The Final Four tournament of the EHF Champions league was held on 30th and 31st of May in German city of Köln. The four teams that attended the final tournament were: Kiel from Germany, Veszprem from Hungary, Kielce from Poland and Barcelona from Spain.
First semifinals between Barcelona and Kielce ended in Barcelona’s victory over Kielce 33:28 and in the other semifinal match Veszprem was victorious over Kiel with score 31:27.
European champion is Barcelona who defeated Veszprem 28:23, and Kielce won the bronze medal by defeating Kiel 28:26.
This is the overview of social network activities of all 4 teams before, during and after Final four tournament.
While working on this overview, we tried to act as “ordinary” fans would.
That being said, we didn’t include Veszprem’s international Facebook fan page in our 1st edition of this overview because Facebook quick search didn’t show it among results. Also, we mentioned Barcelona’s non-official Instagram account and not official account (@FCBSeccions) because Google search didn’t show it among results.
We believe this is reason enough for clubs to reconsider their SEO activities and content creation because if “ordinary” search didn’t find their accounts, fans could have similar problems.
Digital communication often doesn’t have right or wrong answers. We would like to hear from you and hear your opinion (in comments or through the contact form). We like to discuss situations and are delighted to see handball analysis got so much attention.
Barcelona covered this Final four tournament on their official accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Barcelona is the largest and most popular club that attended the Final four and accordingly they have the largest fanbase on Facebook with over 4 million people following posts on their official page.
Their Facebook coverage of the Final four was strictly professional with announcement of the tournament and their semifinal game against Kielce. They added a few photos of the tournament and a few videos of the team’s preparations for the game and that pretty much sums up their work on Facebook as well as their communication with fans.
All announcements on their Facebook page are in Catalan and Spanish language. Barcelona didn’t have any special announcement of the tournament, but they have unofficially announced the tournament with a photo from the plane and a post that they are headed to the tournament.
They have continued to post unofficial pictures of players at practice or giving interviews, like they have done during the season, and only few days before their first semifinal game they have made an official post and posted that as their cover photo.
When they arrived in Koln, the team and other activities were documented with a few casual photos of players hanging out with fans or resting between practices. There was a nice photo of Iceland national team players that play for Barcelona and Kiel.
Barcelona had also put a few video clips on Facebook, one of them being a story about their player Victor Tomas, which they took from their official TV channel that follows Barcelona, and before the semifinal game they showed their fans the inside of the locker room and the final preparations before the game.
After the game they have informed their fans on the final score od the game, although they haven’t put any materials during the game or informed the fans what the score was during the game.
There was no special announcement for the final game, nor did they put any photo or video materials about the final game. They have shortly posted that they have become European champions, and changed their cover photo accordingly.
All in all pretty „poor“ communication on this social network considering all the possibilities that this club has and a huge fanbase that follows them, with whom they didn’t have any special communication on Facebook.
Big minus in today’s time is the communication only in Catalan and Spanish language, which is a problem for fans accross Europe who cannot understand all posts on their Facebook page.
Twitter is a social network which is excellenty covered by Barcelona. They post news every day and communicate with their fans, who follow them in great numbers of 230 thousand followers. All posts are in Catalan and Spanish language just like on Facebook.
Final four tournament coverage in Koln on Twitter was excellent on Barcelona’s side, where they, with everyday photo and video posts, gave their fans insight on what happened behind the scene when the team was preparing for the game or what players did during their free time between games.
Empieza el viaje a Colonia.Desayunando en Barcelona @FCBhandbol #ehffinal4 #FCBlive #playhandbol pic.twitter.com/E5d7MzgNMD
— FCB Handbol (@FCBhandbol) May 28, 2015
Comença el 2n entrenament a Colònia / Empieza el 2o entreno en Colonia @FCBhandbol #fcblive #playhandbol #ehffinal4 pic.twitter.com/GjqoG32wlM
— FCB Handbol (@FCBhandbol) May 29, 2015
The games were covered perfectly and fans could follow the score on Twitter, since there was a post every 5 minutes.
Min 35 1/2 #ehffinal4 @FCBhandbol 19-14 @ksvive #fcblive #playhandbol
— FCB Handbol (@FCBhandbol) May 30, 2015
Also, they have found the time to cover everything with photographs of celebrities who came to Koln to cheer for Barcelona, like the legendary FC Barcelona captain, Carles Puyol.
. @Carles5puyol al Lanxess Arena amb @FCBhandbol #fcblive #Playhandbol #ehffinal4 pic.twitter.com/NC5G6zXuS5
— FCB Handbol (@FCBhandbol) May 30, 2015
By the end of the game and after winning the European championship, a lot of congratulations followed and photos of Barcelona players celebration.
Campions d'Europa @FCBhandbol #fcblive #playhandbol #ehffinal4 pic.twitter.com/G1qu2wg2WQ
— FCB Handbol (@FCBhandbol) May 31, 2015
When we look the whole Twitter picture, we can see that Barcelona’s social network team has approached this social media with more responsibility and professionalism. From the tournament annoucement, to landing in Koln and preparations for the first game, posts have been updated almost every hour, providing fans the insight in really diverse content so they could follow the Barcelona’s story and winning the championship in Koln.
