Tina Ahmed posted on 15 April 2015
Sports clubs seem like a perfect fit for brands with potential to run very successful social media campaigns. They have very loyal fan bases, they get a lot of attention in the media, their players are some of the biggest celebrities in the world and the game itself creates a lot of visual opportunities that social media users love to watch and share.
In terms of who actually engages with the content that they post, everyone except for Barcelona and Real Madrid get most of their engagement from the home country. In the case of Barcelona, Indonesia is the most engaged country, while Real Madrid gets most engagement from Colombia, thanks to the popularity of James Rodriguez.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have by far the largest audiences with 81 and 80 million total page likes respectively. On the other end of the scale Monaco only has 2.3 million while Porto only 2.7 million page likes. Despite being the second smallest page, Porto leads with an engagement rate of 1.7%. Real Madrid follows with 1.6% engagement and Barcelona in third with 1.5%. Juventus and Atletico Madrid have the lowest engagement rate at 0.4%. Porto also posts the most with 162 posts in the period we looked at. Real Madrid posted 150 times and Barcelona 124 times. At the other end of scale was Atletico Madrid with only 51 posts.
Two standout posts with the highest engagement rate are this one from Bayern Munich with a 1.8% engagement rate, and this one from Real Madrid with a 1% engagement rate. What makes these posts so engaging? Both are very visual with large images and very few words in the copy. Both use pictures of some of their biggest stars. Both are timely with the Bayern Munich one being a “Happy birthday” post while Real Madrid are celebrating a very big 9-1 win against Granada
Each and every club gets a higher engagement rate on Instagram than on Facebook which may not be surprising to you given our recent Instagram engagement study. Porto leads with a 5.3% engagement rate despite their low posting activity. Atletico Madrid is second with the engagement rate of 4% on the 55 posts. Monaco has the lowest engagement rate of 2.5%, which is still higher than the highest engagement rate we saw on Facebook.
The one standout post with a 9% engagement rate was this one from Porto. Like we saw in the examples of the best performing content on Facebook, people love images of individual players and they love real time content about the games and scores of their clubs.
Interestingly enough most clubs underuse the video format on Instagram like they do on Facebook. All clubs mostly focus on photos. Monaco posted no videos, Porto posted 1 while Real Madrid led the way but still only posted 13 videos out of their 138 posts. Without knowing the exact details and contract information, you could argue that the clubs also underuse the access to their players. Not much personal and behind the scenes footage away from the big games is posted in general. The success story from Barcelona shows what can be done when you combine a focus on video with some interesting training footage.
For engagement, despite only posting 286 tweets in the period (the lowest of all clubs), Real Madrid still has the highest total engagement with almost 400,000 engagements. Barcelona comes second with 383 tweets and 280,000 engagements and Bayern Munich third with 435 tweets and almost 200,000 engagements.
Engagement on Twitter is lower than both Facebook and Instagram for all the clubs. Looking at the actual engagement rate for the different tweets we see Porto once again come on top. They posted 346 tweets in the period and were able to engage up to 0.2% of their 400,000 strong following with tweets such as this one and this one. Not surprisingly it is once again the very timely, live score update with images of individual goal scorers celebrating. You don’t need a lot of smart copy to get engagement either; simply shouting “GOOOOOOLOOOOOO / GOOOOOAAALLLLL / GOOOOOOOLLLLLL!” may just be enough.
The strategies of the clubs were more split when looking at how many times they retweeted their followers. On the low end, Atletico Madrid retweeted 15 times in total, Real Madrid 14 times, Porto 12 while Barcelona didn’t retweet anyone at all. On the other hand, PSG retweeted their followers 183 times, Juventus retweeted 112 times, Monaco 61 times and Bayern Munich 60 times.
Do they all take for granted their very loyal fan bases and so do not see the need to build engagement on social? It seems so in this short period of time we looked at.
If you have access to popular brand ambassadors, use them and their personalities when you can.
Post images, videos, quotes, birthday wishes and anything else relevant from behind the scenes. People love to feel closer to their idols and this type of content makes them share it with their friends.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
If you have strong visuals, use them. Pictures speak for themselves and the copy is not that important factor in getting the message across in social media. Create opportunities where you can get more interesting visual material to post about your brand.
Anything is possible in social media like it is in football.
Even though Porto is not the largest of the clubs and have one of the smallest social media audiences, they’ve still achieved some of the highest engagement rates on all the channels thanks to simple, timely and visual content. The size and glamour of your own brand is not an excuse for you in social media. You can bolster your own success by using your creativity and adaptability.