Breaking down @AFL & @NRL social media numbers

The NRL 2014 season has kicked off and AFL 2014 season starts this Friday. Here is a breakdown of some of the social media numbers from a team point of view.

Facebook likes and Twitter follower numbers are just one metric to gauge the success of a digital team working for a sports team.  At Sports Geek we focus on building the overall audience and reach for a team and then focus on engaging the fans to drive business outcomes.

Some findings on these numbers:

  • NRL fans like Facebook more than AFL fans, 2.3M fans vs 2.0M fans with two less teams
  • When it comes to Twitter AFL fans out pace NRL by 22% more per club
  • Ten teams have more than 200K fans across Facebook and Twitter, while 10 teams have under 100K fans
  • Brisbane Broncos & Melbourne Storm lead the way in the NRL edging out Collingwood & Essendon in overall numbers
  • However NRL teams average 29% more fans on Facebook than AFL counterparts
  • Twitter lags behind Facebook numbers by a far margin 3:1 in AFL and 5:1 in NRL
  • The lack of penetration for Twitter into Facebook numbers is alarming, 23% on AFL average and just 16% for NRL teams
  • A total of 4.5M fans like NRL & AFL teams this is not a unique fans number though
  • At a League level NRL has 666K Facebook fans compared to AFL’s 583K
  • On Twitter at a League level @AFL has 209K followers compared to @NRL which has 159K

For terms of comparison there are 13.2M Australians on Facebook (via Facebook Ad Tool) and an estimate of 2.9M Australians on Twitter as there has been no official numbers released by Twitter (Sensis 2013 report)

Please look back at previous analysis of AFL and NRL social media numbers in 2013 comparing leagues around the world and 2011 (battle for social media fans back in March 2011) and (September 2011) as well as SSMI in 2010 in AFL.

AFL Teams Social Media Audience

AFL 2014 Social Media Numbers

NRL Teams Social Media Audience

NRL 2014 Social Media Numbers

AFL teams on Facebook

How many AFL teams have reached the 200,000 Facebook fan barrier?  Collingwood & Essendon
11% of AFL Teams have more than  200,000 Facebook fans

50% of AFL teams have more than 100,000 Facebook fans
50% of AFL Teams have more than 100,000 Facebook fans

What about AFL team averages n Facebook? Sports Geek clients up 51% on AFL average
AFL 2014 Facebook team average compared to Sports Geek clients

What about the big number? How many fans like AFL teams on Facebook?
AFL Teams are liked by 2,075,000 Facebook fans

NRL teams on Facebook

How many NRL teams have reached the 200,000 Facebook fan barrier?  Broncos, Storm, Warriors & Rabbitohs.
25% of NRL Teams have more than  200,000 Facebook fans

69% of NRL teams have more than 100,000 Facebook fans
69% of NRL Teams have more than  100,000 Facebook fans

31% of NRL Teams have less than  100,000 Facebook fans

What about NRL team averages on Facebook? Sports Geek clients up 13% on NRL average
NRL  teams average  Facebook  fan base is 149,500

What about the big number? How many fans like NRL teams on Facebook? Over 300K more fans like NRL teams.
NRL Teams are liked by 2,392,000 Facebook fans

AFL teams on Twitter

Only 2 teams have more than 50,000 Twitter followers, Collingwood and Essendon.
TWO AFL Teams have more than  50,000 Twitter Followers

8 AFL teams are yet to reach 40,000 Twitter followers
44% of AFL Teams have less than  30,000 Twitter Followers

What about AFL team averages on Twitter? Sports Geek clients up 25% on AFL average
AFL teams average  Twitter  fan base is 34,967

What about the big number? How many fans follow AFL teams on Twitter?
AFL Teams are followed by 629,400 Twitter accounts

NRL teams on Twitter

No NRL teams have more than 50,000 Twitter followers, but 5 have more than 30,000 followers. Storm, Warriors, Eels, Broncos and Rabbitohs.
FIVE NRL Teams have more than  30,000 Twitter Followers
11 NRL teams are yet to reach 30,000 Twitter followers
69% of NRL Teams have less than  30,000 Twitter Followers

What about AFL team averages on Twitter? Sports Geek clients up 15% on AFL average
NRL  teams average  Twitter  fan base is 28,625

What about the big number? How many fans follow NRL teams on Twitter?

NRL Teams are followed by 458,000 Twitter accounts

Want more analysis?

Please contact Sean at Sports Geek to help your team reach and engage more fans via digital and social.

