The ‘Beautiful Game’ of Social Media


The utilisation of social media, for both business and personal use, has seen an exponential growth in the last decade. Evans (2011) describes it as the next generation of business engagement and highlights it as a vital strategy for businesses in order to stay competitive in the ever-growing markets. This blog will be delving into the importance and use of social content and how it can be applied by looking at examples from the social media top scorers West Ham United.


Social Content

Wang, Yu & Wei (2011) propose a socialization model which hypothesises a direct positive relationship between factors such as uniqueness, peer communication and product involvement, which are the determinants for purchase intention. Now this may seem fairly complicated but to summarise, it basically highlights the importance of communicating useful and relatable content in order to encourage purchase whilst taking consumer attitudes towards the content into consideration. With social media being the platform which many businesses utilise in order to communicate with their customers, it emphasises the need to create such content. Evans (2011) describes this as ‘building an outpost’ on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social content can come in many forms, but it generally follows a similar structure when it comes being applied successfully. Based on the model of Wang, Yu & Wei (2011), consumers look to social media to find content which is;


  • Uniqueness – Content which isn’t just the same repetitive information available elsewhere on the internet. Unique content is usually more recognisable for consumers.


  • Relatable – Content which consumers can relate to and perceive it in a way which is personal to them. This is a way to drive consumer engagement.


  • Engaging – Engaging content is key as consumers are more likely to act upon content which entices them to read on and this also supports the end goal of encouraging purchase.



An example of consistently successful application which utilises all three of these points is the social media platforms of West Ham United whom are considered as top performer on social media when ranked by percentage of engagement per 1,000 fans (in comparison to their premier league counterparts). Arrigo (2017) explains that their custom video edits and unique visual representation of stats were key components in this. The content they provide is; relatable to their audience, unique in a way that other clubs have yet to adopt and engaging to the point where they are in the top 3 performers compared to other premier league clubs. An example of their content is the announcing of new signing Chicharito, which was one of the clubs most engaged tweets, which has tallied over 140k engagements. This level of performance isn’t entirely mirrored in all aspects of the club’s business and activities, but in terms of social media, they have implemented a successful social content strategy.


Measurement and Monitoring

The ways in which this strategy is kept consistent, is through the constant monitoring and measurement of analytics to gain an insight into how the content is performing. A starting point would be looking at the worst performing content and identifying the problem. In the context of West Ham United, they looked at their worst performing content, which was betting related content which was deemed as being promotions rather than relevant content (Arrigo 2017). This stresses the importance of keeping all content relevant and engaging for the audience. Also by keeping tabs on which content is performing the best, a business can keep tabs on what their audience reacts the best to.



Implementing any digital marketing strategy comes with potential risks. Consumer attitudes towards content is the main area in which risks can arise. Some content isn’t always received in the way it is intended to, which can cause problems for a business. Negative reactions towards content can cause a conflict of interest between the brand and the consumer which isn’t likely to aid the consumers purchasing decision in a positive way. If this isn’t dealt with, then it could lead to negative effects on their brand image. Evans (2011) suggests that this is one of the biggest factors behind certain brands not being as creative or unique, as the risk of negative press can be too much for a growing business.

However, with the platform of social media being free, there is seemingly no limit to the potential benefits of creating unique, engaging and relatable content. It is a strategy which will lead businesses into the future in the ever-developing digital world.



  • Arrigo, Y. (2018). Who is winning the Premier League on social media?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Apr. 2018].
  • Browne, E. & British Computer Society 2012, Working the crowd: social media marketing for business, 2nd edn, BCS, London.
  • Evans, D. & Dawsonera 2011, Social media marketing: the next generation of business engagement, 1st edn, Wiley Technology Pub, Hoboken, N.J.
  • Wang, X., Yu, C. & Wei, Y. 2012, “Social Media Peer Communication and Impacts on Purchase Intentions: A Consumer Socialization Framework”, Journal of Interactive Marketing, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 198.

Social Media PR – Can good things come for free?