From the team’s preparation for the games and practices, and player interviews, as covering the game itself with posts and score tracking, fans really got the big picture.
In spite of everything big minus is posting in Catalan and Spanish, because most of the tweets were not understandable for the fans who don’t understand those languages.
Instagram is another social network which is covered by Barcelona, where they provided visual content from the Final four tournament in Koln. Their official Instagram account is shared between other Barcelona professional sports teams, such as basketball, futsal or roller hockey teams.
Sections of Barcelona professional teams, shared amoung each other, have a little over 36 thousand followers.
Interest for Instagram isn’t high compared to Facebook or Twitter, which you can see in the materials and posts they put on their official Instagram.
Materials that are posted are not that impressive, and tournament in Koln was covered with only a few photos and videos. Pictures that were posted were announcement of the game and celebration afterwards. Videos were about preperation for the game and watching other semifinal teams playing.
Other pictures that were posted on their official Instagram site were taken from other people, such as their own players etc.
For a club of that name, history and quality that Barcelona has, as well as the number of fans they have and results they have achieved in the last 30 years, it is hard to understand the approach of Barcelona towards using this social network and sharing it with other proffesional Barcelona sport teams.
Also every photo is followed by a comment in Spanish and Catalan languages only, and that is not the right way to interact with an international audience that they have.
Kielce has also covered the final tournament on every popular social network, i.e. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Kielce is very active on Facebook and they cover all segments of communicaton towards fans. For a club that has just recently become a part of European handball elite, they have a solid 170 thousand likes. They had daily posts, photos and videos of club and players, as well as fellow fans that followed the club during final tournament in Koln.
As well as for the other clubs the biggest fault is that they post everyting in Polish language and sometimes it is hard to follow what is being published for a non-Polish speaking person.
Materials that have been published are very interesting for fans and they could feel like they are a part of the tournament, because it was very well covered on the social media networks.
It is interesting to mention that the club has shared some of the fans Facebook status updates, and also before the semifinal game against Barcelona they had a video announcement with a video including Barcelona’s players.
We can say that Kielce did a solid job in Facebook communication with fans that follow their upadates.
There is some more room for improvement in score tracking during the game, especially because they did a lot better job in posts of materials and live communication from the arena in semifinal game, but then they declined in intensity in the match for 3rd place against Kiel.
Kielce has also covered the final tournament on Twitter, which is lot less followed than Facebook, with only 3500 followers.
We could say that there was a solid coverage on Twitter and nothing more than that. Some of the materials that you could find on Facebook, were shared also on Twitter.
In tweets before the games they mentioned the clubs they were playing against, as well as some of the players.
There weren’t any video materials but exclusively photos of the team in preparations for the game and upon arrival in Koln, as well as photos of fans that have followed team in Kielce and the ones that have traveled to Koln to support team.
Game scores were posted officialy on halftime and the final score.
Zagramy o III miejsce, przegrywamy z Barceloną 28:33
— Vive Tauron Kielce (@ksvive) May 30, 2015
Trzecia drużyna Europy!!! @ehfcl #handball #kielce #ehfinal4 pic.twitter.com/wwA78KH52d
— Vive Tauron Kielce (@ksvive) May 31, 2015
Purely professional job done on Twitter by Kielce, but they leave an impression that they could have done more.
As a social network that can „take“ a lot of posts in short time, it is perfect for multiple tweets during the game to track the score, which Kielce didn’t recognize and they have just used it to publish halftime and final score.
There is room for improvment in attracting a lot of fans on this social network if they change their approach and offer content that will be interesting for fans.
As a young club, Kielce has a solid fanbase on Instagram, but with a lot room for progress.
Little less than 7000 fans are following Kielce on Instagram, and the content with which they covered the Final four is weak for what the club has and what they can offer.
Only a few photos of final tournament is all that Kielce has published on Instagram, without any extra or interesting content that could have attracted much more fans on Instagram.
They got the job done, but they have left an impression that they use Instagram just so that they can say that they have it and they are not using all possibilities that they can get out of this social network.
Veszprem has a little over 142 thousand likes on Facebook which is not a big surprise since they are very active. They covered the teams trip to the Final four, game preparations, some interviews and trainings, but they stayed out of players free time. They have focused on their fans and published their photos and videos to create a better atmosphere. They haven’t forgot the people in front of their arena that have followed games from Koln.
They have published the results of all games played in Final four tournament, and after they lost the final game, they have congratulated the winners on Facebook and Twitter. Besides that and game announcements, they haven’t mentioned other clubs or players.
During their games they have status updates about the current score. After the game they have thanked everyone for their support during the whole year.
Big problem is posting only in Hungarian language, which goes for the verified Facebook fan page. Veszprem is also active in English on its international fan page but we didn’t include it because Facebook quick search doesn’t show it among results and fans are not used to clubs having a separate international fan page. Also, it is not verified and with Hungarian fan page being verified, fans could question its credibility.
