Mr Hardy, please leave… Twitter

Alan Hardy Twitter

I understand why any football chairmen might want to use social media, but please be careful what you tweet. Us Notts fans are the most stressed in the land and absolutely desperate for the good times to return – or just any kind of win, really!

It’s very early days but new owner Alan Hardy is using his Twitter account as his main communication tool, which history has shown us can be quite dangerous. I know Mr Hardy is being very transparent and gaining many supporters in the process but you must be able to manage expectations. Can you do that in just 140 characters?

Fans are already hanging on his every word. What happens when things don’t go quite right? Will he continue to be so open and honest?

The new chairman has already announced that the new manager will provide ‘long term security’. Quite a bold statement given that Notts haven’t had a manager start and finish a season since Ian McParland in 2008/09. What happens if it goes disastrously wrong?

Announcing the night before the Morecambe game that a youth player will play. What if caretaker manager Alan Smith had a change of heart? Many former Notts managers I worked with during my time in the Meadow Lane media department would have gone absolutely crazy having seen that. How many other chairmen do this?

And, after an embarrassing, soul destroying defeat to one of the sides down the bottom on Saturday, Mr Hardy gets tongues wagging with his ‘snag’ comment. All leading to further rumour and puzzlement. Will the media ask about the snag at the first press conference? Will we ever find out? Probably not, but the comment certainly leads to things that the fans shouldn’t need to find out via a tweet, perhaps a carefully worded statement to keep his positive vibes intact and away from Chinese whispers would be better?

I believe he could use so many different ways to communicate in an effective manner:

Use the media team
Use their communications expertise and use the official website. You pay their wages, so get the most out of them. We’ve seen Jason Turner use the website well recently but Mad Dog Martin Allen was the master of this. During his time at Meadow Lane, the media team had to type out his words verbatim for his ‘Manager’s Message’. This would show Mr Hardy’s personality, his future plans and give an official voice, which couldn’t get twisted.

Talk to fans
Clearly this is something Mr Hardy enjoys doing, judging by his tweets. Why not use an online chat room to talk to fans directly? Or have a Facebook Live interview with fans through the official channels. If you really want to use Twitter, do a Twitter Takeover regularly.

Organise a fans forum
One of the best ways to talk to your customers is sit them down in front of you. Get the media team to live tweet/film the event so fans further afield don’t miss out. Jim Rodwell, although not a fans favourite, was great at them, answering questions for hours.

Get the local media onside early
I believe Mr Hardy does this effectively, judging by his many articles in the local paper, so I don’t think this will be a problem. By using BBC Radio Nottingham and the Nottingham Post regularly, he gives Notts another audience and another platform to promote the club.

I’m personally hoping that Mr Hardy’s social media is just early enthusiasm and once he’s finally confirmed into the boardroom, he will continue to use his positive vibes through other channels.

It is exciting to see what happens. I’m hoping Mr Hardy’s honeymoon period lasts as long as possible. Good luck, Mr Hardy.

Ralph Shepherd

2 Comments

  1. You make some valid comments and one feels that Alan Hardy is damned if he does use social media and damned if he doesn’t, either way the trolls will have their pound of flesh. I would suggest that the fans have some responsibility to bear for the debacle over the last few years with unrealistic expectations. The feeling of ‘togetherness’ has disappeared in recent seasons, and we can blame Trew all we like, but we still had a part to play in it. The club is in an awful place right now, but it is only through hard work and positivity that we will get through it. This starts with the chairman and the fans, everything else will fall into place, so fans need to be patient and remember what seems simple to us, is not always necessarily so.

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