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Some of you may have read my blog post last month Can Facebook Fans fill a Football Ground, inspired by 1 Man, 1 Mission, 1 Small London Pub. My aim was to use Facebook to encourage Ipswich Town season ticket holders to share special offer promotions with other fans. This would hopefully lead to an increase and an atmosphere to liken to the Carling Cup Semi Finals against Arsenal.
What did I do?
As there is already an unofficial Facebook Page I chose not to create my own as some of you who use Facebook will know for some topics there are five or six different groups or pages all trying to achieve the same thing. Instead I created a website MyITFC and encourage fans to either message me directly or use my website to let me know whether a) they had a season ticket or b) they would like me to put someone in touch with a season ticket holder.
As well as this I also purchased four tickets which I gave away to encourage people to read and become interested.
The Facebook posts encouraged quite some debate, mainly other users liking the posts but some concerned about exchange details with someone they didn’t know, others asking if we could use the site for away matches, that is to encourage car sharing.
The initial take up was quite slow however in the end I had a pool of 30 people for a free ticket and 6 season ticket holders. What was ironic is after drawing the winners for the free tickets, some of them had already then purchased a ticket anyway as the thought of going to the match had “wet their appetite” others couldn’t make it. Amazingly, one winner came down from Gateshead – it was fantastic to help a Town fan from so far away get to Portman Road.
All in all, I succeeded in getting an additional 12 supporters to the match, 8 of whom were paid, so I helped increase our capacity by 0.06% (based upon typical 19,000) and an additional 4,000 tickets were sold so I roughly made up 0.3% of the increase – not bad for one person.
I’m still convinced Facebook and Social Media fans can fill a ground so am going to continue my mission. I’ve spoken to Simon Clegg, Ipswich Chief Executive who welcomes the ideas and I hope to arrange a meeting with Terry Baxter in the coming weeks.
The reason I want to push this is we have approximately 9,000 fans, so if all of those were to purchase on average two “special offer” tickets that’s an increase of 18,000. This, in my mind, should easily be achievable and the team at Social Media Agency – 4Social, have some fantastic ideas as to how to achieve this.
… and an Answer?
Yes – I think that as more people become familiar with Social Media it will be key to helping football clubs with their attendance.
Certainly my following both on Twitter and Facebook has increased as a result of this activity, I’ve spoken to, and have many leads to follow up in terms of Supporters Clubs and getting their engagement and also now have contracts with overseas followers in Dusseldorf!
So watch this space for more information or if you are an Ipswich Fan and have any ideas either e-mail me or visit MyITFC, I’ve just heard the next promotional match is Ipswich vs Palace so I’ll be giving away FOUR more tickets to this AND trying to put season ticket holders in touch with supporters.
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