what a saturday morning football team can teach you about digital comms

The Tally Vics. They're the smallest team in Britain to have a club shop with fans all over the world. They're also a brilliant digital comms case study. Not at all bad for a group of friends who play for a Glasgow Saturday morning team.

by Davie Brown

When one of our players started a Twitter feed for the club in our first season I couldn't see the point. Who would be interested in 20 guys playing for a team in the local park?

The player left shortly afterwards and the idea was forgotten until a year later. I got a phone upgrade and wandered onto Twitter myself lost as everyone is to begin with. Around Christmas time 2010 I decided to start another feed for the team to see if it might bring in some sponsorship. I soon found out he was right and I was wrong.

Twenty months down the line we have over 1,300 Twitter followers and a brand new set of strips courtesy of our new sponsor PSL Team Sports. We also have several companies as sponsorship partners and most of our players sponsored by people the length and breadth of the country.

Last year we sold 20 strips to fans of the team, This year we are about to become the smallest club in the UK with a club shop that will sell a variety of merchandise.

We've built up relationships with other clubs which have benefited us in terms of opportunities not afforded to small amateur clubs such as playing iconic Glasgow club St Anthony's FC in friendlies. We've also made countless friends both teams and individuals.

All of these things have happened as a result of using social media to connect with people. We set out to try and make people feel involved in what we do as a club. As a result there are people who will perhaps never see Tantallon Victoria play in the flesh but who, through the connections made with social media, would identify themselves as Tally Vic fans.

Interaction is central to our success.

At a time when professional clubs are increasingly businesses and the players are increasingly distant small clubs can use social media to encourage a sense of community around them.

It matters not how far apart the people in that community are they are still able to contribute and be engaged with the club and even the players. 

The feed is also, to an extent, satire as we try and do everything media wise that the professional clubs do but with the punchline always being that we are just a group of friends on a council park playing for the love of the game.

A sense of humour about ourselves and the game is always to the forefront of what we do. We do not think we are the best team in the world but out players are honest, hard working and I like to think they play with passion for a club that they love.

They are just ordinary guys who play for recreation. They had dreams of playing for Celtic or Rangers but alas it was not to be. Social media has allowed us to get them recognition for their efforts and perhaps let them feel they play for a club that is more than just an ordinary amateur team. A club that's a bit different and maybe even special.

There are far too many bad Twitter football stories in the media. When used correctly Twitter and other social media is a hugely empowering tool not only for clubs and organisations like ours but also for even the smallest of businesses. I think we and other clubs like us using similar techniques are a great example of the kind of positive Twitter stories.

Davie Brown is PR director for Tantallon Victoria Football Club who play in the 2nd Division of the Strathclyde Saturday Morning Football League. Their Twitter @thetallyvics is here.

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