Available on Slideshare

Disclaimer: Sports Geek works with and has worked with AFL and NRL clubs listed here but numbers are accurate for Facebook and Twitter for 10th March 2014.

Learn what we teach sports teams?

Sports Geek Social Media Training One Day EducationalOn March 31 we are hosting a One Day Educational to teach business owners and marketers how to leverage social media for business outcomes.

Sessions include:

  • Review social media platforms which can work for you
  • Facebook – Content, Community & Cost
  • Joining the conversation on Twitter & Instagram
  • Pulling together a strategy that will deliver business results

Special guests Josh Rowe and Steve Sammartino will demonstrate how they have used social media in corporate and advertising world.  If you want a leg up on your social media marketing then we’d love to see you there.

Grab your ticket to Sports Geek ODE

Aussie ski resorts silenced by AOC – ICYMI

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Tuesday 18th February 2014

What @SportsGeek reads…

Aussie ski resorts tweets silenced by AOCHear from Dan McLaren from TheUKSportsNetwork.com about the world of #digisport in UK & Europe

NBA star Mills shares Goodes story

Confused? No photos but please share on Instagram

Jamie Anderson, snowboarder: Tinder in Olympic village is next level

Goalposts shift as sponsorship game turns more complex

Wearables, who will win?

Pinterest shoots for world domination with new mobile site

Dale Hansen unplugged: celebrating our differences

Facebook fraud response: Are Facebook ads a waste of money?

Joakim Noah and the All-star game conundrum

Nice post on Digital Marketing by Jim Stewart

Twitter testing major profile redesign that looks alot like Facebook

Thoughts on Derek Jeter announcing his retirement on Facebook over Twitter?

28 days of fame: the strange, true story of ‘Flappy Bird’

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Facebook turns 10 & Super Bowl covered from all angles – ICYMI

In case you missed it – Reprint of Sports Geek News – Tuesday 4th February 2014

What @SportsGeek reads…

Jeremy Monahan from South Sydney Rabbitohs discusses how the landscape has changed in last 10 yearsFacebook turns 10: The Mark Zuckerberg interview
#WhosGonnaWin SBXLVIII Nice activation by VerizonPuppy Love wins Super Bowl Ad battleRetweet abuse: Birdy Bragging & the importance of being human on twitter

Pricing? Understand why it matters

NFL Now digital network to deliver personalised videos

Facebook Inc joins forces with Fox Sports for Super Bowl

Major League Baseball is trying hard to expand its fan base with social and video integrations

Here’s how all that Super Bowl social media sausage gets made

Tumblr No.2 in revenue per visit on social media

With Paper, Facebook just blew it’s own iPhone app out of the water

Are you Happy? Nice work by the Warriors with a remake of Pharrell Williams music video

The 33 best George Costanza GIFs on the internet, but please watch “The Over-Cheer”

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The Sydney Thunder #WelcomeHuss

Monday saw the special announcement of the Sydney Thunders prized recruit Michael Hussey. The Sydney Thunder is a client of Sports Geek and Sean and I were on hand for the day to assist and help with the coverage. Having exclusive behind the scenes access was a great chance to see how the Sydney Thunder were able to generate excitement and leverage off their big signing digitally through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

#WelcomeHuss Begins

The day started with the announcement becoming official with posts via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These posts directed fans on how to follow the day via Twitter (@Thunderbbl) and the introduction of the #WelcomeHuss hash tag which encouraged fans to welcome Michael Hussey and spread the exciting news.

Facebook #WelcomeHuss

Huss has signed! Welcome him to @thunderbbl http://bit.ly/welcomehuss #welcomehuss #goodtobegreen

With fans spreading the word they were also encouraged to leave a personal message for Hussey via the Facebook petition app. It was great to see the app was mobile friendly as the link was published across the different social platforms therefore greatly improving fan reach as it was easily accessible.

#Welcomehuss Petition Facebook

#WelcomeHuss Petition Thanks

#ThunderStruck via Helicopter

The announcement although officially confirmed earlier in the morning online was then followed by Mr Crickets grand entry at ANZ Stadium. Descending from the sky was it a bird? A plane? A thunder bolt? It was Michael Hussey arriving in style in a special ‘Sydney Thunder’ helicopter for the awaiting media, dignitaries and special guests.

The branding for the arrival was perfectly set up for the media. The helicopter had a large decal of the Thunders logo, food was decorated in the clubs colours of lime green along with staff and players dressed accordingly to greet Mr Cricket. It was easy to see why some other teams may have been little envious.