With the new age of advertising progressively going towards the more digital approach, businesses must utilise initiatives in order to keep up with trends and stay competitive. The rise of social media within business is one of the most evident and apparent of these trends. The use of social media in business is one of the most effective ways to build a presence online by increasing brand awareness and increasing traffic by directing consumers to the website (Brown, 2012). However, social media is a very broad term and can be broken down into many different aspects, so, in this blog the subject aims at the initiative of how Online PR can assist in building content which will entice consumers towards the business.


Modernisation of PR

Veghes (2016), suggests that the internet has altered the path of PR and hypothesizes that ‘online communication makes use of a social and communication pattern in which ‘organizations communicate informally, interactively, and horizontally’. This suggests that the approaches that business take nowadays can be more informal and personal to the customer and this is highlighted when looking at PR strategies on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.


How effective online PR can be achieved

Communication with consumers on an open platform is a free way of both directly communicating and delivering content tailored to the specific target market. Scott (2016), explains that tailoring content to the wants and needs of a consumer can help both drive sale and raise visibility. He sets the premise that there are three main steps which must be considered when developing online PR;

  • Setting Goals: Goals which the business wishes to achieve specifically through the use of the PR.


  • Identifying a target audience: Targeting the specific people whom they believe to be potential consumers.


  • Profiling buyer personas: identifying specific groups of people within the target audience in order to identify more specific ways to communicate with them.

The concept of profiling buyer personas is described as being a method of grasping exactly what specific groups of buyers want from the business and by profiling them, it is easier to help a company improve its overall message, appeal to its target audience and continue to raise visibility on social media platforms (Hughes, 2017).

An example of how content can be specifically tailored to the wants and needs of a target audience is one of the many betting companies which operate PR schemes on most social media platforms. They usually adopt the style of viral and humorous sports content, which ties in with the betting aspect of their business as the content usually parallels current events occurring in the world of sport. Martin Hynes, a social media support team leader at PaddyPower, describes their online PR strategy as a proactive way of dealing with customers as well as pushing relevant content out there. Their social media feed also acts as a real-time news feed regarding sport and ‘caters for the curious and speculative punter’ (McKinlay, 2017). this also relates to Veghes’ point which consumer relations in the modern age can be more informal than traditional methods, but more importantly interactive.


Balancing the odds

Although utilising a busy free platform seems a no-brainer, there are certain drawbacks which must be taken into consideration. Social media is a real-time platform and needs to be monitored daily in order to work. If a profile isn’t managed properly then it may not achieve the goals which it was set out to achieve. Also, content must be prepared carefully as if it is deemed as offensive or inappropriate, then this may reflect badly on the business.

On the contrary, some of the many benefits of using social media include the exposure it can give the business. This can come in the form of increased sales, increased traffic towards websites or international exposure. It also allows for much more personal and direct customer engagement and of course helps reduce marketing costs.

Overall, it seems to be more advantageous to utilise social media PR as a way of reaching goals, but only if it is executed properly.




  • Hughes, D. (2018). The Beginner’s Guide to Defining Buyer Personas. [online] Digital Marketing Institute. Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].
  • McKinlay, R. (2018). Confessions of a social media manager: Paddy Power on acting as a news feed, Oasis, and Donald Trump’s manhood. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Feb. 2018].
  • Scott, D.M. 2015, The new rules of marketing & PR: how to use social media, online video, mobile applications, blogs, news releases, and viral marketing to reach buyers directly, Fifth edn, Wiley, Hoboken, New Jersey.
  • Veghes, I. 2016, “Online PR in the EU. A Study about Online Communication in Public Relations”, Styles of Communication, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 62-80.

Sponsorship: Digital Match-Making

As the world’s sports industry is seeing continuous growth with no signs of slowing down, the growth of the number of people consuming it runs parallel. In the information age that we are presently in, the world’s digital capabilities are flourishing, especially in developing countries. By capitalising on the sheer size of this market, businesses have the ability to reach international audiences and grow their consumer base.

A digital marketing channel which is seen regularly within the sports industry is sponsorship where businesses are sponsoring sports events across the globe. Thompson (2016) suggests that the ultimate goal of digital sponsorship would be creating mutually beneficial content which in turn encourages consumer retention for both parties involved.


(Bacon, 2016)


Looking at the graph presented above, it is clear that the viewing habits of fans across the globe is shifting and this is ever present in emerging markets such as Brazil, India and China (Bacon, 2015).



