For my sins, I grew up a fan of Colwyn Bay Football Club, the local football club in the town I grew up in. Shunning the mid 90’s and early 00’s Premier League, I spent my Saturday afternoons in the Shed End of Llanelian Road, watching the beloved Seagulls be distinctly average in the Northern Premier League.
University came, and whilst I went away for 3 years, I returned to my home town, and continued to watch The Seagulls. I even started going away, to glamorous locations such as Cammell Laird, Mossley, Belper and North Ferriby. Occasionally we play big teams like Chester and Stockport County but it’s the small teams and the home games I enjoy most. The point of all this is that if you cut me in half I’d bleed claret and blue.
Over the years, I took over various projects, helping launch a more effective social media presence (changing from a personal profile entitled Colwyn Bay FC to a Facebook Page), and helping grow the Colwyn Bay FC twitter account. I also switched the site to a WordPress based solution, which has helped the site grow – all without having a huge amount of impact on my time, as the site now runs itself by and large.
Fast forward to last Tuesday. My association with the football club at the moment is a bit lax, with me being in Manchester, I usually just maintain the social accounts and post occasional stories, and the occasional “humourous” tweet. It was on Tuesday where I thought that I’d respond to the news that Yaya Toure would be out of the door following Agent reports that his birthday had been forgotten in a couple of tweets.
After hearing the news that Yaya Toure may leave Manchester City after having nobody wish him a happy birthday…. (1/2)
— Colwyn Bay FC (@ColwynBayFC) May 20, 2014
……We would like to wish Yaya Toure a belated happy birthday from all your friends at Colwyn Bay Football Club. (2/2)
— Colwyn Bay FC (@ColwynBayFC) May 20, 2014
I posted it, but didn’t think anything more of it.
Something about the tweet though did capture a few people’s imagination, and the first big breakthrough was that Paddy Power’s Twitter Account retweeted it. About 45 minutes later, an article appeared on the Metro (though I always object to the word “Minnows”). It was retweeted by a bunch of popular accounts:-
Yaya on his way to Colwyn? RT @ColwynBayFC: We would like to wish Yaya Toure a belated happy birthday from all your friends at Colwyn Bay
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) May 20, 2014
BREAKING: Conference side Colwyn Bay are now favourites to sign Yaya Toure this Summer. pic.twitter.com/lfFgE39hJz
— BBC Sporf (@BBCSporf) May 20, 2014
Colwyn Bay FC early favourites to sign Yaya Toure. pic.twitter.com/5jR3t2w0qI
— TheSPORTbible (@TSBible) May 20, 2014
And trended in the UK….
— Trendsmap UK (@TrendsUK) May 20, 2014
Eventually made it’s way into local newspapers the Daily Post, Manchester Evening News & Western Gazette (when Yeovil Town upped our bid with a birthday cake). Finally, it was brought up in the Simon Mayo show on BBC Radio 2.
In short, 4 days after the tweet, I received the following:-
- 2788 Retweets (994 1st Tweet, 1,794 2nd Tweet)
- 982 Favourites (294 1st Tweet, 688 2nd Tweet)
- 41 Replies (3 1st Tweet, 38 2nd Tweet)
Traffic wise to the site there was a small increase on the Tuesday, but not a massive spike.
Nevertheless, a pretty good return for somebody prefers to deal with code and numbers than social media.
I’m not one of those social media thought leaders, so I don’t know if there’s a lesson behind it, but I think here’s what I’ve learned:-
- Build Up Your Connections First – The Bay’s follower list is quite a mish mash of fans, rival clubs, authorities and journalists, so I wasn’t starting completely from scratch. Even our most self promoting of tweets get a few retweets, so I was confident when I put the tweet out I’d get a few people retweeting it. Not over a thousand though.
- Be funny, but not hurtful – I’m quite self deprecating on the twitter account, and try and inject humour into the tweets. Do I think Yaya Toure would ever play for the Mighty Seagulls? Probably not. A good barometer is if I chuckle, then it’ll probably make a few other people chuckle.With that said, I try and tweet in a way that doesn’t have a laugh in expense of others. Unfortunately, there are cases of twitter profiles run by football clubs at our level whereby half of the tweets are getting one over on rivals. I do believe there should be some level of professionalism.
- Be quick – This tweet was pretty much the opposite of the 45 days to write a tweet by committee. With a board of directors who are mostly north of 70, I don’t think they are even aware of the coverage they got. However, the club on the whole were happy with the coverage. This probably wouldn’t have happened if I had to okay content to go out. Admittedly it’s a small football club, not a large business, so we can be agile. Try and be as agile and quick with your social media as you can be.
And finally, if nothing else, go and watch your local team play. Unfortunately where I live my nearest team is Manchester United, but every so often I wander down to see Maine Road or West Didsbury & Chorlton play in the North West Counties League. Non League Day takes place on the 6th of September. Go and support your local team, I’m sure Yaya Toure and co would do just fine without you.