Here at Freestyle Interactive we’re something of a specialist agency for Sports Social Media. So, since the start of the English Premier League we’ve been a series of creating infographics charting the growth of EPL teams using Social Media throughout the season (To see all of our infographics visit here). 2012 has been a massive year for Football Social Media – the Champions League semifinal between Chelsea and Barcelona broke the record for tweets per second, there are over 30 million followers of football clubs on Twitter and the English Premier League has seen a dramatic rise in both followers and engagement.
With all this in mind we take a very comprehensive look back at the key stats, areas of growth and club tactics of the season on Social Media:
Twitter Key Stats
Total EPL followers:
Follower growth during the season:
+2,802,392 (+142% growth)
Average number of Twitter followers per club:
Combined total of Tweets:
Combined total of Tweets sent in 2011/12:
77,217 tweets (+46% growth)
Average number of Tweets sent by clubs during 2011/12:
Clubs on Twitter
Biggest Twitter following: @Arsenal (1,562,899 followers)
Arsenal are nearly half a million followers ahead of the competition (2. Chelsea on 1,092,254 and 3. Liverpool on 980,065) and currently are the third largest football club on Twitter worldwide behind Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. However, whilst Arsenal have the largest following – this doesn’t necessary equate to being the best at social media, far from it.
Smallest Twitter following: Manchester United (0 followers – no Twitter presence)
Despite dominating Facebook with 25 million Likes, Manchester United still remain absent from Twitter for reasons unknown. With such a global fan base, United’s refusal to join Twitter is bizarre, especially considering a large number of their players use the channel to great success. Every other club but Swansea (9,883 followers – but only joined Twitter mid-season) has more than ten thousand followers.
Most Tweets sent in 2011/12: @OfficialWolves (8,237 tweets)
If only being active on Twitter kept teams in the Premiership, Wolves might be champions rather than relegation fodder. The Midlands side have an excellent 18,777 tweets and a great policy of using P2P conversation to engage with their fans than just broadcasting marketing messages. However, the real EPL champions – Manchester City hold the current title for overall tweets with 21,794 tweets and consequently finished second in the most active tweeter category with a respectable 8,037 tweets this season.
Least Tweets sent in 2011/12: @OfficialSCFC (467 tweets)
Stoke City have been criticised for their lack of creativity and innovation on the pitch, well they can be criticised for the same off it! The Potters sent out a measly 467 tweets to 31,434 Twitter followers all season. Towards the end of the season (May-June) they sent out a shockingly poor 11 tweets. Relegated Blackburn Rovers weren’t far behind in the “worst on Twitter” standings with 872 tweets over the course of the season.
Best on Twitter
2012 has most definitely been the season in which English Premier League clubs and fans have really started to get going on Twitter and the results show this. A colossal growth of 142% in the number of Twitter followers goes to show that fans are flocking to the micro-blogging platform to interact with their favourite football clubs. Clubs have seen a 46% growth in the number of Tweets they’ve sent out and we’ve started to see (albeit slowly) clubs understand that Twitter isn’t just about broadcast marketing. With this in mind, who’s been the ‘best on Twitter’?
If I’m honest, there aren’t that many contenders for the spot due to many are still learning that good Twitter practice is about talking to your fans, RT’ing them, creating AND curating engaging content. Yet, they are a handful of clubs who have shown excellent levels of commitment, effort and creativity this season. Liverpool have been inventive and innovative in using different and new social media platforms – undoubtedly the “early-adopters” of the season. Wolves have shown that you don’t need to be in the big 4 in order to compete on social media. They understood the value in real conversations with fans and got the basics spot on. Chelsea saw the largest growth in followers over the season through smart initiatives like launching their new kit on Twitter (which trended worldwide and received over six thousands mentions of their #CFCKit hashtag) and their excellent YouTube service. However, one club has consistently lead the way all season long and they just also happen to be the champions on the pitch – Manchester City.
City won our “Best of the Month” prize more than anyone else and have displayed creativity, bravery and real investment in social media this season. The core reason behind City’s success comes from the idea that they see themselves as an entertainment brand – not just sports. City don’t just create content to inform or market their fans, they create content to entertain and engage. Initiatives like “Spot-the-Ballotelli“, TunnelCam YouTube videos and live Twitter Q&As with players have been game changers (the latter has been quickly copied by other EPL clubs). City know what their fans want, who they are and as such engage with them on a very emotive level. They are our “Best on Twitter” for 2011/12 – congratulations.