One of the first major examples of digital sponsorship was Budweisers campaign in which they sponsored the 1998 France World Cup on the Sky Sports site. Cracknell (2001) states that Budweiser’s strategy was to target males aged 18-34 in order to inform them of their business whilst emphasising their sponsors of the event. The sponsorship was a success and has led to the two companies continuing to work with each other to this day.

Another example of a sponsorship deal which perfectly highlighted the collaboration between two companies is the deal between theSPORTbible and Table Tennis England which featured a qualifying match being streamed exclusively on theSPORTbible’s facebook page. Due to sports associations being more aware of the change of demographic concerning viewing habits, they understand that more young people are using the internet to view things rather than TV. Due to this, there was an opportunity for theSPORTbible got utilise their platform, which gets more than 110,000,000 views a week, to sponsor the event (Madill, 2016). This case again highlights the increasing digital consumption of sports which businesses should be aware of in order to exploit the market.



Of course, utilising digital sponsorships isn’t a risk-free procedure and ultimately such large deals can be extremely difficult to negotiate, especially in the rapidly growing market, where the demands from consumers are ever changing. Imada (2017), explains that one aspect of digital sponsorships that is often overlooked is whether the deal is targeting the right audience. For example, a deal which targets an audience of 18-24 males which actually resulted in more impressions from people from other age groups, or females, would not be considered a successful sponsorship. This can be very costly for businesses as sponsorship deals in such a rapidly growing market can be extremely expensive.

Another risk for sports sponsorship deals is unforeseen events which more often involves the sporting committees. An example of this is International Association of Athletics Federations corruption allegations which led to Nestle ending the 5.6m a year deal. Kinmont (2016) suggests that due to many similar events like this happening, sports sponsorships are increasingly risky business. This has also been evident with deals with FIFA, with many sponsors shying away from deals due to corruption. Bowden (2017), explains that this has led FIFA into a position where they are struggling to find a sponsor for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.


Taking the risks into consideration, a digital sponsorship deal still has the potential to benefit both parties exponentially, and this is evident when looking at how lucrative some of these deals are. Of course it isn’t just for the huge global events, as sponsoring smaller events is a much more likely option for SME’s. If executed effectively, digital sponsorships still provide a way for businesses to efficiently market themselves to a target audience and build on their digital presence in an ever growing market.






Bacon, J. (2018). How sport sponsorship is joining the digital age – Marketing Week. [online] Marketing Week. Available at: [Accessed 2 Jan. 2018].

Bowden, E. (2018). FIFA: Russia World Cup 2018 is struggling to find sponsors. [online] CNNMoney. Available at: [Accessed 3 Jan. 2018].

Digital sponsorship 2002, , Centaur Communications Limited.

HuffPost. (2018). Risks of Digital Advertising and the Value Provided by “People-Based” Measurement. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Jan. 2018].

Kinmont, S. (2018). Is sports sponsorship still worth the risk?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Jan. 2018].

Madill J. (2018). Driving Fan Engagement. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Jan. 2018].

Thomson, M. (2018). Digital Sponsorship Benefits. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Jan. 2018].


Online Partnerships: The More The Merrier?

Digital marketing is simply defined as the application of digital technologies and media in order to achieve marketing objectives (Chaffey, 2015). In the modern age, it is key for businesses to make their online presence count due to how influential the internet is on consumers. The use of online partnerships is a very popular, and successful method of digital marketing as it allows businesses to market themselves whilst building a working relationship with other likeminded businesses. With online markets becoming more congested every day, is cooperation really the way forward?

So what are the benefits of utilising an online partnership for a small/medium organisation? They represent an opportunity to collaborate with other like minded businesses in order to achieve a mutual goal. Whether that goal is to create value\profit or gain more users for a service. Ryan (2014), explains how strategic online partnerships are seen as deals which has an outcome which benefits all parties involved.

Listed below are examples of some very successful online partnerships, varying from advertising in computer games to co-branding with other companies.


