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SBD Global/October 17, 2013/Media

Sportel: Serie A Club AS Roma Using Social Media To Draw Fans, Increase Profit

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AS Roma Head of Digital Shergul Arshad said that the Italian club’s social media strategy is aimed at growing the fan base. At Sportel Monaco on Wednesday, Arshad said, “Growing the top of the funnel is paramount because then when you do something that has commercial overtone to it, there’s far more quantity to catch in that percentage that we will activate.” Having 10 million instead of 1 million fans on Facebook and the same 10% activation rate makes a big difference, Arshad added. The way the Serie A club, which is currently sitting atop the league table, is trying to increase its number of social media users is through authentic and compelling content. In addition to growing its followers, AS Roma is also generating money through social media activities. Arshad told SBD Global that there are five different ways the club currently uses sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. They include ticketing, e-commerce, licensing and gaming, sponsorship and advertising and membership programs. Asked which of the methods has the most benefit for the club, Arshad said, “I actually think it’s offering them games and apps every time you launch a new product that they have fun with. Their initial reaction isn’t, ‘Oh, this is a commercial,’ it is, ‘Oh, they gave me something fun to do.’ So, I would say that the fun portion goes up every time you are launching a new app or game. I think that’s adding a lot of value to our fan base because these are new ways for them to engage with the brand.”

STAYING ON THE CUTTING EDGE: Due to a rather limited fan base in comparison to other top teams such as ManU, Barcelona or Bayern Munich, Roma is keen on providing its users with new innovations and products. The club has been one of the first in Europe to regularly use Vine, to launch an official site on Pinterest, and to have a presence on Tumblr. And the club is already looking to expand its digital footprint even further. Arshad: “Yes, there’s stuff that’s coming out, but I can’t really talk about it because otherwise it wouldn’t be a surprise. But I would say that specifically some games and apps as well as a few new platforms.” To keep up with the ever-changing social media landscape, Roma will also increase its staff in that department. “We always have to balance not just the effort involving launching something but then keeping it going. We are right now trying to address some staff growth, as we need to grow. We’ve had only a couple people working on it.” Through its innovative approach, AS Roma has established itself as one of the leading clubs in terms of social media, even if total numbers do not necessarily show it. However, at a Sportel round table on “Monetizing Social Media,” ManU Head of Media David Sternberg said, “It’s about quality instead of quantity.”
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