Home > Microblogging, Social networks, Web Communication > Analyzing Man-United Web reputation

Analyzing Man-United Web reputation

Manchester United Football Club is a worldwide company that is having an interesting use of the web, in order to spread their brand. In that sense, I will analyze the use of social networks and microblogging such as Facebook and Twitter as well as other ways which are used by this club in order to communicate and spread its brand. What are the strategies that this club is using to spread its name? Are they really effective? What are the weak points of this strategy?

“Only Google, Apple, the BBC, Dyson and Facebook are better known brands, marketing experts revealed recently, making it a bigger draw to advertisers than Coca Cola and Microsoft Says Graham Hiscott.

The success of this company is clear, but how they do it?  I will try to develop and explain these issues in the next lines.

Even if it is difficult to think about the idea of living in a world without advertising, it existed many years ago, up to a point, at least. When companies began to advertise themselves, they improve their results. More customers mean more incomes. As football clubs are also companies, they also became part of the advertising world, but probably the traditional way of becoming well known was being successful in the pitch, playing and winning. Television used to be a very important channel to communicate, to transmit information. However, we have entered in a new era, and now, internet has became the main source of information for the fans, because it is suppose to be “free” whereas most of the matches of the team are via pay per view. So, the great amount of the market is in the web and that is why Manchester United uses web pages and social networks to communicate and sell their brand in order to sell more products and earn more money.

It is known that Facebook is the biggest social network in terms of users,   a  Compete.com  study in January 2009 ranked Facebook as the most used social networking service by worldwide monthly active users. Quantcast estimates Facebook has 138.9 million monthly unique U.S. visitors in May 2011.  According to Social Media Today, in April 2010 an estimated 41.6% of the U.S. population had a Facebook account. It is clear that this social network is very popular and thats why Manchester United FC has an account in it.

Why is Facebook important for your company? According to Mike Gingerich Facebook is important for a business for several reasons, it can help you to:

  • Get found
  • Build credibility
  • Engage with your Target Mark
  • It is low cost Marketing
  • Increase your online footprint
  • Build community

Manchester united uses this platform in a proper way using the wall for communicating news as well as sharing pictures and videos while they give links to their products. Moreover, Manchester United is one of the most popular companies in Facebook, in fact as Adam Bostocs says:

 “United’s official page on Facebook passed another landmark figure this week when its number of fans broke through the 11million barrier” and “Launched only last July, Facebook.com/manchesterunited is the fastest growing page of any sports team on the planet” Moreover, it also adds that ” The United page now has a higher number of active fans than any other page in world football”.

Twitter is another social network that the club uses. It is clear that Twitter is a ideal Social Network for a Football club, especially if we take into account that football has become a global business. In fact Manchester United is usually known as a very international football club, thats why it has so many fans in Asia for example. Thanks to Twitter, the club is able to spread messages all over the world. The Twitter account is public and has some thousand of fants, far from other football clubs.
Moreover, several hashtags are used related with Manchester United as for example #ManUtd, #Manunited, #Manchesterunited or #MUFC. Apart from that, as the club football players are also in Twitter and related to the club, in the section of people results for hashtags they appear, that gives the fans a chance to follow them and if they follow them they would have more chance of receiving more information of the club, so it is a retroactive circle.

Finally, Manchester united Network is the own social network of the club and it is the only one that is endorsed by the official website. Indeed, the Manchester United Network was created when the forum “Talking Reds” (within the official site) was hacked. The official website suggested people to move to the new website instead of fixing the problem with the forum. Thats why this own social network was created. As it is explained in this social network, Manchester United Networks “Is a place to share photos, chat rooms, videos, groups,forums, polls,trivia games and more”. The creators expect that with 500 million fans in the world creating this network would be profitable.  Can they beat Facebook at its own game? Asks Peter Wood in relation with this new social network. Only the time will show us the result bat meanwhile Peter Woods says:

Facebook gives you some interesting base data on your fan base, but it doesn’t really give you much else in the way of statistics. It also doesn’t make it easy to do much with those highly engaged fans. Twitter is a fantastic place to converse on a one to one basis, especially in the world of sport, but again, you never really own the data, you don’t really know much about the people you’re engaging with and because the platform is someone else’s, so is the really interesting data and so is the flexibility. But if you’re a brand like Manchester United, you have the ability to move your fans wherever you want. If you can move the bulk of your fans behind a wall into a bespoke Manchester United community, you’re on to a winner.”


Sam Gusting (15.03. 2011)  Study: Justin Bieber, Manchester United Fans Most Engaged Retrieved 2011.12.4 http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/fangager/ 


Graham Hiscott (09.11.2011) How Man United overtook Coca-Cola to become the worlds sixth biggest brand Retrieved 4.12.2011 http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/EXCLUSIVE-How-Manchester-United-overtook-Coca-Cola-and-Microsoft-to-become-the-world-s-SIXTH-biggest-brand-article828875.html

Jim Edwards (19.04.2011)  “Manchester Utd. Fans Most “Active” on Facebook; Pittsburgh Steelers Not So Much” http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-42748240/manchester-utd-fans-most-active-on-facebook-pittsburgh-steelers-not-so-much/

Peter Wood (02.10.2011). “Glory Glory Man Utd: Can they beat Facebook at its own game?”. Retrieved 30.11.2011 from http://wallblog.co.uk/2011/11/02/glory-glory-man-utd-can-they-beat-facebook-at-its-own-game/

Adam Bostock (27.03.2011) “Facebook page tops 11 million” Retrieved 04.12.2011 http://www.manutd.com/en/News-And-Features/Club-News/2011/Mar/Facebook-page-tops-11-million-fans.aspx

Andy Kazeniac (09.02.2009) Compete.com Social Networks: Facebook takes over top spot, Twitter Climbs Retrieved 04.12.2011  http://blog.compete.com/2009/02/09/facebook-myspace-twitter-social-network/

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