BVB, FC Bayern, La Liga: TikTok’s the Way to Approach the Fans of Tomorrow

After Inter Milan and AS Monaco, German heavyweights Borussia Dortmund have entered the popular and ever growing app TikTok – which should expose them to many young audiences across the globe.

TikTok is one of the fastest-growing Social Media apps and is especially important to young audiences as well as those in different markets like the US and China. That’s why a number of clubs or leagues have decided to take the application by storm. Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich opened their accounts in the context of their recent “Klassiker“, while La Liga also bring funny videos from their world stars to the users’ smartphones. For the incredible growth of the app might just be a development too important to miss for any club that operates as a global brand these days.

TikTok takes on Instagram and Co.

Yes, TikTok is fairly different from Instagram or Snapchat, yet it fascinates a whole lot of people. There’s no denying that, as in the first quarter of 2019 alone, the app added 188 million new users – a 70 per cent growth compared to Q1 2018. That’s according to data from SensorTower. To date, TikTok has got over a billion downloads and generated over 80 million US dollar from in-app purchases. TikTok was only behind WhatsApp and the Messenger from Facebook when it comes to downloads of non-gaming apps in Q1 2019.

Top non-game mobile apps in Q1 2019, © SensorTower

Also, it was top in terms of overall downloads in the US for Social Media apps in the same period. These data show how important the service has become to users, who just want to consume some funny, yet inspirational short-form video.

While Inter Milan have been one of the very fist clubs to appear on TikTok, other clubs have followed suit. Olympique de Marseille or AS Monaco have recently joined the app with their very own content.

And now the giants of the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – after meeting in a decisive match a few weeks back –, will also vie on that Social Media platform. First, the BVB started their account with Marco Reus announcing their channel.

It has already over 80k followers despite not having too much content yet.

The BVB account on TikTok, screenshot TikTok

And only last Friday, the FC Bayern Munich officially informed about the launch of their very own account. Keeping up with the Motto “Make every second count“ – which is related to the content being no longer than 15 seconds on TikTok – Bayern are looking for even more engagement from fans. Not only in Germany, but in the US, in Asia and anywhere in the world really.

The club also notes which advantage the app might have compared to other Social Media services: it can be used without account once you scan a QR code to get started. That makes it easier for fans to get in touch. The German record champions and now once again league leaders have around 18k followers right now – but should gain more once they start to provide more content and more regularly as well.

La Liga see the potential as well

Another entity using the fascinating appeal of TikTok is the Spanish La Liga. Lately, they have started to offer fans content on the app as well.

And they seem to have understood how to bring up creative content in the short form.

La Liga promise the best short-form content about their various stars such as Messi, Griezmann or Modrić, but for now have only about 12k followers. With time and good content, though, these numbers might well rise.

Borussia Dortmund right now have overtaken Bayern Munich, AS Monaco, La Liga or even early adopters Inter Milan in terms of followers. Probably that is also down to Marco Reus’ prominence in Asia and other markets. The club from the Ruhr area are looking to show behind-the-scenes material as well as UGC and training footage.

Despite the rise of TikTok and its undoubted popularity, mainly amongst younger users, it’s not clear yet how important it really is to become for a brand’s and therefore also a football club’s marketing mix. If the provided content is not tailored for the audience or unauthentic, there possibly won’t be a lot of followers interested in the account. Furthermore, it is hard to see advantages beyond user engagement such as likes or shares. Maybe Instagram does offer a more mature marketing alternative, since all the shopping solutions are tied to the app; and probably a lot of clubs, who haven’t yet embraced the idea of going to TikTok, are not totally wrong about that. Still, club’s Social Media managers should give it a try, if they have a proper strategy to leverage the audience and its hunger for short-term content. And a lot of clubs are currently doing that. If the opportunity for brand collaborations arrives, the app might be of even more interest on an economical level, too.

TikTok isn’t wholly untroubled, though. The BBC just reported that the app fails to suspend accounts that send sexual messages to teens and children. So, the app, which has 500 million active users, could face more scrutiny. Apart from that, it definitely offers a route to the attention of audiences that possibly tend to have more of a distance to football as some older fans remeber it, as it used to be. That alone is valuable for clubs and a reason why so many are turning their attention to TikTok – which should only be a supplementary solution besides Instagram, Facebook, Weibo, Snapchat etc. Eventually, it comes down to the strategy a club is pursuing in Social Media as the jury’s out on how important TikTok is going to be in terms of generating real value like revenue. But attention happens to be a major factor for marketing strategies, which makes the TikTok adoption so promising; it should just not be the end of the road, because users and fans not only want content, but stories as well. That’s what keeps them interested and potentially has them spending on merch, tickets or even digital goods.

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