On Twitter they have a significantly smaller number of followers (4 181). Most of the tweets are shared from Facebook or their web page and rarely there is something that is not shared.
They have covered the games identically like on Facebook, no extra posts or photos. People on Twitter don’t like Facebook tweets.
A szurkolók közül is egyre többen indulnak el Kölnbe…várjuk a képeket, hogy megoszthassuk itt az oldalon a… http://t.co/sSfK0FML1v
— MKB-MVM Veszprém (@mkbveszpremkc) May 28, 2015
Sajnos nem sikerült, második helyen végeztünk az idén a Bajnokok Ligájában. FC Barcelona – MKB-MVM Veszprém 28:23… http://t.co/q2aXVuM29x
— MKB-MVM Veszprém (@mkbveszpremkc) May 31, 2015
Gratulálunk az FC Barcelonának a Bajnokok Ligája győzelemhez!!!! http://t.co/qNaaJNc7tF
— MKB-MVM Veszprém (@mkbveszpremkc) May 31, 2015
During the Final four tournament they have published only a few photos with no insight in the game scores. They haven’t given the fans anything interesting to attract them.
We should add that there is an Instagram profile of fan club which covered the Final four perfectly with pictures of fans and the atmosphere.
Club’s Facebook account has about 117 thousand likes, and they mostly share posts from other web sites and their own Youtube channel. Considering the number of followers on Facebook, there is a lot of room for improvement.
They have put photos of players during their last practice before the tournament and them leaving for the games. They haven’t addressed the fans especialy and they have posted only photos of the fans.
During the both games they have posted only one photo and score on the halftime, but the final result wasn’t published.
They have mentioned other clubs only when they played against them, except Barcelona to whom they congratulated on winning the championship. They haven’t congratulated their opponents on victories.
As with all the clubs mentioned before the problem is that all posts are in their native, German language.
Tweets just share Facebook and other web sites posts, and they have about 19 000 followers. They’ve posted interviews with players and coaching staff during the tournament, before and after the games from their Youtube channel, which is the only different and interesting content on this network.
Guten Morgen, Kiel! Auch wenn wir uns sicherlich den gestrigen Abend alle anders gewünscht hätten, so wollen sich… http://t.co/QOFp7kT3T5
— THW Kiel (@thw_handball) May 31, 2015
They don’t speak to fans directly to improve the atmopshere, and their games were covered only with sharing news and they haven’t published the final score.
Sport1: Kiels Finaltraum geplatzt http://t.co/mm4BDvfVQV #thwkiel
— THW Kiel (@thw_handball) May 30, 2015
Other games weren’t covered, but they published the final score and shared the Facebook congratulations to Barcelona on winning the championship. Their opponents in the 3rd place match, Kielce, weren’t given an official congratulations.
Herzlichen Glückwunsch an den FC Barcelona (Handball) und unsere ehemaligen Kieler zum Gewinn der EHF Champions… http://t.co/2uZW3ZyVq0
— THW Kiel (@thw_handball) May 31, 2015
Official Instagram profile has been neglected for a few months which is a shame because they have over 9000 followers.
There is also a lot of space for improvement here, beacuse Kiel is a big club and fans would surely be interested in content that they would publish on this social network.
As leading European handball organisation, EHF has had very good coverage of final tournament on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Over 165 thousand people like their their official Facebook page.
The Final four tournament coverage on their Facebook page was very good. They have announced the tournament days before the start with interesting photos of clubs and their fans, and video materials of clubs and moments that defined the last season.
During the tournament they were also prompt and they posted reports from games, as well as photos and videos of the games.
On Twitter EHF has 20 thousand followers and they have excellent communication with fans, and have completely covered the final tournament in Koln.
They had a lot of tweets before the tournament, they published a lot of interesting photos of the tournament and the games that were played. They also posted interesting video materials and followed other clubs tweets. During the games they have tracked the score promptly and informed their followers as the score changed.
They followed the events surrounding the tournament and posted photos of happenings around the arena. It is hard to find a flaw in EHF’s covering of the Final four.
The only fans left in the building! @mkbveszpremkc won't forget this day anytime soon. #ehffinal4 pic.twitter.com/09Rj7MX6GM
— EHF Champions League (@ehfcl) May 30, 2015
EHF Instagram profile has a little less than 12 thousand followers.
There is an impression that Instagram was used as a network where you automaticly publish photos in specific order, without much imagination and will to offer the fans something more.
EHF has covered all teams with photos and video materials and their fans, but they have done it by some order and you could easily predict the next post.
They left out a lot of stuff that was happening around the tournament between the teams and their fans, what would definitely be interesting to the fans.
In the end we should emphasize that some clubs have done a better job covering the Final four tournament than the others. Facebook is still the main social network for most of the clubs, while Twitter is yet to be discovered, and Instagram is neglected by most and there is room for improvement.
The organization of the tournament was at a professional level, but to attract more fans that would accompany the tournament on social media, there needs to be more effort involved.
First, fans need to get the insight on all the interest activities surrounding the tournament, and specific events that would then be accompanied on social media networks. This way there is an impression that except the sports segment, evertything else was pretty basic.