Unless you're a diehard sports fan, you probably haven't heard of Fancred--yet. The sports fan-focused social network is quietly building momentum in a quest to do for sports what LinkedIn has done for professionals.
"We think we're building the world's largest fan network," said CEO Kash Razzaghi.
That mission continues this week with the launch of "Your Fancred," a redesigned profile that puts your fandom front and center. Razzaghi noticed that people already used their favorite teams as identifiers in their bios on other social networks, so the platform is using teams as a way to organize activity on the network with a new feature called Team Albums. The conversations you have with fellow fans, the photos and articles you post, and your check-ins at stadiums will now be organized into team-specific albums on your profile for easier access (and to show off your pride).
There are also some visual improvements to profiles going live this week, but the network's essential features--conversations about games, check-ins, and photos and videos (and GIFs, of course) you upload of yourself cheering or the action on the field--remain the same.
Winning over fans
Fancred is trying to win users over by differentiating itself from Facebook and Twitter, where sports conversations happen but aren't exactly centralized. The new profile, which turns your favorite teams into a part of your identity, is part of that effort. Razzaghi said the platform is also targeting college campuses in a strategy that cribs liberally from the playbook of popular messaging apps. Fancred offers college internships to students who want to be the app's brand ambassadors. More than 60 schools have Fancred ambassadors spreading the word about the network. Gaining users on campus will translate to professional growth, Razzaghi said.
"You can build a university audience, but also build an audience around pro sports," he said. "If you go to Boston College, odds are you might also be a Red Sox fan and a Pats fan."
Razzaghi declined to disclose how many people use Fancred, but did say engagement is high--people return to the platform an average of seven times a day, an arguably more important metric than monthly active users. The platform's user base grows 50 percent month-over-month.
Some of Fancred's popularity can be attributed to Foursquare-esque gamification. The platform lets you rack up Fancred points for posting--and the more you post, the more points you get. Razzaghi said people are competing for the highest Fancred score, despite the fact that the highest-ranked user gets zilch--no physical rewards or virtual ones.
"It's really just a status symbol, social currency," Razzaghi said.
That will soon change. Fancred is eying new ways to offer value to fans--and prove that Facebook and Twitter haven't cornered the market on sports.