Arseblog founder Andrew Mangan explains Arsenal's social media success
Arsenal last week became the first UK sports club to surpass two million followers online, becoming the fourth most followed club in the sporting world on Twitter in the process, behind only the LA Lakers, Real Madrid and Barcelona in terms of following. It is the result of a conscious social drive by the club whose marketing manager and head of social media, Charles Allen, told the Financial Times last month that the club aims to get 100 million fans through the Emirates on matchdays through physical and online presence.
Arseblog founder and editor Andrew Mangan also featured in said FT article (found here; http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/306a4510-349d-11e2-8986-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2EeP3wNYR) and the man behind one of the football blogger-sphere's most successful representatives believes that Arsenal have been a digital force thanks to their early realisation of the potential of Twitter as much as their content.
"I think they were quite quick to see the potential of Twitter, so were well established when it really took off over the last couple of years. And they have the bonus of being fully authoritative, in that the information they provide is implicitly trusted. There's a range of Twitter services too, their @arsenallive account provides commentary from U21/youth matches for example, which allows people greater access to 'live' information they wouldn't normally have.
"As I said re: Twitter, it's information that's trusted, plus they obviously have huge access to the players and of course every fan has a real interest in that. They use Twitter to provide a small connection between fans and players, the takeover things are usually quite funny, and obviously interviews/features allow fans to get to see more of the players and how they think/approach things," said Mangan.
With over 100,000 followers on Twitter, Mangan is all to aware of how the site can help promote Arseblog but believes that it is more productive to use Twitter to further the conversation around club news and focus on producing quality content for fans of his blog to share on their own accord.
"[Social media] opens the site up to new visitors as people share content, whether that's by re-tweets or via Facebook etc. From my point of view I think the focus has to remain on producing content people will want to read and to share, rather than use social media to drive traffic to Arseblog. I think it's dangerous to assume that these services will exist in their current states forever, we've already seen a drop in traffic from Facebook because of recent changes they've made, so the onus is on us to maintain standards in the posts we write and all the other content we produce.
"It is a brilliant way of engaging with readers though. There was a time it was just email, then email and comments, now it's email, comments, Twitter, Facebook conversations etc, and no doubt more will be added to the list as time goes by. It means you're spread a bit thinner, but the way people view content is changing and it's us that has to adapt to that, not restrict people by remaining pigeon-holed in one area," added Managan who also believes that although live sporting experiences are changing, these changes should be embraced rather than "bemoaned" as they mark the future of the manner in which we consume sport.
"I don't think it's better or worse, it is what it is now [the matchday experience]. There's no point bemoaning the 'good old days', because we're not going to go back to a time when people don't have all the information in the world in their pockets. On Arseblog we live blog every game, send important updates from inside the live blog to Twitter, and there's a chat section where people who are watching the game on TV (or otherwise) converse throughout. People want to watch the matches, but they also enjoy the interaction, following opinion from friends or other sources they trust, and beyond the stadium walls that's how it's going to continue. Until the next shift, and whoever predicts that correctly will become a rich man/woman," concluded Mangan.