My role for the day was assisting with the Thunders twitter page, responding to posts and ‘favouriting’ tweets while also collecting images of the day’s events for use on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The mornings twitter activity lead to the Sydney Thunder being a trending topic while also developing some friendly banter with opponents the Perth Scorchers. Maximus Thunder, Sydney’s mascot also replied offering a lime green cupcake to settle things.

There was also support from Husseys IPL team the Chennai Super Kings, as they tweeted a #WelcomeHuss message along with the link to the facebook app for fans to leave theirs. Current Thunder players were encouraged to send tweets from their personal accounts to support the coverage. This also helped increase their own followings as there were regular interactions between the Thunders account and players. This helped set the platform for the Thunder as they aim to run Q&A’s throughout the season so fans are able to interact directly with the players.

I also had the pleasure of holding the sponsors banner during interviews, which might not sound like much but being able to hear Michael Hussey answer the questions from the media was an amazing experience. It’s rare to find athletes who are genuine and well spoken during interviews and it seems that the Thunder haven’t just got themselves a great cricketer but also someone who can represent the organisation with class along with captain Michael Clarke.

Once the interviews had concluded for Hussey and the rest of the players in attendance (Luke Doran, Daniel Hughes, Cameron Borgas Kurtis Patterson and Chris Tremain) were off to Westfield Parramatta to sign autographs.

#ThunderCommunity

The finale two events of the day were aimed at conveying one of the key messages of the day, that being Community. The player’s appearance at Westfield Parramatta within the heartland of their fan base was an opportunity to present their new players to the fans. These moments all captured through numerous lens for photos and videos by the Sydney Thunder team to be used immediately and later on.

Great turnout for #welcomehuss See you all at @anzstadium this summer!

The day wrapped up with the players helping out at Wentworthville Leagues Cricket Club cricket clinic. This was covered by the channel Ten weather team hosted by Tim Bailey. This was a great opportunity for channel Ten to promote their coverage of the Big Bash league at the end of the year.

Cam Borgas with young Thunder fans! Get ready for the live cross on Channel 10 to #welcomehuss

#GoodToBeGreen

The day’s events were orchestrated to perfection, along with the successful covering via social media platforms. The Sydney Thunder team worked seamlessly together covering the day, as everyone pitched in collecting video footage and images. The use of the petition app via Facebook, the player’s appearances captured throughout the day on Twitter and Instagram, along with the effective use of hash tags gave their fans every opportunity to be involved in every step of the signing day and their engagement was noticed as Facebook comments were answered in a timely manner along with twitter questions.

The main experience taken from the day regarding the social content covered is that it is important to plan and have a structure for the day, but more importantly to be flexible and take advantage of the opportunities which arise. The quick thinking replies to the Scorchers developed into some exciting competitive banter, capturing the excited fans at Westfield and the players teaching at the clinic, gave an insightful experience to fans following.

Therefore it’s important to be on your toes and ready:

Jeremy Lin Fan Appreciation Week Review

What has Social Media provided for athletes? For some it has assisted with their career and for others it’s had a detrimental effect. The positives and negatives all relate and impact on the athlete’s ‘Personal Branding’. The growth of social media has changed the way professional athletes develop their personal brand. This aspect of their career is exceptionally important as it affects their marketability, popularity and sponsorship/endorsement opportunities.

Catalyst Public Relations published a study which found that sports fans are 55% more likely to purchase a particular brand that their favourite athlete, whom they are following mentions it on Facebook or Twitter

Jeremy Lin, NBA point guard of the Houston Rockets is a prime example of an athlete who has effectively managed his brand since he shot to stardom after an impressive run of performances for the New York Knicks. In the mecca of basketball, New York City, Lin’s sudden rise won him thousands and thousands of fans worldwide and the ‘LINSANITY’ craze caught on.

During the NBA playoffs Jeremy Lin hosted ‘Fan Appreciation Week’ using different social media platforms, giving him the opportunity to give back to his fans that have supported him throughout his career. A simple gesture which goes a long way in maintaining and building his popularity.

Jeremy Lin - Fan Appreciation Week

Facebook Q&A

Monday started with the Facebook Q&A, which featured 18,424 Likes, 124 Shares and 5605 Comments. As Jeremy Lin is of Taiwanese descent he has a large following of fans around Asia. To capitalise on this he has an English and Chinese Facebook page which reaches both fan bases. Unfortunately Lin wasn’t able to respond to all comments, but seemed to answer as many as he could during the time.

The Q&A was a simple and effective way for Lin to reach and engage with his fans while giving his followers the opportunity to ask any question, within reason and be answered. Questions ranged from obscure ones like “Chuck Norris VS Liam Neeson in a fight ….. Who wins?” to “Funniest guy in the Rockets?

