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Football clubs show how to do social media while out of action

Man with idea

Football clubs show how to do social media while out of action

With the COVID-19 outbreak growing and advice changing by the day, many businesses may have to face the reality that they will need to make changes to how and when they operate in the coming weeks and months, so how can they continue to keep themselves in the public eye?

One sector that’s already been heavily hit is sports. Last Friday saw all “elite” football in the UK (the Premier League and English Football League among others) suspended until at least April 3. That leaves clubs, along with their officials and supporters, kicking their heels for at least the next few Saturdays, so what did they do to keep themselves busy and their fans engaged?

Several clubs found novel ways to entertain their Twitter followers at the weekend. Among the most notable were the efforts of Premier League Southampton, who tried to engage their would-be opponents Norwich City in a game of noughts and crosses.

The first half was a slow-paced affair, with Norwich seemingly not keen to play ball after Southampton made the first move. That prompted Manchester City to jump in and replace the lacklustre Canaries as the opposition. The game then took a more exciting turn, but ended with both sides taking a share of the spoils.

Many football fans argue that the closest simulation to the real thing is Sports Interactive’s ‘Football Manager’ series. This was taken to heart by Watford, who tweeted highlights of a simulated 1-1 draw of their cancelled real-life game with Leicester City.

The best effort of the weekend, however, came from League Two side Leyton Orient, who not only filled their 3:00pm to 5:00pm slot on Saturday with real-time updates on a Football Manager simulation of their scheduled clash with Bradford City, but even allowed their supporters to “manage” the team.

In-game decisions were made based on fans’ polls held on Twitter. Disappointingly for those who believe that the heart should rule the head, the collective will of the Orient fans wasn’t enough to prevent a 1-0 Bradford win.

Still, the publicity received by the relatively small London team has prompted Orient to set up a 64-team tournament in FIFA 20, the draw for which takes place today (Tuesday).

The coming weeks may be about making the best of a bad situation, and the innovative behaviour of these clubs might give you some ideas as to how to do this online. For more advice and ideas, we’re always happy to help here at Engage Web.

John Murray
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