Tuesday, 3 March 2009

LFCTV use of Twitter

My favourite TV channel has joined Twitter. I was interested to see what they had to say, over and above the content of the website, TV channel and what I'd pick up through the fans websites. LFCTV is currently using Twitter really well.

I started following the channel the day before the Real Madrid game and it was interesting to read 'behind the scenes' glimpses of the club. It wasn't just that you could follow the flight into Madrid and found out that they drank too much that night - but that there was an insight into the operational side of the channel too.

When news broke of Rick Parry's departure, LFCTV were first to confirm that a statement would appear on the official website.

The good things about the use of Twitter are:
* additional content over and above the day to day
* regular but not over-intense use of the channel
* the variety of content from match news to channel operations
* the personal element which came through strongly in the post match reaction to the Middlesbrough defeat

However, there are a number of areas where they could be still more engaging:
* they recently Tweeted that they were off to interview Rafa Benitez. They could have asked for questions to put to Rafa. The incentive would be seeing your question put to Rafa live on LFCTV - certainly an incentive to pay the subscription
* they have started responding to questions but it is still too much broadcasting and limited interaction
* advertising upcoming programmes. Twitter gets boring if it's just a series of commercials but for particular programmes or interviews on the channel this could help demonstrate the commercial value of Twitter
* match news (rights permitting). Twitter updates from the academy games which aren't shown live would be particularly uesful.

Overall, the Newscounter verdict is: great start, the content, tone and style is great; Now try to interact more with the community and use it to add commercial value.


Paul Rogers said...

Hi mate - read your article, really enjoyed it, wrote out a massively long response to it, went to post it, found out I couldn't as I didn't have a google account, copied the article so I didn't lose it, filled out the registration, copied my email address to re-post in Registration, signed up, went to paste my very long response and all that appeared was my email address - disaster!

Anyway, haven't got time to re-write the whole lot so here is a response I wrote to another Blogger about LFC's use of Twitter about two weeks ago - some of their points were very similar, anyway - have a read - Ta.


First of all, great article – made for a really interesting read. My name is Paul Rogers, I’m Head of Content for Liverpool Football Club and oversee all aspects of LFC’s content on the web, TV and mobile.

Twitter is something that we’ve only been involved in for a couple of weeks officially although I actually signed up for a personal account a couple of months ago to see what all the fuss was about. I have to be honest and admit, at first I didn’t get it. However, I do now. It’s fun, it’s throw-away and it lets us communicate with fans in a way that is less ‘official’ if that makes any sense.

We can be honest, flippant, revealing, gossipy (not sure that’s an actual word!) – and most important of all – a bit more like we are in real life on Twitter. When writing for the website, for instance, we have a duty to represent LFC in a much more formal way. On Twitter, we can revert back to the normal fans we all are deep down. We’re really privilidged to work for (what we believe is) the best football club in the world and the Twitter feed we set up reflects the fact that we appreciate the position we’re in and we want to share some of the stuff that goes on with fellow fans.

Now… please let me address some of the points you raise in your article:

“Various members of staff working on the website and content have been given access to the account and give regular updates of what they are working on.”

We’ve given everyone working on content at LFC – all the TV staff and website staff – access to the Twitter account to update it every day. Some have taken to it a lot quicker than others but hopefully in time, everyone will get involved and provide updates. At the moment, I’d say a quarter of the staff are really enjoying providining updates and getting involved – within a couple of weeks, I’d expect half of the staff to be involved and that can only make it better.

Their approach to Twitter is still very one directional, instead of conversational. They have over 2,000 followers and they are following most of them back, but there has not been a single @reply in their 54 tweets so far.

“It’s all push and very inward focussed. A quick search shows that various people are trying to communicate with LFCTV, but are not getting a response. With the number of people involved with the account (I counted 7 different people just on the first page of Tweets) you would have thought that between them they could have answered some of these queries or have a bit of banter with the fans.
It’s unreasonable to expect them to answer every question, but I do think they should get more involved with the community.”

Spot on – sort of. At first, during our first five days on Twiiter, we didn’t follow anyone but our own official feeds (all four of them – the behind-the-scenes LFCTV, the LiverpoolFC news headline feed, our Community Manager Matt Owen’s feed and our Opperation Manager Mike Crowder’s feed). We thought this would be good because then people would clearly see our other official feeds and possibly follow them. That was a massive mistake and we don’t mind admitting that. It’s not what Twitter is all about and we quickly rectified this. We now try and engage with as many fans as possible – whether that be by following supporters and interesting people or getting involved in 2-way discussions.

Another mistake we made was simply replying to individual Direct Messages and not @ Replies. We can’t reply to every Direct Message but we did try and reply to as many as we could. While this pleased the individuals who got a reply, the rest of the Twitter community was totally unaware we were engaging with fans – even if it was only on a personal level.

Anyway, as we got to understand what Twitter was all about and tried to improve our offering, we’ve started to reply to a lot more @ Replies. We’ll never reply to all the @ Replies we get – it would be impossible to do that – but where we can provide an answer / update / snippet of info, we’ll try and do it. We’ll never please everyone by replying to every message, but we’ll certainly reply to a lot. Some things we can’t say or comment on – we are representing LFC afterall and some things have to stay confidential – but where we can, we will. At the time of writing this article, you were probably spot on and it must have looked like one-way traffic with us talking a lot but not getting involved. Hopefully, we’ve realised our mistake and offer a better service now.

“Furthermore, they often refer to interviews or content on the site without actually providing links. This could be part of the strategy, to come across as conversational rather than pushy, but as long as the links and content are relevant I don’t think this should hold them back. It’s annoying to see they have done an interview with a player, but make you search for it because they didn’t share the link.”

Again – you’re right – sort of. We made a decision – right or wrong – very early on that we wouldn’t use Twitter as simply another means of pushing a message down people’s throats. The LFCTV Twitter thread is supposed to be a bit of fun – we’ll comment on things that happen behind the scenes at work, also comment on things that happen on the pitch and also let supporters know about what may be happening on the TV channel or website. In some instances – eg Reira Tweet you’ve picked out above – there is nowhere to link to because the intereview has just been conducted and the Tweet was provided to let fans in on a bit of gosip before it’s published a couple of days later. WE could wait until it was published and provide a link but we’d rather let fans hear about it before it is ready for publication. If the interview was published, we would provide a link.

As I mentioned though before, we didn’t want to simply make this (twitter/LFCTV) a feed that simply provided a headline and a link. If you want that, we provide a simple LFC News feed (Twitter/LiverpoolFC)on Twitter that people can follow – this was just supposed to be more fun and less just an attempt to repackage what we’re already doing on the official site. Having said all that, if there’s a relevant link or a time of an LFC TV show that we’d like you to know about, we will mention / post it.

Anyway, in summary – I’m absolutely delighted that you noticed our LFC Twitter feed and took the time to comment on it. We’re total beginners at this and any feedback we can get, can only help us improve our service. We’re no experts at this and have a million things to learn but we’re putting ourselves out there and willing to take advice to improve the service we can offer fans. Hopefully over time – working with the fans – we can stay ahead of the Premier League pack and prove that LFC are still a different football club to all the rest.



Matthew Cain said...

Thanks for your long and thoughtful response Paul. I've updated my blog to reflect just how innovative the LFCTV team is and how far you've come over the last month in your use of Twitter.

I really like what you are doing and how your team is using the service.

PS. We've also amended our moderation policy so that you don't have to register henceforth; sorry for the inconvenience

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