Interview with an Influencer: Oliver Bond
Hi Ollie! Welcome to Interview with an Influencer, could you tell us a bit about your channels?
Well Anfield HQ is probably one of the largest Liverpool FC blogs on twitter. Anfield HQ is verified on all of the main social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube and as a result of this, they receive a lot of commercial deals.
The brand is just over three years old, and since it was established it has won a number of awards and has an incredible engagement, it’s like a full-time job. We now have a team of 20 people working on it, there’s 2 full-time staff, freelancers, content producers, interns.
What kind of brands have Anfield HQ worked with?
We’ve worked with loads of different brands, most notably, Pepsi, Nike, MBNA, Liverpool FC. We’ve also worked with a lot of different betting apps.
What made you get into setting up the page?
At the time, Liverpool nearly won the league, social media surrounding the team’s performance was buzzing, and there was a lot of demand for content, there were hundreds of thousands of people expressing their opinions and it was the perfect space to create something like Anfield HQ. Initially, I wanted to start it just as a place for people to give their opinions and it has now grown into a global brand. I think I was lucky in setting up the brand when I did, it would be really hard to set something up now as the market is so saturated.
How do engage your followers?
I think we have one of the highest engaged following on Twitter. Everything we post we get a good engagement, but we try to use different types of content and productions to keep followers engaged like polls, exclusive interviews, giveaways and signed memorabilia, which has been made possible because we can talk to Liverpool FC and they understand the importance of engagement and followings, so it really helps the way they do things.
Do you find that football fans are generally quite an engaged audience, or do you feel that Anfield HQ take it to the next level because of your higher quality content?
I think football fans, in general, are quite engaged, because football is so opinion based and social media is there for people to give their opinions, but there are always things you can do to increase engagement levels. At the start of the Summer we did a retweet and follow competition for a signed Liverpool shirt, and that generated around 22,000 retweets.
Do you feel that working with brands can sometimes put followers off their influencer?
I think it completely depends on the brand, for us, giving away a Liverpool shirt fits in really well with Anfield HQ’s audience. If we were to say for example “bet £5 on X” people will generally react more negatively, because it’s gambling and more people are against that. I am quite picky about the people Anfield HQ do advertising with.
Have you had any horror stories?
Not so much a horror story, but there has been a lot of times when we’ve written stories, they’ve gained loads of traction, but have been completely wrong, so it’s really important to get the facts straight.
Another crazy time for Anfield HQ was when we featured on Sky Sports News because we did an exclusive interview with a player that Liverpool were trying to sign in a transfer window. We were able to get someone over there to do an interview, I’m not quite sure how we got access, but we did and we briefed all the local media, it completely blew up and our clips were used on Sky Sports. I didn’t sleep for 24 hours, our engagement was crazy and we gained around 35,000 followers that day. In that respect, we were very lucky. A lot of people message me saying “I want to do a blog, how do I start?”, and it’s really hard to say because the market is now so saturated unless you are doing something completely niche. I would just advise doing things differently, create new content that other bloggers aren’t creating.
Who would be your dream Liverpool player to have on the blog?
The current player would be Mohamed Salah, just due to his incredible start! In the past, Steven Gerrard, just so I could meet him. He was my childhood icon and to be able to finally meet him and sit down with him would be incredible.
What does 2018 hold for Anfield HQ?
We want to continue to improve the site design, attract more commercial deals and focus on social growth especially Facebook and Instagram. The dream is to grow big enough so we can have an office dedicated full time to Anfield HQ. That’s the 10/15 year plan.