A strong social media presence has become pretty much a necessity for sports clubs of all sizes.
Even youth and lower-tier clubs are expected to utilise social media to drive registrations, attract sponsors, promote fan engagement, and build trust with the mothers and fathers of aspiring sportsmen and sportswomen.
Creating content that is both informative and visually appealing can be difficult, painstaking and, occasionally, even unrewarding – especially if you happen to also volunteer as the equipment manager of a youth ice hockey team or be in charge of creating content for several semi-professional teams.
“It can take an hour to create a couple of photos, but it only takes seconds for people to breeze through them on Instagram,” tells Mikael Kojo, the founder and chief executive of KojoApp*.
He speaks from experience, having previously been responsible for making social media updates for a number of ice hockey teams in Finland. “I was basically making them by hand. I designed templates with a photo editor for various situations and then posted the updates on social media. I simply didn’t have the time to hand-make those for several teams.”
Such was the impetus for establishing KojoApp, a Rovaniemi-based app developer dedicated to making it easier for sports clubs of all sizes to create professional-like content for social media. The Kojo app is already used actively by roughly 100 sports clubs in Finland and Sweden, despite it having been launched last December.
“Our boxing templates have also been used in India,” tells Kojo.
“We’re pleased that the users we’ve gotten have all been very satisfied. The features that are currently available are working well. We’re still just starting out, however, and we’ll introduce new features to improve the app further,” he says.
The app presently offers a variety of hand-picked templates that can be used to provide fans, parents and sponsors with match-day previews, player bios, score updates and other topical news around the club. An enhanced version with premium features is currently under development, according to Kojo.
“Our pricing system will be similar to those of Netflix and Spotify: an affordable monthly subscription fee that will vary depending on your needs. We focus on the mass, and we understand that you can’t charge 500 euros from small clubs. We also stand out because our app is so user-friendly that no manual is needed. You don’t have know how to use or have experience with a complex software such as Photoshop,” he states.
A big ballpark
The market potential is undeniable: Finland alone has an estimated 10 000 sports clubs. In the UK, the number of clubs is approximately 15 times as high.
“That’s the ballpark,” says Kojo. “Our growth prospects are fairly good here, but our goal is to become the standard for sports graphics at some point, to become the primary option for sports clubs thinking about starting posting on social media. And for larger clubs, our app can be a supplementary tool.”
Although many of the existing clubs are already present on social media one way or the other, there are bound to be clubs that would welcome a more cost and time-efficient tool for engaging with their fan base and clubs that have simply yet to have the time to establish a social media presence.
“Even though there has been a lot of chatter about digitalisation for years, it’s still basically in its infancy when it comes to sports clubs. Also, new clubs are being founded all the time. Everyone has to start somewhere,” reminds Kojo.
He believes the app will also raise the bar for social media content published by sports clubs. If your local recreational football team with a 45-year-old goalkeeper-manager is able to create content that is easy on the eye, surely its professional counterparts have no excuses for making unexciting, slapdash posts.
*Known as SportaPost since 2018