Arsenal F.C. is an English professional football (soccer) club based in North London, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football.
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Tell us about your social and digital strategy
"I suppose the overarching strategy is a pretty traditional model - to reach, to engage and to monetize - and within that it's video first, it's mobile first, more and more. But I suppose as well as that, I should point out we have a multi-platform approach. We deliver content where our fans are, which could be across any social media channel. But we have a digital membership as well. We have a unique content proposition on our owned channels - arsenal.com, ArsenalPlayer. We show our highlights, our live press conferences, our live match day shows, big events as well, exclusive interviews. But we have to understand that we can build up that number, but at the same time, you've got to have a strategy for every single churn that will include going to where the fans are.
You have to be present everywhere and you have to have a different strategy. We're very sort of fond of segmentation, we need to make sure our fans can consume the content they want where they want it. And I think... well one thing that's changed in recent times, a lot of your listeners will know that we have eight million on Twitter, we're approaching the same number on Instagram, getting towards 40 million on Facebook, but these are vanity figures. It's becoming, to me, less and less important, it's more now of how engaged those fans are. Is reach that important? Yes, it is in terms of finding new audiences. But for existing audiences on mature social platforms, we've got to engage those people. We look a bit more now at the interactions - those are the stats we look at more when we're benchmarking."
What campaigns are you most proud of?
"I think, just going back over this year, I think I really like what we've done with our summer signings. The way we announced our signings on Twitter and beyond. You may know that - and your listeners may know this as well - Arsenal have a big army of fans on social media, some of them quite angry, some of them less so, and the impatience of waiting for signings is just at peak when the transfer window is up and running. And we had a player, Granit Xhaka, you would have heard of, we announced him this year in a very different way, where we re-tweeted fans who had grown, shall we say, impatient about the lack of an announcement. And they'd seen pictures of the signing being leaked that's in all sorts of things and every other media establishment, but we hadn't had the official word from the club, of course. So when we announced it, rather than just a straight announcement, we re-tweeted some of those fans and we made them part of the story. And when we put the first official pictures up, we made a point of saying that this is your second look at our first summer signing. I think that's just a bit more self-deprecating, a bit more humor and just enjoying what our fans provide us in terms of material on social media.
I think that's been a shift for us this year, the tone of voice is just gone. It's a bit different, it's a bit more humanized now. I think we're much more in touch with our fans. I mean, we'll always act like a club, but I think we think like fans a bit more now."
How do you interact with Arsenal's players on social?
"Well, as you'd expect, some of them are more active than others. Players like Mesut Ozil have huge numbers of followers - millions in his own rights. And we work with him, his representatives and maybe things that we work together on the maybe ways that we help him grow awareness of certain campaigns. Per Mertesacker is a good example - when he was named as captain in the summer we've just gone through, we worked with him to announce it over our Twitter channel. So we work hard with the players. Some are very, very proactive, others less so - but I do think that it's going to become more and more prevalent. I think players are taking more control over their own brands."