TikTok – Are keeping up with trends damaging a football club’s image?

The evolution of social media has been significant to businesses across the world, playing an important role in the marketing strategy of advertising their product/service to the online masses and this has been no different for sports teams across the world.

TikTok is excellent for cross-platform sharing, even if you don’t have the app you are likely to see videos and content from the platform on any social media you may use. Subconsciously, encouraging you to have a look for yourself. In the last few years, TikTok’s usage has exploded, ranking as the most downloaded app in 2021 and accumulating 3.5 billion downloads since its launch in 2016 (Shepherd, 2023). TikTok has the mission to “Inspire creativity and bring joy.” allowing sports teams to display their fun side and appeal to younger audiences whilst aiming to increase brand awareness. However, in contrast to other social media platforms used by football teams, they elect for a much more relaxed, creative and potentially ‘cheeky’ approach to their marketing strategy. Following trends is a key component to being successful and fostering engagement on the app. However, this has led to viral videos from football teams accounts taking jibes at other teams and individual players, that of which you wouldn’t see posted on any other platform. Raising the question, is their desire to appeal to the younger audiences in digital media damaging their brand image?

With the transformation of media and the desire for quick hits of dopamine from short videos added with the potential for endless scrolling, TikTok automatically appeals to the younger audience. However, the marketing strategy of football clubs has always been aimed towards adults as they’re the ones who will spend the money right? Well, in recent years with the hit of global lockdowns and people having to stay at home, TikTok came to the forefront and hasn’t gone anywhere since with more people using the network than ever before. In March of 2020 the platform was downloaded 115 million times worldwide, including 745 thousand from the UK (Nasr, 2022)

With the app having such a focus on creativity and snatching people’s attention quickly, football clubs have taken a completely different approach to the usual seriousness and ‘notice board’ approach of their other social media accounts. However, with TikTok, football clubs have taken the shackles off with their marketing, transforming by creating a new identity to appeal to the younger ages on the app to further their reach and be visually present on a growing platform. Engagement is the key to success on the app and football clubs unusual posts and banter with other clubs/players have definitely gained attention and personally, I love it!

TikTok is a fun and potentially addictive platform which can attain high engagement and conversion for brands and businesses when utilised correctly. Statista have predicted there will be 15 million UK TikTok users in 2025, showing the popularity of not only the app, but the content that is created. TikTok users worldwide spend an of 95 minutes a day on the app (Chan, 2022) . Evidently, TikTok is grabbing the attention of the masses and evolving how people consume sport.

What do you think?


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