Have a look at the recent social media data from Engagement Labs and you'll see an expected trend: NFL playoff teams are growing followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The company assigns each NFL team an eValue™ score, measuring the effectiveness of a brand's overall social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and provides a score from 0 - 100.
It's the aggregate of the three subscores including Engagement (interaction with content), Impact (reach), and Responsiveness (speed and quality of responses to fans).
As expected, playoff teams and those going head-to-head, lead in many social media measurement categories. Dig deeper, and you'll notice some .500 and less win record NFL teams register in the top 5 category marks, as well. Let's have a look at a breakdown my social media channel: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Overall, NFL teams have a large presence and influence on Facebook with an eValue average score of 90.77. The difference in eValue score between the top five teams is a very small margin of 1.78.
Most engaged posts from the top 5 performing teams:
Here's what's unique to notice: Three teams with losing season records, still earn a top-5 ranking in areas of social media merit.
It's because sports fans are hyper-loyal if you treat them right. "Sports fans and social media are a perfect match," explains Marc Preston, CEO of social media campaign experts, Social Media 180. "Teams are eager to produce meaningful, up-to-date content, and fans are equally eager to consume it. The NFL has positioned itself as the ultimate fan-friendly sport, and its fans have proven to be some of the biggest producers of meaningful and engaging content."
The lesson for marketers is essentially this: you needn't be a winner on the playing field to be a winner in the social field.
Win it with responsiveness. Show the fans you're listening (through thick and thin), and you can continue to stay on top in their minds.
The Panthers and Broncos tops the list of NFL teams on Twitter. Their Super Bowl status undoubtedly helped influence their social rankings.
Unlike Facebook, NFL teams had a larger disparity in their performance on Twitter with an overall eValue score average of 63.63. Although the top five teams performed relatively well (80+), the majority of teams fell in the 50-60 eValue score region.
Engagement scores were not particularly high as well, with the highest score going to the Denver Broncos at 78.71. Engagement is an integral part of Twitter; when sports fans engage with their favorite teams on the platform, the teams are opening up a dialog with their fans and allow them to express their passion and fandom. Content that encourages and invites followers to interact with the post (like & retweet) can help improve engagement.
Once again, you can see the top-5 ranked teams in the area of responsiveness were teams with horrible seasons. The Rams were so bad with seven wins and nine losses, they split town afterwards and headed for Los Angeles. But they respond well to their fans in the social media world and come in ranked number three, there.
On Twitter, followers were not as interactive with the content compared to Facebook as the highest active user base % was 14.25% from the Carolina Panthers, a Super Bowl team. We can see a sharp increase in followers for NFL teams that advance deep into the playoffs (Panthers and Broncos) with the Patriots taking a commanding top spot in follower growth.
The top performing tweets were celebratory images that announced a team's progress through the playoffs.
The Carolina Panthers had a significant lead in follower growth on Instagram compared to other teams, generating 102,728 new followers during the period from Jan 13 - Jan 28 2016. Three losing teams, the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, and Jacksonville Jaguars all ranked in the top-5 fan responsiveness.
NFL team's Instagram performance falls in between Twitter and Facebook with an overall eValue score average of 81.23. The two Super Bowl competing teams had the most follower growth in the measured time period; Panthers with a 102,728 follower growth and Broncos with 69,853.
The obvious trend we can see with NFL team's online presence is how they perform in the season and playoffs. Teams such as the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos , Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots top the charts with eValue performance, likely due to the respective teams advancing deep into the NFL playoffs. Social media content that garners the most activity are images that celebrate the team's success and their advance towards the Super Bowl.
Of the two Super Bowl teams, the Carolina Panthers have been more successful in their social media performance within the three platforms measured. The Panthers have a consistent hashtag that they push on the majority of their content which is "#KeepPounding".