GOAL: What a Turkish football team’s Facebook can teach local government

It should be a quiz question: ‘Who is the biggest football team in the world on Facebook?’

You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a major power of world football like Barcelona, Manchester United or Stoke City.

Here’s the surprise answer: Galatasaray.

Galatasaray? They’re a Turkish team formed in 1905. They’ve never won the European Cup but have a passionate army of supporters.

A third of all Turks support the team in a country that is the fourth largest on Facebook. That’s not even counting the huge world wide diaspora of Turks.

In 1993, Galatasaray supporters in a firey stadium of noise, flags, chants and flares met Manchester United with the banner: ‘Welcome To Hell!

In September 2010, 16 months after they set-up a Facebook page they had 4.5 million followers.

There’s a great blog in The Independent on how they did it. You can read the original here.

But whats this got to do with local government?

Because a Turkish football team and its fans have come across some universal truths that can work for other areas.

Here are four killer quotes from one of the club’s online team Ebubekir Kaplan that sum up the success….

INFORMATION: “They trust in us to give them information directly we respect their need and desire to know things directly from the club.”

SOCIAL: “Turkish people want to be socialable via Facebook and we’re using the right tools to reach them.”

FANS: “Players come and go, managers come and go, club officials come and go, but fans are constant. They’re the most important people.”

LISTEN: “We have to listen to supporters under all circumstances. So the main value is an outlet for the fans, and for communication with the fans.”

Okay, so maybe people aren’t quite as passionate on the face of it about local government as a football team.

But people DO form a passionate bond with places and that’s where the lessons start to come into play.

People may love their park, love their favourite bit of countryside or maybe their library.

Maybe they’re passionate about a venue or a museum or more to the point an exhibition at the museum.

Would activity on Facebook before and during help capture memories on an exhibition on coal mining in the Black Country, for example?

EDIT: From Istanbul on Twitter @kaanozkan_ wishes to point out that Galatasaray won the UEFA Cup beating Arsenal in 2000. Disliking Arsenal as I do – but not all their supporters – I’m happy to point that fact out : )

Creative Commons:

Curoninja: Fan Cop http://www.flickr.com/photos/curoninja/777611157/in/faves-danieldslee/#

Dan Slee: Pompey http://www.flickr.com/photos/danieldslee/4396957091/in/set-72157624572975462/

Striker Buzz Matrix: Galatasaray fire writing system http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Galatasaray_fire_writing_system.jpg

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  1. Great post, Dan. Some valuable nuggest as usual.

    Though I wonder about your sanity as it appears you’ve visited the away end at Fratton Park! Talk about “welcome to hell”…

  2. The away end at Fratton Park?

    Good spot, that man the Spurs fan! We (Stoke City) came back from one down to win 2-1. Salif Daio’s only goal in the past eight years. The lift back with a Pompey fan was especially interesting…

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