In the last few months, we have spoken in length about fan engagement and how it is a key factor in the growth of a club. In the past, we have also seen some amazing fan engagement practices by some of the biggest names in sports and very rarely from some not so known names. Today we would like to discuss a few simple fan engagement activities (both online and offline) that small clubs and youth clubs can undertake and start the process of creating a strong fan community for themselves.
Make your fans a part of the decision making process. When it comes to small clubs and youth clubs, the small fan base they have are usually actively involved with the functioning of the club. That leads them into creating a bond with the club that stays for a really long time. What the clubs can do to further strengthen this bond is by giving the fans a sense of power, by telling them their opinions matter. The club can conduct polls for their fans/members in some of the major decisions regarding the club. It may include decisions like selecting the kits of the season or selecting the club captain for the season and so on.
Weekly and monthly polls While the decisions in point 1 are made once in a season and usually at the start. Clubs can also make sure the fans are constantly engaging with the club by asking them to regularly vote for various awards. You can ask your fans to vote for their ‘Player of the match’ and ‘Goal of the match’ on every matchday. Similarly, you can conduct polls for ‘Player of the month’ and ‘Goal of the month’ every month and 'Player of the season’ and ‘Goal of the season at the end of every season. These polls not only give the fans a sense of belonging but also give you data regarding which players are liked by what fans and so on.
Creating exclusive experiences for your fans. The benefit of being a comparatively smaller club is that you have the liberty of being as close to your fans as possible. Clubs can hold competitions among their fans and hold a meet and greet with the players for the winners. Or other such exclusive experiences involving players and legends can be created. Some exclusive experiences can be created with the help of sponsors as well. That will also lead to creating goodwill for the sponsors among your fans.
Giving your fans a voice. Being a sports fan is an emotional rollercoaster journey. You have the highs on some weeks and you never realise when the lows creep in. And in both scenarios, the fans always have an opinion. Implementing everything your fans ask for maybe an impossible task but hearing them out definitely isn’t. The clubs need to have more open floor sessions for their fans where the upper management and coaching staff of the clubs are also involved. This small gesture will definitely garner loads of brownie points for the club amongst the fans.
Giving back to the community If you are a small club representing a small town or a small part of a city. You are a significant pillar of the community and you need to get involved in the matters of the community. You can hold community meetings, help organise various social drives and various other activities which will help the community grow and prosper and create more goodwill for your club.
Promoting local businesses Again as a part of a small and close community, it is always important to help out dying businesses and promote more local products and businesses. As a club when you promote local businesses it not only boosts the economy of the community, it also helps you build a good relationship with people within your community and your fans. And also leads the way to create more possible partnerships in the future.