By Jan McQuillan

March 3rd, 2015

Blues vs Whites
In the build up to last Sunday’s Capital One Cup, in which UK football clubs Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspurs went head to head, the social media team behind The Football League gave fans from around the world a unique opportunity to show support for their club.

On Monday 23rd February, seven days before Sunday’s final, The Football League released a competition – the first of its kind – a social media battle to really set the tone for the match. The proposition was simple, the fans were to use the following hashtag #SpursAtWembley or #ChelseaAtWembley and the club with the most social cheer would be rewarded with Wembley’s iconic arch turning the colour of the winning club. The hashtag contest was branded #OwnTheArch. The idea being that as the players came out to fight for the trophy, they would see the arch and get an immediate impression of how much their supporters were behind them. (Clue for non-football fans: Chelsea are blue and Spurs are white.)

hashtag contest

 

From hashtags to LEDs
Andy Dodd, Head of Marketing Communications at The Football League, explained that the concept came about as a result of new technology being installed in Wembley last year, allowing for the arch to change colour. “We thought we could use this technology in one of our hashtag contests, and the idea of fans giving a visual motivation to their club seemed like the perfect angle. We just made sure the message got out there, and then we watched the tweets come in – it was amazing how creative some of the fans were at getting their hashtag in their tweets!”

Andy and his team monitored the votes through using Falcon’s Listen product, which allowed them to track the progress of the hashtags. The two clubs (Spurs and Chelsea), The Football League, Capital One Cup and Twitter Sport published regular motivational tweets to show which club was in the lead.

hashtag contest

 

The results are in
In the end, the #OwntheArch campaign received a total of over 500,000 tweets, and Spurs (just) took the majority with 51%.

hashtag contest

In my view the success of this social media initiative really depended on a number of factors: the simplicity of the call to action, the competitive nature of the campaign and the immediate gratification for fans, and the partners involved who supported the campaign amplifying the message across thousands of fans.

The final took place last night, and in the end the Blues (Chelsea) took the title 2-0. The online delight of Spurs fans having “won” the arch was soon drowned out by Chelsea fans gloating in the IRL success of their club. Alex Trickett, Head of Sport for Twitter UK said: “Twitter is the place where people come to share in the biggest moments in the football calendar, in fact eight of the ten most-Tweeted-about UK moments in 2014 were football-related.” Think about it – 8 out of 10 tweeted about moments in one year were related to football, that’s a massive share of real-time tweeting.

Here at Falcon Social, we’re proud to name The Football League as one of our customers, and to power the platform needed to make this campaign happen. We can’t wait to see where real-time social takes UK sports in 2015.

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