Does Twitter and Facebook activity really translate into sales, or has their potential to drive business around sport been oversold?
Social media has been at the epicentre of one the biggest of big debates in sport for the last few years.
The subject is on the agenda at every conference and every marketing person is eager to demonstrate his or her digital credentials by talking about social strategies and the way that they have put an event, club or brand at the heart of the conversation.
But the conversation has moved on. We’ve all been told that if Facebook were a country it would be one of the biggest in the world and we accept that. We also know and accept that social media dominates the way that key demographic groups communicate and organise their lives.
Now we’re anxious to know what’s next - how being part of the conversation really influences perceptions and buying patterns, and how likes and retweets translate into real cash and good business. In short, has the relationship between sport and social media been oversold?
It is one of the key subjects on the agenda for the 2012 edition of SportBusiness Group’s Sport and New Media conference and there our panellists will discuss the key issues around sport and social media and tackle some of the questions that everybody is now asking.
To set the scene, we asked a group of experts to assess the reality of sport and new media, whether our expectations are realistic, whether social media has a strategic rather than front-line marketing role, and how they expect social media to turn into sales.
This is what they had to say.
Simon Banoub (Director of Marketing, Opta): “It’s very much horses for courses. The important thing is for brands to work out what part social media has to play in their overall marketing mix, and whether it has a role as a sales channel or not.”
Christian Baertels (Head of Sports Marketing, adidas): “The fact that a direct ROI from social media is not always visible and/or measurable does not mean that the potential is not there or limited.”
Josh Robinson (Director of Creative and Integrated Solutions, Sports Revolution): “Rights-holders rarely have the infrastructure or the funds to experiment, even if they recognise the opportunity to turn their social footprint into a revenue stream.”
Matt Cutler (Editor, SportBusiness International): “Social can damage just as much as it can boost a business, it’s not always the yellow brick road that leads to a goldmine.”
For the full debate, which will be discussed at length at SportBusiness Group's Sport and New Media conference in Paris on May 11, see the latest edition of SportBusiness International, published April 1.