Social Media and Liverpool have become very… interconnected, especially in the last few years. Since the arrival of Jürgen Klopp, the Social Media team has been a lot more hands-on with the content they are providing; tweets and a recent deal with Snapchat has seen Liverpool increase their online footprint. But is Social Media, which is a broad topic, hindering Liverpool in any way? I do not want to make this into a slander piece or anything like that but more into a piece regarding Liverpool players’ Social Media usage and how that impacts the club, the “Exclusive News” from Journalists and broader topics of that nature. This topic becomes more relevant as time progresses as Social Media becomes a bigger part of our lives.
There are very few clubs in the world that are almost entirely respected throughout the Footballing world and one of those clubs Jürgen Klopp’s former employers…Borussia Dortmund. And one of the reasons for this appreciation is the way the club’s social media team runs the online accounts. A mixture of facts with the occasional usage of relevant “memes”, the usage of GIFs and other forms of humorous media. More responses from the official account of the club is something that brought Dortmund and its fans closer together and this is exactly the route that Liverpool have taken since the arrival of Klopp. Liverpool now utilise their fans creations for the match day poster and this is mediated through Twitter primarily. Social Media is designed to bring fans together but when the club that you affiliate yourself with is doing the exact same, it increases the bond between fans and the club.
Now, the Social Media of players is a different thing. There have been various instances where players have spoken out against their employers but this does not seem to be the case at Liverpool much. Mamadou Sakho did have a rant against Liverpool and Klopp’s treatment of him on a Snapchat story but this seems to be the only example of such behaviour amongst the Liverpool ranks. Other instances of Social Media usage that caused outrage amongst other fans, not Liverpool fans but involving a Liverpool player, was Mario Balotelli’s tweet about Man Utd when they lost against Leicester City 5-3 despite leading 1-3 in that match. The tweet was retweeted and forwarded on other forms of Social Media thousands of times. Many players do not actually use Social Media to voice their opinion on matters but, instead, they are more automated plugs and advertisements for their respective sponsors. This does not have an impact on the player as the accounts are also run by their management or agency.
Liverpool launched their Snapchat properly earlier this season where they showed behind the scenes footage of aspects of the club that fans may be unaware of. This has been occurring all season before, during and after a game. This is something for the fans more than for any financial gain for Liverpool as some fans are interested in peeking behind the curtains and this gives insight into the part of football that fans may not otherwise notice. It also increases the relationship between the players and the fans as the players usually give a message at the end of the match which shows that they are appreciative of the support that they receive week in and week out.
Exclusive information released by journalists…this, for me, is the biggest problem for Liverpool as a club, moving forward anyway. It is understandable that Journalists, as an aspiring one myself, need to sell papers. Common knowledge for the average person but sometimes the Butterfly Effect is not thought about. When I see on Twitter that a respectable journalist has linked Liverpool with “X” player, it fills me with a lot of hope and makes me look forward to that player potentially joining in the future but this could also cause the clubs to react in different manners. This relating more to the incoming players rather than outgoing players of course. Liverpool have notoriously been known for missing out on key players and this is something that they want to avoid under Klopp as he looks to take Liverpool back to the glory days. A recent example of this Liverpool’s pursuit of Pulisic from Dortmund. A £15mil bid was rejected by Dortmund from Liverpool and journalists made in known that Klopp was going to go for him in the Winter Transfer Window, implying that the deal was basically on the verge of completion. Did this happen? Nope as Dortmund tied Pulisic down to a new 5-year contract and thus, a potential target was lost. This is being done again with Julian Brandt being linked as Summer Transfer target. Let’s hope it lightning does not strike twice….
To answer the question that started it all, I believe the answer is 50/50. Is Social Media hindering Liverpool? From a fan’s perspective, no. if anything, it is bringing the fans together and bringing the club closer to its fan base. The way the Social Media accounts are run and the usage of fan graphics for match-day posters is something that is not done as often as it could be amongst the clubs and Liverpool doing this sets an example for the rest of the world to follow. Player to fan interaction could be increased, of course, but this could be very unlikely especially as most accounts relating to a player is not actually run by the player himself and there is the fact that the players must adhere to club guidelines on the Social Media front. Snapchat is very similar to the interaction on twitter as it is bringing the fans closer to the club that they hold so close to their heart. Now… the exclusive news is what I believe is hindering Liverpool and there is evidence to support such a notion. Making transfer news present and available to the greater public allows for Liverpool’s tactics to be known to rival clubs and to other clubs about the potential targets that are available. This is less common than it was a couple of years ago, as most journalists could name the Starting XI hours before the club had announced it themselves. Sorting this out, from my perspective, is imperative for Liverpool moving forward as it would limit the number of targets being lost to rivals and tactics being known ahead of time.