Facebook and Twitter in the context of customer-based brand equity : analyzing Liverpool FC's posts and comparing the perceptions of UK and Greek fan clubs
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The growth and penetration of social media provide professional sport clubs with a powerful tool to communicate their brand to a worldwide fan base. This study aimed to provide an understanding of how Liverpool FC uses Facebook and Twitter in terms of communication tools and brand attributes and how its fan base engages to this usage in terms of key responding features of Facebook and Twitter. In addition, it aimed to analyze and compare UK and Greek fan clubs in terms of engagement, perceived brand benefits and effects in their consumption behavior. A mixed method case study design has been applied using content analysis, online questionnaires as well as focus group and one to one interviews. The research confirms the literature models of sports brand image in terms of identified product and non-product related brand attributes and brand benefits and enhances the literature on customer-based brand equity of sport clubs by taking a combined view of the usage of Facebook and Twitter by a professional football club as well as its fans in this context. From a practical standpoint, the study offers an evaluation of the clubs’ social media presence by its fans, providing valuable insights as far as the design of the most appropriate marketing strategy is concerned. In addition, the study confirms the existence of a positive relationship between social media usage and professional football club revenues either through the impact of brand attributes on sport consumer buying behavior or through increased sponsorship value.