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Federer's Fans on Facebook

Roger Federer currently has almost two million fans on Facebook. That means that that number of people have signed up as a fan (all you have to do is click a button to become a fan) and in return get text updates and videos from the legendary Swiss tennis man direct on their own home page. It is direct, it is instantaneous and it reaches straight into you own home space and people want it to be there. What more could a public relations person ask for? But advertising or promotion could not do that so well, although advertising is indirectly involved. For example, you can see the latest Federer TV ad for Rolex before it is broadcast. And I believe there was a small “ad” on Facebook in the form of a “suggestion” encouraging people to become fans.

Federer on Facebook

Unlike ordinary users, Federer and others who have such a fan page (anyone can create one but not everybody would have such success with it) they do not have to wade through the updates from their fans. It’s a one-way system, although fans can comment on Federer’s posts and very many do. What is particularly interesting in the example of Federer is the skill with which his posts are made. These posts, called “status updates” on Facebook, are necessarily short. In the case of Federer’s posts they have a friendly tone and everyday spoken language and talk about things Federer is doing which results in the fan feeling like a real ‘friend’ of Federer. That simple, direct style fits well with style of the tennis man himself. It might not seem appropriate with another “star”.
Here’s a typical example that was accompanied with a photo of Federer squatting on the turf of the Wimbledon Centre Court. Note the careful choice of words (like ‘snuck’ for example), the easy-going style and the personal, heart-felt tone.

“I snuck on to center court this afternoon to get a first hand look at the court with the new roof...I made sure I got a picture to share with all of you. Wimbledon is awesome! There is no place like it in the world!”

There is no knowing if Federer actually writes these pieces himself. That is of little importance. What is important is the feeling of proximity and relationship they create making two million people feel that they are really a “friend” of Roger Federer.

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Created: June 19th, 2009 - Last up-dated: June 19th, 2009