Anti-Social Panthers?

This week Paul Balm looks at Panthers lack of presence in the world of social media

How did you reach this blog post? If it was through an internet forum then apologies for last week’s article. If it was through a social media site like Twitter or Facebook and you’re a Panthers fan you’ll probably have noticed a glaring omission. You can follow, like or re-tweet official comments by almost all of the EIHL teams but not the Panthers. Why not? To tell you the truth I’m not really sure.

When you look at how other teams in our league use Twitter and Facebook it simply makes no sense to me that Panthers don’t. If used properly (we’ll get on to that later) then surely their use can only be positive. Both of them are free, what other form of direct marketing allows you to contact so many people for absolutely no outlay at all? What marketing do Panthers do currently? The main two seem to be adverts in the Nottingham Post and putting fixture lists through people’s doors, neither of which are going to be free and both are far more time intensive than posting an update on a social media site. Using Facebook or Twitter also means that you’re talking to people who want to listen so, in theory, your advertising is far more concentrated in terms of the people it is reaching. In other words you may not reach as many people as an advert on the back of the Post but a far greater percentage of those people will be interested in what you have to say.

And that might be the reason that Panthers don’t use it. Panthers average attendances are steady and, in some cases, rising. This isn’t the case everywhere else at the moment and they might point to the fact that those teams that are using social media still aren’t drawing the crowds in so why should they bother? That’s all well and good but it strikes me that it is a little short-sighted. Firstly on ice performance has to have an effect on this. We might not have won the league since 1956 and we might not win it any time before 2056 but right now us Panthers fans have never had it so good. Remember we’d never won two trophies in one season before (and not won one a fair few years as well) and now we’ve won four of the last six. That has to have an effect on crowds.

Secondly, social media isn’t simply about advertising although, I admit, it does have a large part to play. There’s so much more that it can be used for to engender a feeling of community within a fanbase. Sure, use your account to tell people when your next home game is (remember not everyone who likes you or follows you are going to be hard-core fans so a gentle nudge might be needed) but use it interact with your fans, find out what they’re thinking and react to what they’ve got to say. You may be doing well now but companies need to interact with their customers to ensure they keep coming back. Take Coventry Blaze (please), you may not have agreed with how they got themselves into the mess they did last season and you may not agree with what they’ve done since but their use of social media at the time to try and create a feeling of community shows what can be done.

There are downsides to Twitter especially. I gave up following a couple of EIHL teams because of their over-use of Twitter. It seemed like they were re-tweeting every message of support they got. There are only so many messages from over-excited 14 year olds telling you how much they can’t wait for the next game that a man of my age can take. I just started to wish that they would exercise a bit of quality control and when they didn’t I simply clicked a button.

All in all though I think the positives far outweigh the negatives. You can reach people who want to hear you and they’ve got an easy and accessible way of getting back to you. Maybe that’s something else the Panthers don’t like about it. They do seem to have a problem with any form of criticism. How many reading this have contacted them to question something, suggest an alternative, or offer support and never had a reply? Too many. The team want to tell us that we’re in this together when it suits them – look at the press release for the stars on the shirt – but do they really believe it or are they simply paying lip service to an idea?

There are other positives and negatives, 140 characters means less opportunities to make a spelling mistake but the maximum number of characters for Panthers would be 125 because they’d have to save 15 so they could use “double double” every time but I’m being facetious so I’ll end it there. I’ll leave you with a summary of this article in the medium in question:

“Panthers, get on Twitter. Interact with your fans, find out what they really want and think and make them feel as though they’re wanted.”


2 Responses to “Anti-Social Panthers?”

  1. 1 StuartTacey July 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Could it be Gary Moran is set in his ways and does’nt like change? It seems like he always enjoys himself on Panthers Radio on the official site, his background being a Trent FM reporter! Come on Gary, this is the Video/Internet age, sort it out!

  2. 2 maureen smyth (@mosmyth) July 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    I have to agree with you, Paul. I find Twitter and Facebook ideal for keeping up to date with news of (most of) the EIHL teams. Get with it, Panthers!

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