Jeremy Lin - Fan Appreciation Week - Day 1 Facebook Q&A

Rockets Artwork Contest

This was the first contest of the ‘Appreciation Week’, which involved Twitter. Followers were required to send in any Rockets artwork they had created with five followers chosen to win a signed ‘Linsanity Movie Poster’.

This contest also had a dual purpose. Not only did it promote fans to interact with Lin, it also created an avenue to promote the upcoming ‘Linsanity Movie’. We have also seen this occur in posts from Teams such as the Golden State Warriors, where they promoted sponsors while engaging and interacting with their fans, providing the ever present dual purpose of social media. As we can see from the Topsy.com graph below the @JLin7 handle was mentioned 941 times during the day two contest.

Jeremy Lin - Fan Appreciation Week - @JLin7 mentions

Instagram Impersonation Contest

Fan Appreciation Week Day 3: Rockets Impersonation Contest! Post (and tag @jlin7) a picture on instagram of you impersonating a Rockets player(s). Heres my sample of @jharden13 on the left and @chandler_parsons on the right. Be creative and winners announced tonight!

Let the impersonations begin! Day 3 featured a Rockets impersonation contest via Instagram.

SINA Weibo Q&A

Lin hosted another Q&A, this time on the Chinese micro blogging site SINA Weibo. It was evident that Lin made a major effort to maintain his global appeal especially in Asia. In 2012 Lin returned to Taiwan to participate and instruct a local youth basketball camp with the assistance of NBA player David Lee – making good on a promise he made earlier in the year.

Multiple Choice Quiz via Facebook

We are back on Facebook for the final day of ‘Appreciation Week’ and the fans have to answer a Multiple Choice Quiz and the first person to answer them all right wins a signed pair of shoes.

Jeremy Lin - Fan Appreciation Week - Day 5 - Facebook Quiz

While this post received 7518 Likes, 137 Shares and 629 Comments, it didn’t experience the same success as the Day 1 Q&A. Besides the dilemma of going through the comments to find the winners of the competition (Lin mentioned he got a headache looking through the submissions), the quiz format would only reach those who waited for the post, thus limiting it’s reach. When social media competitions prompt followers to be the first to answer or post you are neglecting your casual followers who aren’t constantly connected. Having a competition which allows followers to post a simple entry such as the Twitter art work and Instagram impersonation you are now allowing the majority of your followers to participate.

Looking over the events of ‘Appreciation Week’, Lin has proved how simple it is using social media to interact with his fans and in the process thank them for their support. The ‘LINSANITY’ craze may have been lighting in a bottle with Lin’s move to Houston but through the use of simple and effective competitions and the continual interaction on a regular basis, Lin has be able maintained his popularity globally. The great use of social media combined with regular visits and accommodating his Asian fan base has in turn increased his marketability and improved his chances of garnering endorsements.

Lin’s Volvo Commercial

Lin heads out for some ‘street-ball’ with David Lee

Athletes in many sports worldwide have a short career span. What social media has provided is another avenue off the field or court to develop an athlete’s brand. It has also allowed middle tier players in many leagues to increase their popularity with their personality and social media savvy competitions to increase their name recognition to heights only reserved for the superstars.

Have a read of the ‘Social Media Guidelines’ post, which outlines what athletes need to consider when posting to maintain a positive image.

What other athletes do you feel have done a great job in maintaining their personal brand through Social Media? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Lin takes part in #HerosHangout on Google+

Lin also recently took part in a Google Hangout as a part of the Veteran’s United channel, where he discussed life as an NBA player and conversed with military heroes from across the US.

Tennis Players Get Social at Wimbledon

With Wimbledon underway for another year, we take a look at the top seeds and rate their performance on social media.

Do their seedings reflect their performance online?

