Descent Dube, Sports Reporter
CASTLE Lager Premier Soccer League teams are now embracing the use of social media to improve their marketing and communication.
Although most PSL teams appear to have a presence on Twitter, much of their usage is basic, thereby missing a prime opportunity to establish a more effective and direct communication with their fans.
League debutants Bulawayo Chiefs have arguably been the best club in terms of utilising Twitter.
Dubbed the “best football club handle in Zimbabwe”, Bulawayo Chiefs’ constant activity on Twitter seems to have inspired Highlanders and Caps United to up their standards in the use of the medium.
These three clubs are the most active on Twitter, but the difference is Bulawayo Chiefs’ engaging and hilarious nature of their tweets that puts them ahead of the rest.
So engaging is Bulawayo Chiefs’ Twitter timeline that some football fans have appealed to potential sponsors to consider partnering with them due to their potential outreach and marketing exposure.
Most of the team’s tweets are sarcastic in nature and always accompanied by photos to illustrate their posts.
This triggers numerous responses from football fans that back different teams.
One of the team’s Twitter followers jokingly commented that if league matches were played on the social media platform, Bulawayo Chiefs would have no competitor due to their sarcasm.
Bulawayo Chiefs’ public relations have been excellent by ensuring that their tweets are hard to ignore.
Since the team became active on Twitter, it has posted close to 3 000 entertaining tweets, while Highlanders have 990.
Using social media has enabled football clubs to maintain a two-way relationship with their fans. Facebook and Twitter give fans a direct link to their clubs.
The sites allow clubs the chance to reward fans for loyalty with exclusive offers and competitions as well as news and updates direct from the stadium and training ground.
Highlanders, for example, have a Facebook page, on which they post and stream live events.
Of late, Bosso embarked on#StreetFanInterface which was live streamed on Facebook.
Social networks have become a rapidly developing alternative medium in sports against traditional media such as newspapers, radio and television.
Although there are a number of social media options, Facebook and Twitter are the most common types Zimbabwe football teams use.
The major benefit of social media is convenience, as Twitter and Facebook, for example, don’t require special software.
Because of the free nature of these sites and their ability to connect people, Pew Research states that “74% of online adults use social media sites and therefore clubs (businesses) cannot afford to ignore the benefits that social media offers firms to connect to consumers and build lasting relationships”. — @DecoDecent2