Bulldogs use private Instagram to launch 2016 jersey

Australian National Rugby League club Canterbury Bulldogs took the unusual step of making their Instagram account private to launch their new shirt.

The Bulldogs boast 267,025 likes on Facebook, 47,675 followers on Twitter and 72,003 on Instagram and opted to conduct a social media experiment around their 2016 jersey launch.

To kick-start the 2016 jersey launch, a video exclusive was released to 2016 Members showing the jersey designs, all except for one.

The next day, it was then revealed on Facebook and Twitter that the final jersey design would be released to Instagram followers as an exclusive first-look.

Bulldogs Marketing and Fan Engagement Manager, Arna Hunt, said: In order to make it ‘exclusive’ to our followers we decided to make our Instagram account private – after an hour we switched back to the public settings.

Firstly we wanted to see how many people are interested in our content but choose not to follow us (therefore like you, they had to request to follow)

“Secondly with the power of social media, we wanted to see how long it took for someone to screenshot the jersey and put it out on a public forum.”

It took 43 minutes until someone had circulated a screenshot of the jersey from Instagram across other social media channels, and the club picked up more than 100 new followers in that hour long period.

With more clubs following Membership models, the increasing challenge is how clubs provide exclusive content, such as a new signing, to those Members without someone immediately sharing it in the public domain.

Of course, clubs have channels to try and entice new fans too – which means making content private might be counter-productive.

Creating a separate channel exclusive for Members, as Hull FC have done, might prove to be too tiresome from a logistical point of view for some.

Arna also revealed that Instagram is becoming a higher priority to them as Twitter.

“Each channel is used for a different reason. In terms of order importance, the website is used for news. Facebook is used to push traffic to the website. Instagram offers behind the scenes insights of the players to our fans through good pictures, and Twitter is used to direct traffic to the website and monitor the conversation.”

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