SocialSocial MediaHow BT Sport uses Twitter during Champions League games

How BT Sport uses Twitter during Champions League games

BT Sport wants to be “at the heart of football” and that’s why it focuses on Twitter during Champions League, especially this year with its exclusive broadcast deal.

Twitter can be a very powerful platform for anyone in the sports industry and BT aimed to establish its presence in this competitive market, starting with securing the rights for the prestigious UEFA Champions League, continuing with social media to increase its brand awareness.

How does it stand out on Twitter then?

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The right content

According to Mike Norrish, Digital Executive Producer at BT Sportsthe key to doing social well is getting the content right” and this also includes Twitter and the importance of having enough content everyday to maintain its relevance.

It’s a hard effort to “get the content right” and there is also the struggle of the peak content but still, Mike Norrish told ClickZ in a recent interview that “distinct, compelling, shareable content will still get seen” and this seems to be the goal for every piece of content BT Sport creates.

Focusing on visuals

BT Sports relies on visual content for its Twitter presence, as most tweets are accompanied by a graphic, a video, or a GIF, in order to ensure that their posts have more chances to be liked and retweeted by sports fans.

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Graphics and GIFs are very popular on Twitter, as they can add humor, authenticity and additional context to a tweet, but videos tend to be the real winners in terms of engagement, especially when analysing how BT Sport uses Twitter for the coverage of Champions League.

According to BT Sport, short videos in real time coverage have been their most successful formats of content lately and this gets even easier when having the broadcast rights for the content.

From a goal replay, to a great save, or even an after-game interview, BT Sport knows how to keep its audience interested with the best video content they have to watch about their favourite teams.

Real-time content

It’s not easy to cover a big football game in real-time, as this requires great preparation, monitoring and the ability to create relevant content as much as possible, in order to engage with the audience.

Although users love tweeting while watching a big football game, with the relevant hashtags usually being among the most popular ones during the game, it’s still important for BT Sport and the complete sports industry to create unique content and maintain the fans’ interest during the game.

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What will make the users like and retweet your own content rather than that from your competitors’?

Emotional triggers

BT Sport seems to understand that the content needs to have the right emotional trigger to connect with the football fans. It’s not just about posting the score of a game, but it’s the authentic commentary (and the right graphics) that will make the users appreciate your feed over others.

For example, the tweet below appeals to every football fan, as it refers to the well known theme song of Champions League, creating an immediate anticipation for the game (and possibly makes users instantly like and retweet the specific tweet).

What’s more, can you make your followers notice your content, even if they don’t necessarily support the teams you’re tweeting about at that moment? Can you create content that could be generalised to become relevant to a bigger audience?

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The challenge of preview content

Real-time content may be engaging, but there’s a bigger challenge in the creation of preview content, as this is the content that will try to attract new followers and possibly new customers.

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BT Sport relies once again the creation of visual content, polls and interesting tweets to build the anticipation for a game, to remind followers of its coverage and of course, to attract a bigger audience at its real-time coverage.

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Finding (appealing) user-generated content

BT Sport encourages its followers to use their creativity with #ChampionsDraw, rewarding the best content for each game.

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In fact, users pick their favourite drawings by rewarding them with likes on each tweet, which means that BT Sport manages to:

  • Find additional content
  • Encourage participation
  • Build engagement
  • Expand its reach
  • Create a buzz around its Twitter feed

As the winners have the opportunity to see their work featured in all the social networks of BT Sport, there is a motivation to keep improving their work and the results are impressive.

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Rewind

The idea of going back to the best moments of Champions League during the year appeals to the emotional trigger of nostalgia, which tends to be very successful (and popular) on social media.

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Polls

BT Sport found another way to engage with its audience and highlight their opinion with the creation of polls, asking for their predictions and sharing them accordingly.

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Creating an online community

BT Sport seems to understand the opportunities for engagement and acquisition on Twitter, which transforms it into a thriving online community that becomes demanding, waiting for more compelling content at a daily basis.

It’s hard to raise your presence’s standards in terms of content, but it’s even harder to maintain the

Mike Norrish will be speaking about BT Sport’s digital content strategy at our Shift event in London on May 24. 

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