Following on from the effects of social media within football we had the pleasure of interviewing Leatherheads media manager Alfie Gates on social media.
1) Why is it important to interact with fans?
I think interaction with fans over the Official Leatherhead FC account helps build bridges with the fans, the players and the staff, we want to generate a community feel to the club where everyone knows everyone.
The majority of Professional Clubs won’t allow you to see or even speak to the Players before or after that match. The kids and families want to goto a club where they can see Ex AFC Wimbledon players, Sammy Moore or Jack Midson, where they can go in the bar after the game and chat about how M&M Football academy’s going on.
We want fans to be able to goto a game at a good price where they can socialise with everyone and make them feel part of the club, too many teams (even in Non league) are creating this diverse atmosphere where players are living on a different world to the fans and staff.
2) Does social media interaction improve club sales?
Without a doubt it does, mid way through last season we really upped our Game through the social media and this attracted alot of Potential sponsors like Juvenis.
Last season we didn’t even manage to sell Half the Matchday/ Matchball sponsors… This season, aside from a couple we’ve sold all of them.
3) Do the fans benefit from social media?
The fans benefit the most, unlike some clubs anyone can now type in ‘Leatherhead Football Club’ and see highlights, interviews, tweets etc. You name it.
It’s all about interaction, interacting is what will gain you a following whether it’s at games or online, Interaction plays a key part in a clubs social media.
4)Does the use of social media help the fans get to know the players better?
Yes definitely, I spoke to someone who owns a commentary company last week and we were saying that players on our social media are always chatting to the fans, thanking them for their support.
We also tend to do interviews with players and you’ll ask them silly questions like ‘What’s your favourite meal?’ Now alot of people would think that’s just not needed and too silly, however when people read it they then know a little more about that person and for them they feel a little closer.
It gives another insight to the Players life which the fans love and that’s what our media aims to do. We could be all serious and boring like others but would the fans enjoy that? Would we have over 8,000 followers? I can’t say for sure but I don’t think we would. You’ll never please everyone as we know too well but it’s worth pleasing the 99.9% that appreciate it!
5) Does it improve the players performance?
I can’t say for sure but I think when you look at someone like Tom Derry and you’re bigging him up on twitter with his many many hashtags, it gives them confidence, you don’t want to give them too much that they become big headed but you want your players to look at twitter and go “I’m enjoying my time at this club” Small mentions on twitter about themselves go a long way.