Exploring the effectiveness of twitter as a method of increasing feamle participation in sport: a UK home nation NGB case study
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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It has been well documented that female participation in sport is a key area for concern within the field of sport development (Cooky, Begovic, Sabo, Oglesby & Snyder, 2014). More recently in the sector of sport marketing, traditional business and marketing promotion strategies have been applied in order to benefit organisations (Chadwick, 2009). Social media now plays a large role in the marketing promotions of sports organisations, with serious importance now being attributed to the differing platforms (Ballouli & Hutchinson, 2012). The review of literature identified a significant gap in the body of research. That is, a lack of studies relating to female participation in sport at a community level, and the use of social media (namely, Twitter) being implemented to impact behaviour change in sport. Thus, this research study focusses on how effective the social media platform, Twitter, is at increasing participation within a female sport. This case study focusses on the approach of one British national governing body (NGB) to Twitter and how they currently use the platform in order to increase female participation within their sport. 5908 tweets posted by the NGB (between 14/01/2015 – 14/01/2016) were analysed, using both qualitative and quantitative content analyses. It was found that the NGB showed both a male (n=5446) and a female elite (n=448) bias. Further to this there was little demonstration of the key factors that marketing theory suggest are necessary to be effective in changing customers’, or in this case participants’, behaviour. The results indicate that the NGB, currently, does not use Twitter effectively in order to increase female sport participation. It is suggested that a more balanced view of the sport should be given, by showing equality in the content of the tweets. Also, with better application and utilisation of the key factors, as outlined in marketing promotions theory (e.g. branding and communication with customers) NGBs could use Twitter successfully in order to increase female participation within sport.
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