Monday, March 28, 2016 1:41:00 PM

It's an understatement to say that sports fans are a high-energy group. During highly anticipated sporting events, it's common to see fans jumping off of the couch, doing victory dances, waving their fists at the screen and having one-sided arguments with announcers on TV. Onlookers may view such a scene as rowdy or aggressive, but for sports devotees, these passionate outbursts let them get immersed in every twist and turn of the game.

Now, the rise of mobile of technology is giving sports fans a fast, easy way to share memorable moments in real time while watching live games. Brands that want to hook fans can use the social impact of sports culture to design engaging content strategies that get fans talking, liking and sharing.

Target Fans When They're Guaranteed to Be Online

Electronic devices are a prime source of media consumption, and while one screen used to be the norm, modern consumers often juggle multiple gadgets at once. Sports fans are no different. Approximately 73 percent of sports fans engage with brand content online during the pre-game excitement, while 77 percent do so after the game, according to a recent Catalyst study. Whether they're using smartphones, laptops or tablets, sports fans are active sharers who use game time for both watching and connecting.

For business owners, engagement levels provide a blueprint of the predictable times when sports fans are most likely to be online. Fans use mobile devices to supplement their televised content. According to Catalyst, on average, sports fans use Facebook 5.8 times, Twitter 5.6 times and Instagram 4.4 times on game day. Based on the annual schedules of sporting events, marketers also know exactly which topics are trending and when.

Understand What Sports Fans Want From Brand Content

Serious sports fans aren't casual observers. They have vast knowledge of historical facts and current stats, and they aren't afraid to share their opinions about teams, players and coaches. As a result, brand content has to convey a similar level of excitement and passion.

So, what are sports fans doing on all those mobile devices? Roughly 68 percent share blooper videos and photos, while 65 percent enjoy watching nostalgic moments in sports history. It's not just about collecting information — fans wants to replicate the social adrenaline they get when watching live events in a roomful of friends or a stadium. They can instantly access a global community of sports lovers to see how others react and feed off their energy. To make connections, business owners have to design content that feels real and relatable, such as bonding over strange, funny and familiar pre-game rituals.

Sports fans also overlap with social influencers who covet the rush of posting viral content or being the first to share exciting news. Sports fans want to be in the know about everything from season highlight reels to new team merch, and they appreciate the ease of grabbing quick bites of information from around the Internet.

At its core, sports mania is also a way for people from different backgrounds to make instant connections, whether it's at work, school or online. Many sports fans learn to communicate and socialize through their knowledge of stats and strategies. They value relationships that allow them to debate their ideas and pick up cool facts from other aficionados.

Tailor Content to Fit the Sports Audience

Sports fans take their events seriously, but they are able to laugh at themselves and enjoy light-hearted competition with fans who support opposite teams. They also know what they like and follow through on their interests. In a survey of 2,100 sports fans, eight out of 10 said they are likely to take action after "liking" a brand online. About 38 percent share content after liking a brand, while 35 percent go on to make purchases.

With these characteristics in mind, successful marketers must create content that is passionate, visual and easily consumable. For online marketing, choose formats such as photos, stat sheets, memes and reels, which fans can instantly share with friends. Get local consumers engaged through sports-oriented product promotions or contest-style giveaways. Communicate with language that is inspirational, knowledgeable and witty, and be willing to adopt clever, playful attitudes that poke fun at fan rivalries and obsessions. Our readers are always gearing up for the next sporting event. Contact us today for information on how to target your promotions.

Categories: Consumer Insights, Marketing Tips

Tags: marketing tips, sports

Source: "Avid Sports Fan: 2014 Digital Media Habits." Catalyst.