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433 on Football, Fans and Social Media : An Interview

433, one of the biggest Instagram account in the world, has published its first book. From starting out as a twitter account to today’s number one sports community, the team takes us through their journey, sharing their insight along the way.

One of the world’s biggest media powerhouses with a stunning fanbase, amongst whom are over 15,000 professional footballers, 433 has revolutionized the social media landscape in sport. Engaging their community with a shared story and common goal, they have altered the way fans and professionals conversate and interact, setting out with the goal to share ‘real talk’ within the industry. Whether a fan, club, brand or federation, their platform allows all to peer into the REAL world of football as well as picking up tips and tricks they’ve mastered to create meaningful content and participate in a meaningful conversation, digitally.

Read all about their latest venture, the newly released book, Social GOAT and their 433 evolution here.

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Photo: IMAGO / PA Images

First of all, congratulations on the launch of your new book, Social GOAT, can you give us a little taste of what we can expect from reading it?

After a foreword by Ivan Rakitić (the star mid-fielder of Sevilla), who has been a follower of the account for years, the book opens with a detailed story on how the company got started. Initially a Twitter account founded by Rogier Deelstra, the 433 brand gained steam when Demy de Zeeuw, Juul Manders and Ralph de Geus joined forces. Since its start in 2013, 433 now has over 50 million total followers and generates over 2 billion views per month.

The book describes 11 steps – ranging from finding your idea to fine-tuning your content strategy – that are accompanied by quotes from the 433 team, giving the reader a unique look behind the scenes of Instagram’s most engaging account. It shows the highs (almost forcing a real-life transfer) and lows (getting blocked for days because of an administrative error) of running a successful account.

How did the concept come about to write the book?

We love to share, whether it’s great content or great insights. With this book, we combine both. Through 11 steps we share our knowledge on how to build a great social community. We’ve learned so much in the past years and it’s amazing to see it all coming together in one handy book.

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Photo: IMAGO / Pressinphoto
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Photo: IMAGO / Bildbyran

433 began as a Twitter account and now has an astounding community of over 50 million total followers, how did this evolution happen? Was there one defining moment that changed the tide?

The success of 433 didn’t happen overnight. We have tried to share our experiences, our lessons and our do’s & don’ts in our book. There has not been one defining moment, but a good, everlasting concept is the foundation of your success. The concept should be simple, but not too simple. Clearly defined, but not too limiting or too broad. For us that means: 433 is locker room fun. This is our concept since day one, and, at its core, it has never changed. Focusing on positivity on- and off the pitch has guided the way for us. A different take on football, one that wasn’t out there yet.

Back at the start, what was the major defining aim for 433? What did you originally set out to achieve or change within the industry? 

Instead of reporting on the media-trained interviews that come with the job of being a professional football player, we saw the possibility of sharing the real talk that happens inside the locker room. We felt that there was this whole other part of football, one that old-fashioned journalists prefer to ignore. Pretty quickly we settled on two goals:

  1. Showing people the real world of football and its star players
  2. Building a football community to share this story with

In your own words, why is social media and digital content so hot right now? What makes it such a powerful tool, especially within the sporting industry?

Both social media and football have two major things in common: they are visual and social. You watch football with your friends, share highlights, discuss who’s the GOAT, etc. Social media is the place where all of those things come together.

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IMAGO / MB Media Solutions
Photo: IMAGO / MB Media Solutions

Do you think the power of social media is here to stay?

Yes, absolutely.

To those who are sceptical about digital content creation and social media. What are the guidelines that you work to at 433 in order to create content of value and significance? And not just add to the sea of mediocre and content of little value or weight.

That’s the great thing about social media, you get instant feedback on the value and quality of your content. Everything we do has to fit neatly into our concept. So you’ve got to clearly define your concept, and make sure it’s focused and not too broad. Our niche, positivity and authenticity in the world of football, makes sure that the content we put out brings value to the followers or users.

What one element do you need for valuable digital content?

There’s not one element, but you really have to know your audience and the reason why people are following what you do.

If you had to give just one tip for success in this sector, what would it be?

When you know what your audience loves to see and you know the frequency that works best for your audience, the last thing that you have to do is simple: be consistent. With so much in life, consistency in doing these things right will lead you to success.

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Photo: IMAGO / motivio
IMAGO / PA Images
Photo: IMAGO / PA Images

Where do you see sports going in the next 12 months after a year of restricted access and empty stadiums?

We definitely hope that the stadiums will be packed as soon and safely as possible. We can’t wait to share the joy of the game with the most passionate fans from the stands.

What are the major changes or developments you have encountered since starting out in 2013?

The world of social media changes so quickly, we are always adjusting to new developments. Changes on Instagram that made the most impact are the shift from the chronological timeline to the algorithm and the introduction of stories, followed by IGTV.

What’s next for 433?

It’s finally time for the EUROs! We’re gearing up to celebrate this summer full of football, with the EUROs and the Copa America.

IMAGO / Uwe Kraft
Photo: IMAGO / Uwe Kraft
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Photo: IMAGO / GlobalImagens

With more than 44 million followers and 5 billion impressions generated per month, 433 are the home for football on social media.

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