Men’s Top Five Seeds

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] (@DjokerNole)

Ever since he began impersonating his colleagues, Djokovic has remained one of the more entertaining players to follow on social media. You can’t help but smile at this Facebook video of Novak helping the Wimbledon ground staff get the covers on the practice court:

He posts to Instagram 2-3 times a month and tweets frequently and consistently during tournaments with his personality and his sense of humour shining through:

 

Andy Murray (GBR) [2] (@andy_murray)

While he doesn’t have an Instagram account, Murray recently notched up his one millionth Facebook page ‘like.’ He’ll often tweet most days, giving fans a great insight into the daily schedule of a professional tennis player, as well offering commentary on his favourite TV shows and live tennis matches. He often thanks fans by running competitions (like below) and sending out appreciation tweets/posts:

 

Roger Federer (SUI) [3] (@rogerfederer)

While his Facebook following creeps towards 13 million-strong, it’s only recently that the 17-time grand slam champion joined the Twitterverse. The late start to the platform has hasn’t stopped him from having one of the best tweet-to-follower ratios in the business (32 tweets, 400,000+ followers!) While he doesn’t post to his social platforms as frequently as his counterparts, he instead limits his posting to his most interesting content. He shares a number of sponsor-themed videos via his Facebook page, while his third tweet was used to promote an AMA (AskMeAnything) on Reddit (link). The Fed Express also uses his account to share photos and show his appreciation toward fans:

Roger Federer - Back at Wimbledon!

David Ferrer (ESP) [4] (@DavidFerrer87)

One of the most consistent and durable players on the ATP, there’s no denying Ferrer is as active off court, as he is on it. However, the French Open finalist has a little bit to learn when it comes to engagement on Twitter. Of the 35 times he’s tweeted this month, only nine have been personalised from the man himself. Ferrer risks losing some of his 456,531 followers from overusing the RT function as this can make fans can feel disappointed at not hearing from their idol more often.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [5] (@RafaelNadal)

Despite having the largest Twitter fanbase in tennis with over 4.5 million followers, Nadal often directs followers to his Facebook page where he is the second most popular player behind Federer with over 11.7 million fans. In a great social marketing move, Nadal is seen as an active presence on both platforms, while being able to promote his various foundation, charity and tennis academy websites.

After winning his eighth French Open title, he tweeted this cryptic picture (if you can’t see the hidden image, try squinting your eyes or tilting your screen):

 

Women’s Top Five Seeds

Serena Williams (USA) [1] (@serenawilliams)

With over five and a half million followers across her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, there’s no denying the world number one’s online popularity. Amazingly, she has two million more followers than the next best on the WTA when it comes to Twitter, which is clearly her preferred platform to connect with fans. It does seem strange that someone so willing to share photos hasn’t uploaded to Instagram in over 12 months, while she was still getting used to Facebook as recently as April this year:

serena

But it’s on Twitter where the younger Williams sister shines. She doesn’t hide behind an online persona, with her bubbly personality shining through via a number of personal photo posts including her frequent trips to the beach, nail salon visits and of her canine companion ‘Chip.’ The 16-time grand slam winner does a good job of engaging followers, using #SerenaFridays to allow fans to tweet in questions via Twitter:

 

Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [2] (@vika7)

One of my favourite players on the WTA, Azarenka does a great job of keeping fans up to date and engaged across a number of social platforms. While she doesn’t have the massive following of her American counterpart, the two-time Australian Open champion frequently posts on Facebook, Twitter, Vine and Instagram to provide fans with interesting content. She recently used Twitcam to host a live Q&A session with fans who could send in questions to her Twitter account using the #hangwithvika hashtag.

Maria Sharapova (RUS) [3] (@MariaSharapova)

Sharapova dominates the battle for WTA supremacy on Facebook, boasting over 10.2 million fans. Her content mainly focuses on practice sessions and fashion shoots, although the world number three also does a great job promoting sponsors Nike, Porsche and Evian with behind-the-scenes photos. Sharapova’s Facebook page also hosts her new Social Channel game where fans get points for watching videos and answering questions that follow, similar to what SportsGeek does with Digital Cheer Squad:

Maria Sharapova Social Channel - Facebook

Posing playful questions are also a great way to invite fans to react and take part in her international experiences:

 

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [4] (@ARadwanska)

The runner up in last year’s Wimbledon singles title, the likeable Radwanska doesn’t stray far from Facebook where she has over 185,000 fans. Unfortunately, she hasn’t tweeted since November 2011 and doesn’t seem to have an Instagram account. Conveniently though, she is one of the few who post in multiple languages for the benefit of her fans:

Radwanska Practice Session - Facebook

Sara Errani (ITA) [5] (@SaraErrani)

The fifth seed at SW19 adopts the conventional mould of a tennis player on social media. While some official photos are used for content, Errani also offers plenty of locker room and training shots to give fans a glimpse into her life as a tennis professional:

Sara Errani Warm Down - Facebook

Social Media Guidelines simplified

On the 7th of June a tweet went out from @soldierUK providing servicemen and women a simple guide to follow regarding online behaviour. There are three categories which the guide followed; Green, Amber and Red. The guide is specifically related to military content and reducing the risk of sensitive service information being published online.

