Hashtags for goalposts: a look at the world of non-league football on Twitter

Posted on April 5, 2016

 

An important factor in running a successful business social media account is knowing how to handle it when something goes wrong. Should a business find itself at the centre of media attention, the way the situation is handled could be the difference between saving the company’s bacon or exacerbating the problem.

There is no line of business where success and failure is as linear as it is in sport. On the playing field at least, a good result for one team will be a poor result for another. Someone has to lose, and the losers still need to manage their Twitter accounts in a way that helps them come across well.

The Premier League might be where the media flocks to, but there are more than 5,000 football clubs in England alone. Those at the top will have dedicated media teams and social media strategies, but at the other end of the scale, take a look at this gloriously honest tweet from United Counties League side Sleaford Town to explain their lack of match updates during a recent fixture:

Town haven’t done too badly out of all this – that tweet has been retweeted more than 4,000 times now, and was picked up on by BBC Sport as well. Not bad going when you consider that only 86 people watched their win against Desborough Town at the weekend.

A lot of semi-professional and amateur clubs will sympathise with Sleaford’s situation. With two-figure attendances, money is sure to be tight and resources become stretched, so tasks like social media have simply become another thing that small clubs need to find somebody to do. Usually, that somebody will already have plenty of other jobs on their plate, including actually playing football in Sleaford’s case.

Working for, or even supporting, a non-league club always means you need a good sense of humour too. Here are some examples:

Didcot Town, of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South & West, tweeted the above nugget in the dying minutes of their Berks and Bucks County Senior Cup clash with Milton Keynes Dons back in October, while trailing 14-0.

North West Counties League side Winsford United smell success in a Cheshire Senior Cup tie against Chester. Shortly after tweeting this, they went 10-1 down.

Beleaguered New Mills’ Twitter guru greets their 33rd defeat of the season, and relegation from the Evo-Stik Northern League Division One North on Saturday, with some dry Derbyshire wit.

The interesting thing about social media and sport is that it’s opened up a lot of opportunities for young, internet-savvy people to get involved in football. A lot of clubs tend to be run by people who have given decades of their lives to the sport and the club they hold dear to them, and they may not be au fait with communicating via the internet. Meanwhile, lots of young people want to get involved in football and already know how to use social media, so could do a lot worse than head down to their local non-league club who would probably be only too happy to accept their help.

John Murray

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.

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