The A-Leagues should further embrace the power of TikTok

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In an age where social media presence is a deciding factor, A-Leagues clubs should be more mindful of user engagement and appeal.

The much-maligned competition is generating strong results in the digital sphere, according to research conducted on behalf of the clubs and Football Australia — an area that is becoming increasingly essential as new technology affects how fans consume their sport.

This entails that supporters of Australian football are more inclined than followers of any other sport in the country to connect with the game online.

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In 2020, almost three-quarters of the 442,000 individuals who were following the official A-League’s page at the time were under the age of 35.

TikTok, on the other hand, is a platform that Australian clubs aren’t fully utilising, and it appears to be a squandered opportunity.

In Australia, YouTube has a clear lead in terms of monthly users (16 million), with TikTok gaining approximately 2.5 million members in an average of four weeks in the first half of 2020.

However, according to a new survey, the Bytedance-owned network is generating greater interaction.

According to App Annie’s State of Mobile 2021 study, TikTok’s monthly usage in Australia increased to 16.8 hours from 7.9 hours in 2019.

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Monthly YouTube engagement increased to 16.3 hours from 14.9 hours.

Over 70% of TikTok’s users are under the age of 30, a ratio that corresponds with football’s primary fanbase and should be an attractive growth opportunity for teams.

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However, when we look at how the service is used by A-Leagues clubs, the findings are mixed.

Most have only released material on TikTok on a sporadic basis, which might be one of the reasons for the low number of followers.

Despite having opened their accounts some months ago, a few of teams have less than 1000 followers on the platform, whilst others simply do not exist.

For a team with such huge support as Western Sydney Wanderers, it is a lost opportunity to be absent on TikTok.

Massively supported teams with approximately 640,000 fans (according to a Roy Morgan report) like Sydney FC are present on the video-sharing app, yet have not utilised it to its potential with only nineteen posts shared since May 2020.

The key to maximising engagement on TikTok (as with any other social media platform) is consistency and creativity.

Clubs’ media personnel should post regularly and intelligently by following ‘trends’ and using popular sounds.

They should post shorts of highlights in games but also have their players partake in behind the scenes videos that ignite human interest for a larger demographic.

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TikTok is an application that allows users to feed off each other, so clubs could simply follow existing trends or start their own by making challenges and using appropriate tags.

A strong presence on TikTok should be considered essential.

Why can’t Australian clubs create compelling content that promotes their brand and the A-Leagues?

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Paloma Darjani
Covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2021/22 season. Studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney.

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