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LaLiga clubs score big goals on TikTok

Atlético Madrid, Real Sociedad, Sevilla FC and Cádiz CF are benefiting from joining the world’s fastest-growing social network.

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Across social media, audiovisual content is creating the greatest impact, particularly among younger audiences. In this context, it is possible to understand the explosive rise of TikTok, the short-form video which arrived on the market a little over two years ago. In this time, it has become one of the most downloaded apps in the world with over a billion active users.

As the fastest-growing social media network in the world, there is clear interest in engaging with the TikTok community and creating content that will resonate on the platform. As they look to expand their international audiences, LaLiga clubs have become heavily involved in the platform, often with the support of the league’s digital team.

Four of these clubs, Cádiz CF, Atlético de Madrid, Sevilla FC and Real Sociedad, explained the approaches they have taken and the positive effect this has had on their global brand.

TikTok showcases Cádiz CF as a global club

With LaLiga clubs becoming increasingly international, their development and growth in the digital space is becoming more important too. LaLiga SmartBank side Cádiz CF created a strategic communications plan for TikTok, where the Andalusian club has more than 17,000 followers from a wide variety of countries. “Localism isn’t enough anymore, but a global vision of what our club is and who our footballers are does work,” explained José Grima Peña, the Cádiz CF communications director. “When LaLiga opened up the possibility of joining TikTok, we didn’t even have to think about it.”

Reflecting on the novel concept of TikTok, Grima added: “There’s a major difference as it’s not the message that is the priority, but rather it’s the image. This is a social network for showcasing the best elements of each place. It’s a completely different way of communicating.”

It quickly became clear that there was a need to present an international outlook and that highlighting less mainstream activity would be successful. “We’ve come to realise that international campaigns work better than national campaigns,” added Grima. “It’s not just men’s football that captures the attention. Women’s football can even have greater interaction. TikTok is helping show that it’s not just the football that is important at a football club. A different kind of training session, a special activity or a simple gesture with the right music can go further than a news piece about who we are.”

Atlético de Madrid sees growing demand for content

At Atlético de Madrid, the club’s head of digital development Alejandro Ugarrio notes how quickly fans have embraced the club’s arrival on TikTok, where it has reached 440,000 followers already. “Our fans always respond when we launch a new official space, but in this case the reception has been even more spectacular than usual. We’re very grateful to all of the Atlético fans around the world.”

“On no other social network have we detected such a large demand for content,” Ugarrio continued. “It’s a great responsibility and, at the same time, it’s great news for us.”

In order to keep this content new and fresh, Atlético de Madrid is forging positive collaborations with players, competitions, influencers and partners while working alongside LaLiga to ensure that the account continues to grow.

“The growth in terms of the number of followers is really significant,” Ugarrio noted. “But, above all, what stands out is the view count.” 

Sevilla FC adapting its tone 

Sevilla FC has had a TikTok account since June of 2019 and has now passed the 40,000 followers mark. In particular, the club highlights the ways in which the posts on this network feel genuine. “The change we’ve noticed is the way that the content published is natural, much more real and less edited, plus it is generated directly on the mobile phone,” explained the club’s social media manager José Ángel Risco.

“Consumption is a lot quicker as the users want to see something that lasts 15 to 20 seconds maximum,” he added. “It’s becoming a social network that also feeds other platforms such as Twitter or YouTube, especially with videos that go viral.”

As Risco went on to explain, the audience in TikTok is quite different and this has required some adaptation. “There are differences in the tone that we don’t have on channels such as Twitter or Facebook,” he said. “Those who follow us on TikTok are a lot younger. We’re trying to connect with users who are interested in sport and in football through a tone that isn’t as focussed on the up-to-the-minute sports news.”

The club is also planning to produce more specialised content for the Chinese version of TikTok, called DouYin. It is also looking at involving influencers – both local and non-local – in their videos, perhaps by completing a challenge or by allowing them to perform a takeover of the account for a training session or a match. 

