Posted on Jan 20, 2010 by James Foster
Earlier this week, it hit the news that Manchester United has essentially erased the social footprint of each of it’s players. Which raises the question, can the most valuable team in the universe get away with shunning social media?
Let’s take a step back and think about this. The Red Devils are one of the most decorated teams in recent history, with some of the biggest names in soccer on their roster. Since 1964, Manchester United has lead the league in attendance every single season except for 6 years, each of which they were second. So, my point is that they’re obviously not struggling in the passionate fan department, and that’s without the Internet existing for most of that time, much less these social tools we’re beginning to use today.
So does this mean they don’t need social media? Well, I think they’d definitely be okay without it, but using it would offer quite a few benefits. The biggest of these that I see is it will enhance the Manchester United brand globally, making it easier for fans who don’t have access to the constant coverage of the team to follow them and become fans.
I’m thinking that a couple of their hesitations with social media is that they don’t want the players to be building their individual brands without building the brand of the team as well (this would just make the player more expensive to keep around once their contract is up). They’re also the first major team I know of that has taken steps like this before a crisis situation took place (sounds like they’re shaking in their boots worrying about something like this).
So, I think that if Manchester United heeds to it’s decision of keeping players off social media, they should create social accounts for the Club as a whole. Choosing whatever forms they wish, they can give updates, behind the scenes content, and whatever content they desire. For the players who were socially active before, they can get them to tweet from the account every now and then, shoot their own videos, and contribute to the blogs.
This way, the Man U brand is what’s getting all of the benefits, and the engagement isn’t being diluted across numerous accounts from it’s players.
What do you think? Did Manchester United make a huge mistake in deleting their players’ accounts? Would they see any real benefits from allowing the players to be socially active? Chime in below!
Image by toksuede