How to engage Gen Z sports fans on social media

Discover my 4 strategies to captivate Generation Z sports fans on social media, alongside content examples from across the world of sports.
Sports social media templates

As a Generation Z (or Gen Z) sports fan myself, social media has always been my go-to source for sports news and entertainment.

With non-stop sports content in my feeds, watching live games is not the only program that excites me. Being part of the dramatic buildup, the athletes’ journeys, and interesting moments during the game through social media is something I look forward to every day.

There are many Gen Z sports fans like me out there. This generation is already the largest consumer segment in the world. And since most of us have been using social media from a young age, there’s plenty of opportunities for sports brands to engage and turn us into loyal fans through these channels.

So how can you engage Gen Z fans on social media? Before diving into my recommendations and several sports social media examples, let’s first run through the key characteristics of these sports fans:

What you should know about Gen Z sports fans

  • Gen Z fans are technology wizards and receive content in just one click.
  • Social media is the epicenter of sports content for Gen Z fans, who use these channels to socialize, receive information, and watch highlights.
  • 73% of sports fans want to access sports content at their convenience, whether commuting, studying, or watching a live game.
  • Gen Z fans enjoy short clips that are entertaining and straight to the point.

Knowing this, here are my 4 best practices for creating social media content to engage your Gen Z fans:

1. Prioritize Gen Z’s top 4 social media channels

A study by Morning Consult highlights 4 essential social media channels for Gen Z: Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube.

These platforms are therefore a great place to start to reach and engage this growing audience. Be sure to produce and publish content that’s tailored to each channel and the unique features they offer.

Instagram

On this platform, you can upload images and videos on the feed, and use IGTV, reels, and stories.

  • IGTV allows you to upload video content of up to an hour. This makes it ideal for match highlights, interviews, and documentaries.
  • Reels generate short, 60-second clips that can effectively engage Gen Z audiences. With sharp and eye-catching clips, reels can boost your views and engagement.
  • Stories are a good way to update your sports fans with information instantly and compel them to check in every 24 hours. You can maximize your branding by using themed frames and stickers that fit with your team’s colors.

TikTok

TikTok has been a game-changer for sports brands that focus on the younger generation. The channel even partnered with the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament for their “Where Fans Play” campaign, to capture the atmosphere and invite fans to be part of the excitement through the platform.

You can use TikTok to shine a spotlight on your athletes, send educational messages, and interact with fans by reposting user-generated content, all while showcasing your brand personality.

Snapchat

Snapchat provides specialized filters to maximize fan engagement on your channel. It can enhance their experience when watching live matches by using filters to express “team pride” to share with their friends during the game.

YouTube

In addition to uploading videos on YouTube, you can organize them into a playlist so fans can continue to consume content that showcases interesting topics about the team.

2. Cover games from start to finish

Performance Communication reports that pre- and post-game coverage is becoming increasingly important. Gen Z fans are inherently curious and want all the information that surrounds a match. They expect real-time information on players, analysis, interviews, and other exciting insights.

By publishing social media content throughout the buildup of the match, you can bring fans on a journey with their teams until the final whistle blow — and beyond. Match coverage can be broken down into 3 segments:

Leading up to match day

Publish buildup content to get fans excited. Create content that showcases match history, players to watch, and the match details. This will give fans better insights and understanding of the game they are about to witness, making it more enjoyable to watch.

On match day

Publish the starting lineup, half-time statistics, substitutions, final results and other notable moments of the game.

After the match

Social media engagement always skyrockets after a big sports match. Other than wrapping up the event, celebrate the victory by adding fun facts to create buzz around the winner. Highlight their triumph and what the win means to them.

The more information fans receive about the achievement, the more reason to celebrate!

3. Give athletes the spotlight

Individual athletes are more popular among Gen Z fans, compared to any team or league. According to NHL’s Chief Marketing Officer, fans want a one-on-one connection with the athletes. They want to get to know their personalities. They are interested to know every detail of an athlete’s performance and what they have to say after a game.

You can meet this need by sharing player highlights after every match, publishing exclusive interview content, and celebrating their birthdays and other milestones.

But fans are also keen to know what is happening off the field. So be sure to also generate off-game athlete content, including media-day clips, heartwarming moments with their family, pre-game fashion, and other content showcasing your athletes’ unique personalities.

4. Create interactive social media content

Gen Z sports fans enjoy interactive content that allows them to express themselves. Increase your engagement by asking for their feedback after a win, or their opinion on certain topics about the club.

For example, on Instagram, you can make use of the “ask me a question” feature. Polls and quiz features are also a fun way to do a Q&A session to test fans’ knowledge of the club.

You can also create content that delivers a shareable experience for fans. For example, you can generate downloadable team-branded wallpapers, which fans can upload on their stories or use as their phone wallpaper.

Thanks to social media, you can now provide enthusiastic young fans with exciting new sports experiences. Maximize the features of these channels to continuously engage and excite them through your content.

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Jeff Donaldson | Digital Coordinator at Tennis Canada

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