Real Sociedad looking towards influencers

Real Sociedad’s TikTok journey only began at the end of October but the Basque club has over 65,000 followers already, hitting half a million likes in the process.

“We’ve seen that this is a very visual social network, so the content is different to what we publish on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram,” explained community manager Beñat Escribano. “We look to produce short and attractive videos that allow for interaction with the users and it has been positive so far.”

As with Sevilla FC, Real Sociedad is also considering working with various influencers to attract a greater audience to the account. In addition to this, Real Sociedad also occasionally participate in the weekly trends on TikTok, thereby reaching more followers. 

LaLiga’s role in growing Spanish clubs’ TikTok audiences

LaLiga was one of the first major European leagues to launch a TikTok account and the league has amassed over 1.1 million followers thanks to the fun and creative videos that have been produced. As with all social networks, it is passing on its expertise to clubs who want to take advantage.

“It’s fundamental for us to be able to speak the language of our fans from around the world on social media,” explained Alfredo Bermejo, digital strategy director at LaLiga.

“We try to be up to date and TikTok is a very important new platform, he continued. “We can’t ignore this and neither can the clubs. However, we are progressing well on this front, which is reflected in the strong numbers that clubs are already showing.”

This article originally appeared in Global Futbol,  LaLiga’s fortnightly newsletter.

You can subscribe to Global Futbol here.

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How retailers must respond to life under lockdown

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As businesses settle into lockdown, South Africa’s largest second-hand retailer, Cash Crusaders offer other retail businesses – that have also been forced to close, some advice and recommendations on preparing for, and managing through the lockdown. The group that have been operating for over 20 years with over 220 stores nationwide, also offer advice on considerations retail store owners – and other businesses, should make as the country makes their COVID-19 economic recovery.

Follow the rules

Ensure that you follow the rules set out by our President for the lockdown. As bitter as this pill may be to swallow, the longer-term benefits for our country and our businesses far outweigh the frustration and anxiety you may be feeling now. This is not a time to break the rules. #StayAtHome. It is a time to practice human responsibility, not complain about Human Rights being compromised. Countries who initially implemented loosely managed lockdowns, have had to extend to get the pandemic under control, so strict rules from the get-go will prevail in the fight against the virus. 

Secure your stores

By now you should’ve secured your valuable goods and should have ensured all your security systems are in good working order. If you haven’t already, make sure your security companies have your correct contact information. Make sure your necessary insurance cover is up to date.

Keep your staff informed

They are and continue to be your most important asset!

By now, you may have needed to investigate UIF benefits to compensate for your employees loss of income. The Minister of Employment and Labour, T.W Nxesi has recently announced measures that the Department will put in place under the current special circumstance relating to the Corona virus (COVID-19) and its impact on UIF contributors.

The Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) has been set up under the auspices of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). Employers apply for the TERS on behalf of its employees. 

The TERS has two distinct advantages over UIF 

  • All employees qualify for up to 3 months of benefits, irrespective of how long they have contributed to the UIF and 
  • TERS will not pay any employee less than the minimum wage.

You can benefit from the TERS by sending an email to covid19ters@labour.gov.za. Applicants will then receive an automated response which outlines the steps you will need to take, as well as the details surrounding them – including the requirements to claim benefits. During the lockdown period, the Department of Labour will not accept manual applications (to reduce physical contact and risk of the virus spreading), this is to reduce contact between people to curtail the spread of the pandemic. A hotline number has been created by the UIF (012-337 1997) for Covid–19 TERS Benefit enquiries during the lockdown period. 

Be sure to be calm when addressing any concerns with your team – they are anxious and nervous of what the eventuality of this outbreak may be.

Communicate with your bank

Make sure you’ve been in touch with your bank (as they are still operational) and discuss any loan repayment relief or postponement over the lockdown period (the banks have termed this a “payment holiday”). Work with them on a cash flow plan as once the lockdown has lifted, trading businesses will need liquid cash.