Let’s have a look at how the ‘unofficial’ online guide for the military can be adapted to a sporting organisation and its players and athletes.

GREEN: Be aware of what content you post!

Social Media Green Guide

Category ‘green’, is all about being aware of how your information/ posted content shared on social media affects the organisation, yourself, family and friends. This has been an issue for many athletes not thinking about ‘who can see their account’ and not protecting their own privacy. Earlier in the year we saw Josh Dugan stood down by the Canberra Raiders for posting a photo on Instagram of himself and Blake Ferguson drinking, the final straw for the club. This was followed weeks later by an abusive comment directed at a fan which resulted in the Brisbane Broncos pulling contract negotiations with Dugan. Would a similar summary such as the Green category be mandatory in all athletes’ houses?

Privacy

It’s important for athletes in particular to be aware of who can see their social media account. If an athlete’s settings are on private they to, still need to be sure that content posted is appropriate. For those who are public, due diligence needs to be taken prior to posting. Athletes need to be constantly aware of how others may view their posted content and interpret it in a positive or negative way; if they think it could go either way don’t post it.

Be Polite

Posts and content will reflect your personality, your likes and dislikes, and followers will be able to see this. That’s what has lead to the rapid growth in social media, is that sense of voyeurism which attracts use as humans to these different digital platforms. Portraying yourself as ‘Polite, Constructive and Honest’ is essential as followers will be given a glimpse into your world and in turn the organisation / team you represent.

Fact vs Opinion

Athletes and sports organisations need to be aware of the difference, as it can lead to misrepresented news and information. Twitter for example we see staff of organisations often explicitly display that their tweets are their own not that of the organisation they represent, but is that enough. If both parties do their research prior to posting content this would solve the problem. Social media is about the conversations you have with your followers and supporters and if the information is fiction or false it could potentially have a negative influence on followers as they may feel that this “official” post isn’t genuine.

Keep it official

This is a GREAT point which needs to be followed up with an effective process in place for athletes representing an organisation which have an established avenue, which IS NOT online, to ask questions about ‘official’ and private matters.

Protect privacy of family

Not only do posts affect the individual posting them but also their family and friends. Within social media athletes aren’t just representing themselves, the sporting team but also their family and friends whom which they engage with online. Being aware of when it its appropriate and necessary to mention them in a post is extremely important and the inclusion of ‘being as carefully as your own’ summaries that perfectly.

Quality Vs Quantity

Providing information through social media which reflects your likes and personality is a great way for athletes to connect with followers. Being aware of the necessary steps in portraying a positive brand goes along way for athletes through content posted.

Follow club rules

The final point would be included in a Teams social media guidelines as there would be a governing body which would have their own guidelines which players still need to follow and abide by.

AMBER: When in Doubt . . . . . ASK

The Amber category looks at when it is necessary to ask or seek permission prior to posting online. This is extremely important for an organisation such as the military which handles highly sensitive information, but can these guidelines be adapted to a sporting organisation?

Social Media Amber Guide

Game Plans

Athletes and organisational staff need to be aware when posting content relating to procedures and processes, if it’s appropriate to post. An example would be if an athlete were to post information regarding plays or adjustments made before their game or competition. This information would be regarded as giving the team or opponent a competitive advantage and we all know how important that is (Bill Belichick 2007 ‘Spy-Gate’).

Keep company line

Opinions regarding the organisation from an athlete or staff member whether or not positive or negative should be kept to themselves. Posting comments online is not the avenue or platform to vent and we have seen many athletes do this. An Ohio State quarter back decided to tweet about how he came to college to play football and shouldn’t be attending classes, this resulted in him receiving a one game suspension.

Be very clear

This is point refers to posting content and explicitly making it known to followers that the information is either your own opinion or sourced from someone else which credit needs to be given. This is important for sporting organisations who report on numerous new sources for information and post the content online. For example quotes from player interviews need to accurate and not misconstrued.

Be politically correct and don’t offend

This point speaks for its self and I believe it is a must for all social media guidelines. One case which comes to mind was during the London Olympics in which a Greek athlete posted a tweet which was seen as tasteless and racist. Greece’s Olympic Committee then saw it fit to expel the athlete from the games, making her the first due to social media use.

RED: Do not, Do not, Do not!

Category RED focuses on what definitely should not be posted at any time. A guide which explicitly outlines what shouldn’t be posted will greatly assist all parties (athletes and staff) of an organisation as there are now no grey areas where they can potentially go wrong with content posted online. This also holds them accountable to their actions as what is expected of them is clearly stated.

