Coronavirus. I had hoped to avoid writing about the pandemic but when everything I read at the moment seems to mention it or be related to it, it was probably inevitable that a blog post would follow.
This is my third post on this blog. I know I said in both my about page, and first post, that I was planning to keep the content more general and not just about sport – and have followed that up with a football related post last week, and today.
Being short of content ideas can be a problem in PR, especially when it comes to social media, and for many football clubs up and down the country this could now be a very real problem.
Professional football in England has been suspended until at least April 3, but with the government looking to push the spread of coronavirus into the summer, there is a real possibility that football will be suspended even further.
With clubs no longer able to live tweet games, or promote upcoming games, and with supporters left with a football shaped gap in their weekend, some clubs took a creative approach on Twitter to try and keep up supporter engagement. The following tweets are what caught my eye this weekend:
Now, being a Plymouth Argyle fan, this isn’t a game I plan to watch in a hurry. But I can still appreciate Exeter’s way of filling the gap. Exeter tweeting out a game from the past for supporters to watch live is by far the best method I’ve seen – and hopefully one that other clubs will adopt in the not too distant future!
Orient were one of a couple of clubs, but the first from what I could see, to take to Football Manager to fill the gap. Letting fans pick the team by Twitter polls before playing the fixture that would have taken place that weekend before the suspension. This is something that could be continued until the end of the season, and I believe it has a real chance of keeping fans engaged.
Southampton (and Manchester City)
Southampton were due to face Norwich City this weekend, and their Twitter account challenged Norwich’s to a game of noughts and crosses instead. Norwich, whose supporters chant “On the ball, City”, were unfortunately not on the ball. Manchester City stepped in as a second half substitute and played out a 0-0 draw.
Hull City (and Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
Now, I don’t know which club was the first to play connect four on Twitter this weekend, but Hull City’s caught my eye first. This has been so popular among clubs that I’ve probably seen more connect four tweets on my timeline than coronavirus ones, but it has been done so often now that it is also starting to bore me and I’m hoping we don’t see more of it in the weekends to come.
Salford City (and Walsall)
Emoji charades. Not something I ever thought would get my attention, and certainly not something I ever imagined writing about. But the two League Two sides caught my attention on Twitter with their back and forth game. It perhaps went on too long, finishing 5-5, but it was refreshing to see something different at this stage (this taking place on Sunday), after so many connect four games going before it…
One thing I, surprisingly, didn’t spot over the weekend was clubs playing Fifa against each other. Gillingham did post a video of them beating Fleetwood Town 16-0, but I don’t believe the game was available to watch, or even highlights put up, and I believe it was against the computer rather than against someone at Fleetwood.
Fifa related content does appear to be on the way though, with Leyton Orient organising what they’ve called a “Fifa Ultimate Quaran-team” tournament. While I’ve never really been a fan of watching other people play video games, with very little else in the way of football on at the moment this is something I’m likely to keep my eye on.
If you’ve seen any good content that I’ve missed be sure to bring it to my attention on Twitter. I follow roughly 140-150 football clubs so keeping an eye on all can be a difficult task!
I don’t plan on making this a weekly post, with my next post likely to be a more general PR piece, but if the content is good enough, and different enough, then who knows…