Contact your landlord

Ensure you’ve connected with your landlord to discuss and agree on any possible repayment or rent relief/payment holiday they may be able to offer you. Keep the channels of communications open with your landlord and bank – rather over-communicate than not communicate enough.

Keep communication open with your customers

The country may be on shutdown, but the internet isn’t. Communicate with your teams and customers by whatever necessary and relevant communication channels you have available to you – website, social media, PR/Marketing teams, newsletter dissemination etc.

Use this time wisely

Amidst all the chaos this time brings, there is also a silver lining. We all have time at this stage, but how many of us make valuable use of that time? Particularly when it comes to family.  Business is demanding most times so with a forced shutdown of business it give you the time to spend with your family, catch up on outdated maintenance around the house and a period of rest. This lockdown period will also afford you uninterrupted strategy time. Take the time to reflect on areas of your business you can improve or evolve. Strategise ways to do things better or differently. Use the resource available via your own business network as well as the countless online content that is available, to work on a plan for the way forward. Consider your financial, loan and other business administration processes you have in place and look at new ways to optimise the channels and areas you’re working with or within. A host of online learning facilities offer short courses – perhaps consider upskilling yourself or members of your team by signing up for one of these too.

“These are some of the steps we’ve taken within our own organisation,” says Sean Stegmann, CEO of Cash Crusaders. “Having been in this business for as long as we have has afforded us the wealth of experience we’re able to share with our franchisees and other retail business owners to help navigate the next few weeks and recovery period,” he says. “Take it one day at a time and know that the decisions we’re being forced to make today will mean a future for us tomorrow, both in business and in health!,” he concludes

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Vodacom cuts cost of smallest bundle by 40%

The country’s largest mobile operator has kept to a promise made last month to slash the price of entry-level data packages

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Vodacom has cut the data price of its lowest-cost bundle by 40%, reducing the price of a 50MB 30-day bundle from R20 to to R12. This follows from the operator’s promise in March, when it announced a 33% cut in the cost of 1GB bundles, to reduce prices of all smaller bundles by up to 40%.

Vodacom’s various 30-day data bundle prices will be cut across all of its channels, with the new pricing as follows:

30-day bundle size New Price Reduction
50MB R12 40%
150MB R29 33%
325MB R55 33%
500MB R79 21%
1GB R99 34%
3GB R229 23%
5GB R349 14%
10GB R469 22%
20GB R699 31%

Vodacom confirmed it will provide free data to access essential services through Vodacom’s zero-rated platform ConnectU with immediate effect. The value of these initiatives, it says, is R2.7-billion over the next year.

“Vodacom can play a critical role in supporting society during this challenging time and we’re committed to doing whatever we can to help customers stay connected,” says Jorge Mendes, Chief Officer of Vodacom’s Consumer Business Unit. “Since we started our pricing transformation strategy three years ago, our customers have benefitted from significant reductions in data prices and the cost of voice calls. Over the same period, we invested over R26 billion in infrastructure and new technologies, so our customers enjoy wider 2G, 3G and 4G coverage and vastly increased data speeds.”

The latest data reductions will complement the discounted bundle offers that will also be made available to prepaid customers in more than 2,000 less affluent suburbs and villages around the country. For qualifying communities to access further discounted voice and data deals, they need to click on the scrolling ConnectU banner on the platform via connectu.vodacom.co.za

ConnectU – which is a zero-rated platform – also went live this week. It will provide content aimed at social development and offers a variety of essential services for free. Learners and students enrolled in schools and universities can access relevant information for free, with no data costs. The ConnectU portal includes a search engine linked to open sources such as Wikipedia and Wiktionary as well as free access to job portals; free educational content on the e-School platform; free health and wellness information and free access to Facebook Flex, the low data alternative to Facebook that enables customers to stay socially connected.

Vodacom’s popular Just4You platform has been a significant contributor to the approximately 50% reduction in effective data prices over the past two years. Substantial cuts in out-of-bundle tariffs and the introduction of hourly, daily and weekly bundles with much lower effective prices have also driven increased value and affordability, resulting in R2-billion in savings for customers in 2019.

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