 

Social Media Red Guide

You could follow a tried and true rule Sean uses in athlete training, below:

Don't be a dickhead! (if you are social media isn't for you)
Toggle

Closing Thoughts:

Social media provides athletes and sporting organisations an opportunity to connect with followers and supports on a consistent on ‘real-time’ basis. As a result it is paramount that there are a set guidelines to follow which outline what is acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to posting content online. What we have seen from @soldierUK is a simple summary of those expectations broken into three colour coded categories as an easy to read guide. As we have shown these points aren’t just exclusively for the military and can be applied to a sports setting. From this we can see that no matter what the area of profession it is important that the brand image of an organisation is upheld by all employees, volunteers, contractors, athletes and everyone involved. Maybe a simple summary such as these colour-coded points maybe a solution to solve athletes posting inappropriate content online.

For more on Social Media Guidelines checkout the previously posted Do’s and Don’ts , with some great tips from players on their own social media guidelines they have given themselves.

Let us know what you think could potentially safeguard an organisation and its athletes.

NBA Conference Finals Social Media Wrap

And then there were two.

With the Miami Heat’s game seven win over the Indiana Pacers, the 2013 NBA Finalists are now decided after the San Antonio Spurs swept the Memphis Grizzlies 4-0 in the Western Conference. In what promises to be an intriguing series, Sports Geek takes a look back at how the the four conference finalists utilised their social media platforms to interact with fans and sponsors during the East & West finals.

Facebook

The Heat have consistently used their Facebook page to post PicQuotes containing encouraging quotes from players and coaching staff that are designed to get fans excited for upcoming games. For the series against Indiana, these posts have received over 300,000 likes and 26,000 shares to date. Interestingly, the like & share figures for each new post rose as the series progressed; illustrating that the deeper the series wore on, the more passionate fans were in keeping in touch with their team.

FB - Game One PicQuote

Prior to the opening game of the series, the Pacers utilised their Facebook cover photo to promote their ‘Beat the Heat’ wallpapers, headers and backgrounds that fans could download from nba.com, and use on their own social media platforms:

Indiana Pacers - BeatTheHeat Facebook Cover

The Spurs began their series by posting a huge infographic which compared the team’s success to past and present opponents and highlighted some great statistics, including Tim Duncan’s tie for 2nd with the great Wilt Chamberlain in playoff double-doubles. Infographics are a great way to display facts and figures in an easy to read format and are effective when it comes to reach. For the full infographic, click on the image below, or here:

Spurs Infographic - Western Conference Finals History

The majority of posts on the Spurs timeline were focused on directing fans to the team’s website. Simply adding a link to the end of posts and images descriptions is a great way to direct fans to a richer source of content and information such as in-depth previews and reviews of games.

Unlike the Spurs, the Grizzlies interestingly chose to live-post score updates during games. Their account was also used to promote pre-game events and cover the transformation of Fedex Forum Plaza. One of our favourite posts came from television anchor Valerie Calhoun who posted an update on some of the new menu selections available to fans at Grizzlies home games:

Grizzlies Home-Court Menu Update

Twitter

In addition to providing fans with live score and stat updates throughout games and live-tweet press conferences, teams used Twitter to push specific hashtags to get fans involved in the online conversation. According to social media analytics website Topsy.com, #LETSGOHEAT was used over 140,000 times on Twitter during the Western Conference finals series, peaking during the team’s win in game seven with 40,000 uses.

Despite a significantly smaller online following than their Eastern Conference rivals (1.36 million followers vs 198,000), the Pacers more than held their own when it came to Twitter engagement, with the assonant #BeatTheHeat hashtag registering around 60,000 uses during the series, which went a long way in keeping fans engaged in relevant online conversation:

#BeatTheHeat usage during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals

The Heat also used their account (along with Instagram) to drive their White Hot Hoop contests, which required fans to tweet in photos from a specific location using the #WhiteHotHoop hashtag to go into the draw to win 25,000 American Airline miles – a great example of a popular sponsor activation:

Miami Heat using Twitter & Instagram for Sponser Activation

San Antonio encouraged their fans to tweet in photos using specific hashtags to share fan-produced content. These were then collated via the spurs.com Social Wall which provided a great hub of interaction:

#SpursSocialWall on Instagram

Throughout the Western Conference finals the Grizzlies’ Twitter account provided pre-game coverage of fan events at home games, along with promoting sponsors such as Ashley Home Store, which supplied limited edition ‘Believe Memphis’ shirts and supported the Super Fan giveaway. Memphis City Mayor AC Wharton Jr even got in on the action:

Twitter has also come in handy when establishing individual fan relationships as forward Quincey Poindexter found out when he was able to land a date with Miss Tennessee, Chandler Lawson.

