By Alex Ross on 01/04/2022

Badminton World Federation's Head of Communications Lloyd Green explains how they topped this year's #SportOnSocial League Table

A big congratulations for topping this year’s #SportOnSocial League Table! What has been the key to your success?  

We are extremely excited about this achievement, and it is a culmination of a lot of hard work from the team. We have been able to bring our vision alive over the past three years and deliver upon our goals. The key to our success has been an improved relationship with the player group that has allowed us to connect fans closer to players than ever before, both on our Anglophone channels and our Chinese platforms.

This has included a dedicated approach to improving the social media literacy of all players through our Star Creation Programme, in which we have delivered intensive tutoring to a small number of players who have then gone on to share this learning with their peers and teammates.

While we have not had exhaustive resources to create a large-scale content team, we have been smart with our existing resources, and what we have been able to do is intensify the appetite of fans for more content by developing a consistent, accurate, reliable and entertaining content offering.

Linked closely to this is an intimate knowledge of the exact types of content our fans enjoy, and how such content is consumed. We are now in a position of constantly increasing the value proposition for fans, so the sport and the players remain relevant. Our fan-first approach to engagement – in which we have explored a more informal voice, particularly on Instagram – has meant our storytelling has become more inclusive to more people.

We look forward to building upon this foundation and working with our badminton community to keep badminton the number one sport on social media.

You also came 1st on Instagram, sharing more content than any other IF.  How did you manage this frequency while ensuring content remained relevant?  

Our frequency of content on Instagram is an indication of the demand from fans. We have enthusiastic, passionate and loyal fans from around the world and all they want to do is be closer to their heroes.

So we embarked on a plan to give fans more of what they wanted. We did not necessarily reinvent the wheel. We focused on the innocent moments, the human touches, which allowed fans to relate to players more. This was simple to execute and very manageable over a 365-day period.

Tokyo 2020 was certainly a successful period for us. We were able to capitalise on our raised profile and carried this momentum into a busy Q3 and Q4 where we had several high-profile tournaments. Subsequently, we surpassed the 1-million-follower mark and continued to engage fans 24-hours a day.

How does social media fit within BWF’s wider marketing strategy? 

We are very aware of the badminton ecosystem and the commercial value of our social media assets running in parallel to our live delivery of television content to audiences globally.

A thriving social media machine creates further opportunity and awareness for badminton stakeholders and ultimately creates a revenue stream that we can put back into the sport. As we endeavour to get more children to pick up a badminton racket, the fact we are igniting more badminton conversations online helps us promote the game far and wide.

What tactical execution from 2021 are you most proud of?  

With no spectators at Tokyo 2020, BWF launched a new fan engagement campaign for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The goal was to ask everyone in the badminton community to #RaiseARacket on social media for all the players, teams, support staff, officials, volunteers and fans who helped make Tokyo 2020 memorable. The resulting influence saw badminton ranked among the best-performing International Federations in terms of social and digital performance during Tokyo 2020. 

How did you capitalise on the Tokyo Olympics? 

Data comparing search trends from Rio 2016 to Tokyo 2020 showed that participation and consumption interest in badminton was at an all-time high – this despite COVID-19 severely impacting the organisation of badminton activities worldwide.

This supported BWF’s own research across the past five years into sports consumption trends and the online preferences of our existing community, enabling us to pinpoint the types of communication tools and available technology required to take badminton to the next level digitally.

We were excited, therefore, to leverage this heightened exposure from Tokyo to launch our brand-new mobile app, Badminton4U. The app consolidates our digital assets into a dynamic, user-friendly, one-stop-shop solution with an immersive user experience in which the fan is the pilot’s seat of their badminton journey: created with the fan solely in mind.

The app launched to great success and we look forward to seeing its benefits for many years to come.

What was your most important learning from 2021? 

There is still much that can be improved about player accessibility and player willingness to participate in content activities. We need more players to realise the full potential of an engaged fanbase and how they can build commercial opportunities for themselves from this. So, we will continue with our successful education programmes as the success of our digital strategy is closely tied to the visibility and star power of our players. 

What do the next 12 months have in store for BWF on social media?  

We are about to expand our content team and roll out our long-awaited 365 content strategy designed to make our channels even more engaging. Fans can expect to see more unique content with their favourite players to showcase a different side to the sport and its characters. 

Check out BWF on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Download the #SportOnSocial League Table 2022