  • An example of where the use of online partnerships have been effective is Uber’s integration with Citymapper. Citymapper, being the most popular commuting app, partnered with Uber to allow commuters to plan their routes whilst having the in-app option to request an uber to fulfill their commute. The strategy behind these types of partnership, is the sharing of resources which in this case would be the client base. By allowing Uber to feature on the app, Citymapper are taking a small commission fee for every ride requested on the app, whereas Uber are gaining access to the large consumer base which use the Citymapper app. Lomas (2017), states that the integration was a seamless success for both parties and that Citymapper has recently partnered with London Black Cab app Gett.

  • Another method of marketing collaboratively is the affiliation between ClassicFootballShirts and Football Manager. With FM being one of the most played PC games over the last two decades, a sponsorship deal for ClassicFootballShirts, the largest online store for football garments, was likely to be beneficial for both parties. With FM actually advertising ClassicFootballShirts in game, it is being seen by hundreds of thousands of players worldwide. With just a click of the advert, it directs you straight to the sports retailers website. On the other hand, the release of the game was extensively covered by the ClassicFootballShirts marketing team. Patel (2017), describes how affiliate marketing is likely to be a commission based incentive for the parties involved, so like Citymapper, FM are likely to be making a ‘per click’ commission for their advertising efforts.

  • Co-branding is another way that businesses can work together in order to create value. Jackson (2017), explains that co-branding is a strategic partnership which aims to recognise the value of synergising each other’s reputation in order to create awareness about a product or service. Uber and Spotify have teamed up in order to allow Uber users to create a soundtrack for their journey. This partnership synergises the two differing companies together, in order to improve the users experience. This aims for both companies undertaking this collaborative effort run parallel as it can be simply defined as a strategy to create more users.

For a small/medium size organisation, the use of digital marketing can be a very efficient method of amplifying awareness of a product/service. The methods presented in this report are some of ways in which businesses can benefit from an online partnership. With successful online partnerships being a beneficiary to all parties, it is certainly a productive way to build a digital presence.





  • Bernazzani, S. (2017). 10 Examples of Successful Co-Branding Partnerships (And Why They’re So Great). [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].
  • Chaffey, D. & Ellis-Chadwick, F. 2015, Digital marketing, Sixth edn, Pearson, Upper Saddle River.
  • Chaffey, D. & Dawsonera 2009, E-business and e-commerce management: strategy, implementation and practice, 4th edn, Financial Times Prentice Hall, Harlow.
  • Jackson, C. (2017). How Co-branding Can Make Two Reputations Better than One | Trackur. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Nov. 2017].
  • Lomas, N. (2017). Citymapper ties with Gett to launch shared taxi commuter route in London. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].
  • Panico, C. (2017). Strategic interaction in alliances.
  • Patel, D. (2017). Affiliate Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Nov. 2017].

IKEA & The Socializers: Case Study Review

How is a global brand like IKEA going to utilise social media?

Swedish manufacturing giant Ikea, is the worlds largest retailer of furniture and has held that title since 2008. With 365 IKEA superstores reaching 45 countries, IKEA have been recently aiming to increase their efficiency when it comes to listening and monitoring to their customers and also to easily liaise with their partner stores overseas.

The business had an understanding of the use of social media, but it seemed this use didn’t always translate from different regions. Due to this, they wanted to establish a social media presence in which can connect their stores, so they could work more cooperatively and collaboratively with them, as they understood that they would be able to collect and share useful data and insights, which they could utilise to benefit the business as a whole.

With the aim of developing a socially intelligent system to link the business’ together, along with the customers, IKEA worked with The Socializers to establish a ‘broader cultural shift around sharing and governance’ (Brandwatch, 2017). In order to spot and analyse data from around the organisation, they built and developed a platform, named ‘The Listening Hub’, in which they could digitally filter data which is useful to them. In essence they built a social media platform, so they can understand more about how the brand is perceived globally. by using this platform, they were able to gain insights into customer perceptions of the brand.

Cohn (2015) implies that the use and understanding of social media in the present day can be critical for growth and development, and this translates to IKEA’s case as Brandwatch Vizia found how the customer service platform differs depending on region. For a global business such as IKEA, this is critical to know as its key for them to get a clear understanding of where their customers are relaying their customer service feedback, so they can act upon it and look to develop more social relations with their customers.

In conclusion, it is encouraging to see global corporations such as IKEA understanding the importance and impact that social/digital marketing can have on their business operations. It highlights the presence which a social profile can have in relation to their development/growth.

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