Instagram

Instagram continues to be a leader in offering fans a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of sports teams. Prior to the opening match-up of the series, Heat fans were given a glimpse at the #WhiteHot t-shirts that would be on offer when ticket-holders found their seats before Game One:

Insta - Heat T-shirts

The tables quickly turned when Indiana had the home-court. Prior to Game Four, the team’s account posted this amazing shot of over 18,000 seats draped in Gold t-shirts to drive home advantage as a part of their #GoldOut strategy:

Indiana Pacers show off their #GoldOut campaign via Instagram

YouTube & Vine

The Heat and Spurs are consistently active when it comes to sharing content on Vine, dishing up many of the team’s behind the scenes pre- and post-match activity.

One of the best posts came in the lead-up to Game Seven, with this LeBron James dunk in the warm-up:

Despite being still fairly new to Vine as a medium, the Pacers have managed to do a reasonable job in offering their fans a glimpse into the team’s inner workings; posting pre-game warm ups, team announcements and giving fans who couldn’t attend the game a great insight into feel and atmosphere at ground level:

Unfortunately, the Grizzlies don’t seem to have a Vine account.

In contrast, while each of the conference finalists possess an official YouTube account, there doesn’t seem to be any consistency when it comes to the frequency of uploads. That’s not to say that NBA teams aren’t concerned with fan and community engagement. Rather, teams seem to be favouring platforms such as Twitter, Instagram & Vine, that make it easier for fans to access and get involved in the action. It’s something we’ll be keeping an eye on.

So there you have it, some great examples of effective ways in which major sports teams can best interact and utilise their online fan bases.

12 types of social media personalities

According to a survey by U.K.-based online bank First Direct, there are 12 social media personalities, ranging from “ultras” to “virgins.” The “ultras,” for instance, are deeply infatuated with sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Dr David Giles, an expert in social media behaviour and a Reader in Media Psychology at Winchester University, said: “Most people using social media will display a combination of those personality types, and they may even behave differently on Facebook, for example, to how they behave on Twitter.

The 12 personality types are:

  • The Ultras
  • The Deniers
  • The Dippers
  • The Virgins
  • The Lurkers
  • The Peacocks
  • The Ranters
  • The Ghosts
  • The Changelings
  • The Quizzers
  • The Informers
  • The Approval-seekers

What is your social media personality type?

first direct Social Experiment Infographic

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Let us know in the comments what personality type you are.

#ThankYouSirAlex Social Media Coverage and Statistics

Big sports news starts on Twitter

Last week, in one of the year’s biggest sports news stories, Sir Alex Ferguson called it quits on his illustrious 26-year career at Manchester United. Ferguson’s popularity on and off the pitch has been well documented (including on Sports Geek Podcast 002), and the online response to the news from fans and players past and present, was understandably overwhelming.

Sports stars show Twitter love

As we’ve come to expect when significant sports news breaks, social media goes into an frenzy. Within five minutes, the official Manchester United Press office tweet announcing Ferguson’s retirement had been retweeted 5,000 times. An hour later, that number had grown to over 100,000. It wasn’t long before the #thankyousiralex hashtag was the number one trending topic worldwide, as reported by Head of sport for Twitter in the UK/Europe @LewisWiltshire:

Analyzing Twitter data

According to Topsy.com the #thankyousiralex hashtag was used around 350,000 times on Twitter in the week following the news being broken, with spikes of 167,000 on May 8th and 140,000 on May 12th, here is a quick infographic we built with Infogr.am.

Tracking #ThankYouSirAlex

A look at Facebook traffic using Bit.ly

Fans were also encouraged to leave messages of support via a custom Facebook application, which to date has been clicked more than 240,000 times from a number of locations around the world, as explained in Sports Geek Podcast.

Geographic distribution of clicks

Facebook numbers, WOW!

The announcement was handled extremely well by Manchester United’s media team, who were able to incorporate their respect and appreciation with a number of Facebook posts that oozed class and a strong sense of fan engagement:

ManUtd - Facebook Timeline Photo - 'Legend'

#thankyousiralex - behind the scenes

Sir Alex and his trophies

But the most heart-felt sign of fans’ appreciation came before his side’s penultimate match of the 2012-13 season, where players from both Manchester United and visiting team Swansea City joined to form a guard of honour:

Professional til the end.

#ThankYouSirAlex

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