if Ronaldo tells the club ‘I don’t want to sign this contract because I have a contract with Nike, and you signed with Adidas?’ 

8. You have to educate players on social media

Because of all this, it will be important to educate young players, digital generations! Adam found two types of young players: first type thinks that he is star and the second type thinks he is not for social media.

This education is a ‘must have’ for clubs in the future, because some people got fired because of tweets, and you can imagine what damage can some player do for a club with something bad written on social media.

At Real Madrid, they tell all of their players: “Don’t write something on social networks that you would not say in real conversation”.

PHOTO: Screenshot Youtube


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