Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media RightSports teams don’t just have followers—they have rabid fans. After all, nobody isneutral about their favorite teams. And the big numbers in social media surroundingthe top teams prove it. Research quickly shows that all the major professional teamsare engaged in social media at some level. So how were we able to pick only 10? Itwasn’t an easy job, but here’s how it went down:We started with a variety of professional teams across the various sports that listedhighest on Rankopedia.com. We then looked at how many championships eachteam had won, and included several international choices for global flavor. Last, wepulled some telling online sentiment data using our monitoring tool, Sysomos MAP,and threw in a few surprises. Let’s play ball!
1. Manchester United World’s Largest Franchise Manchester is #2 on Rankopedia’s list of most supportive fans. It has an estimated 500 million worldwide fans and 20 million Facebook fans. Its forums are fully engaged, although, admittedly, its Twitter accounts leave a bit to be desired. The breaking news on Nov. 2, 2011 was that United intends to launch its own social network! This is an heroic idea considering that the team deleted all of its social media accounts in 2010 and has only recently reinitiated them. Over 500 million Red Devils will likely appreciate the proposed exclusive videos and behind-the-scenes content, so we will watch and see. For guts and lots of fans, Manchester wins the goal point.Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media Right
2. FC Barcelona Fan Pick for Best Ever Coming in at #4 on Rankopedia’s Best European Soccer Clubs Ever and #1 on its Most Supportive Fans list, FC Barcelona hosts 22 million Facebook fans. Soccer is the world’s top sport (3.5 billion fans), so you might say that 22 million isn’t much in comparison, but the team’s fans certainly speak out in many polls about their love for this team. Vocal fans are engaged fans. What grabs us is FC Barcelona’s deliberate use of social media. The team has an educational program to help staff “do social” right. It has a liberal policy on posting, exhibits a long-term commitment mindset and is gearing up for mobile. For all that, FC Barcelona is a winner in our book!Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media Right
3. Los Angeles Lakers Lockout Doesn’t Stop the Love It’s hard to be a truly engaged fan when you can’t watch your team play, so the lockout makes this choice a bit controversial. But with a healthy count of over 10 million engaged and truly devoted Facebook fans, the Lakers are still golden. Its positive blogosphere sentiment is down from 86% to 77% (due in part to last season’s finals showing), but the fans are still with the team. The Lakers’ social media is a brilliant mix of old and new. It includes posts about the Laker Girls touring China. It also presents the world’s biggest memorabilia collection online, and profiles the team’s history and the coaches who have been leading the purple- and-gold to victory through the years. For knowing how to mix it up, we give it to the Lakers.Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media Right
4. Vancouver Canucks Connecting Ofﬂine with Online The Canucks take the top honor on Rankopedia as the Best NHL Franchise Ever. The team’s fans clearly adore the franchise. The Canucks are masterful at connecting its offline fan base with its online fan contingent. It is the only team featured here that hosts Tweet-ups, bringing its Twitter followers together in a real life setting. The team’s Facebook fan base is around 600K and its page is full of play-by-plays of the games. The team asks questions, posts videos of its philanthropy work with kids, and opens itself to true conversation with fans by actively asking for input. For featuring its fan base and being hands-on with social media tools, we pass them the puck!Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media Right
5. Green Bay Packers Cheeseheads Unite! Any team that can get fans wearing a “Cheesehead Hat” enjoys some serious fan devotion. With 2 million+ Facebook fans, the Packers certainly feel the fan love. Beyond rambunctious tailgate parties and fans, the team also has “got it” online. First, it exhibits a skillful use of Facebook tabs, offers a blog (which not all of the teams do) and mixes it up with video, interviews and candid pics. The Packers are also bridging the offline and online worlds by hosting a free pep rally for fans with social media components. It features behind-the- scenes commentary online with “Ask Vic” segments and “Tuesdays with McCarthy” (the team’s head coach). This generous sharing of tasty online content is something that fans crave.Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media Right
6. Japan Women’s Soccer Champions Set Twitter Record We were disappointed by the lack of solid online conversations surrounding women’s teams in sports these days. We found lots about the “sexiest women in sports,” but less serious conversation about athletes. We think the ladies of soccer deserve more than a pin-up mention, with 29 million women and girls playing the sport worldwide. The Japanese Women’s team won the 2011 World Cup for the first time. Its engaged fans set the record for most Tweets during the final game, using the hashtag #ladyballers. Women’s soccer dominated the Twitter trending topics at the time—and Solo, the U.S. goalie, increased her following from a small 10K to over 200K with the popularity of her account. To this, we say Goal!Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media Right
7. Dallas Cowboys Everything Is Big in Texas Dallas Cowboys fans paint their faces and bodies to attend games and they live and breathe the team’s every move. Some fans even name their children after team members (a trend we saw called out several times in fans’ blogs). The team’s Facebook fans number in the 4+ million range. Those fans in Texas love their football! When we pulled data on sentiment and online popularity, the Cowboys ranked very high. Over 69 million web hits were listed for one week! The team enjoys a 75% positive sentiment ratio and the blogosphere is alive with conversation surrounding the team at any given hour. The activity wasn’t just stale news releases either, but was equally distributed between traditional news and fan generated content. For us, that’s worth noting.Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media Right
8. Montreal Canadiens Popular with Away Fans The Canadiens’ website and social presence is an interactive social media heaven. Contests, polls and more engage the site visitor. The Canadian version of its Facebook page boasts over 900K fans and its Twitter count is almost 200K. The team is ranked as one of the most engaged teams in hockey. What we found interesting from our data pull was the percentage of U.S. fans that this Canadian team attracts online. Stateside fans like to talk about the team, blog about it, and follow its games. In fact, they drive more than 55% of the total web conversation! For reaching out and engaging fans worldwide, we salute Montreal!Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media Right
9. St. Louis Cardinals Fun Is the Name of the Game These 2011 World Series winners totally leverage verbal engagement and interactive fun. The team’s Facebook fans rank near 1 million and the fans love engaging. For example, the team posted a picture of the packed ballpark during the final World Series game and asked its FB fans to tag themselves with the line, “Were you there?” Fans did it. We think that’s clever. The Cardinals also know how to lighten up. Here’s an example: You can create a Jib Jab video of you and your friends’ faces as part of the team. While serious devotion is needed on the field, light humor only makes the fan experience more fun. We like it!Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media Right
10. New England Patriots Maxing Out the Tools The Patriots are rocking the Facebook space. This team knows how to have fun. Its page hosts 2.6 million fans and its tabs are expertly used. The Fan Zone is full of interactive polls, questions, and fun ways to engage. The team uses real, candid pictures that add personality and authenticity to its online interactions. In addition, its Pick N Win tab not only includes an email opt-in, but also a contest to pick the next game’s winner for a prize. The team fully incorporates the thrill of the game (and the bet) with its online presence. For combining marketing chops that further extend its brand with play and fun, the Patriots earn a touchdown AND extra point!Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media Right
Goal! 10 Top Sports Teams Doing Social Media RightIs Your Team Here?Sports are enjoyed worldwide with nearly religious fervor. Social media is onlymaking it that much easier for fans and teams to connect. We think that’s a totalwin for everyone.We also know we didn’t get all the great teams with great fans. For example, weresearched cricket teams abroad (India and Pakistan were in close contention),but they just didn’t make the cut in social media engagement. The result is thatwhile we’ve highlighted some winners here, we want to hear your team spirit.Who isn’t on this list that should be? What is your favorite part of interacting withyour team online? What would you like to see more of when it comes to socialmedia and your sports teams? Shout it out in the comment section below and letus hear you roar. We can see you doing the wave from here…
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