Having put together a Social Media Strategy for a modestly sized European Football Club recently I decided to take a quick look at Twitter usage amongst Premier League clubs.
I am taking the top 6, which of course includes the big 4, or at least 3 of the big 4, because one is no longer big (sorry Kenny) and - no wait - there is another one bigger than all the others now, so really it’s the big 1, plus the big 3 and then Newcastle and Spurs. Anyway let’s look at them in no particular order.
Manchester UnitedEpic fail and immediate relegation!
Manchester United doesn’t have an official Twitter account. They are huge on Facebook, boasting over 24 million likes, but it's a different story on Twitter. The social mini-blogging site has been a bit of a cause for concern on the player side for Man Utd, a team which traditionally likes the siege mentality and has in the past talked of banning players from using personal Social Network profiles. Twitter policies and strategy are very important but this one is a tad extreme. There is of course a monstrous amount of tweeting regarding the red side of Manchester going on so perhaps they have decided that there is little or nothing they could add to the conversation. I hardly need point out they are wrong and I am sitting by the phone waiting for Messrs Glazer to call to discuss their strategy ☺.
20,643 Tweets | 55,971 Following | 300,155 Followers
You can see they take this seriously, not least because they have their own short URL (manc.it). They are largely self promoting but there are occasional requests for fans to get involved although a recent caption competition was simply offering a RT as a prize. Still it’s more than some! Behind-the-scenes photos make the @MCFC following experience more rewarding for fans, as does a decent number of retweets. I am not sure I understand exactly their following criteria but they seem to follow a very wide net of people including City fans, which is nice.
8,962 Tweets | 138,767 Following | 1,448,508 Followers
If it were all about Twitter followers Arsenal would be cruising to the Premier League title but, as we all know, its about a chilly afternoon at Loftus Road and consequently they are third. What I like about their usage is that they introduced the hashtag #ArsenalLive and let fans make the conversation during games, however here they let themselves down by not monitoring and retweeting enough in my humble opinion. Make your fans feel special Arsenal, show some love!
12,857 Tweets | 180 Following | 833,206 Followers
Chelsea stand out from the other top clubs because they are the only ones to have, what Twitter calls an “Enhanced Profile Page”. In other words they have incorporated a new design element, namely an advertising banner under the normal header. These are not available to all and doubtless someone at Chelsea has pretty good connections… ahem. Chelsea offer match updates and are heavy on the #CFC hashtag. Now when I was a lad this was would have been all about bad fridges, but times have changed, and it seems to work. Added to this they are rich in photo content. They follow comparatively selectively; teams, players and a few influencers such as sports journalists.
|Enhanced Profile Page with static (non-linked) banner.|
7,289 Tweets | 50 Following | 60,064 Followers
The #NUFC hashtag features heavily in Toon tweets, which helps to retain a certain brand control. The downside to Newcastle’s Twitter usage is that it really seems to be solely a news stream; team news, quotes from the manager, game photos, video - interaction is minimal. It’s all about driving traffic to their site and the fan shop. What the ROI is like on this I don’t know but they have the fewest number of followers of the current top 6.
8,663 Tweets | 49 Following | 170,485 Followers
To a certain extent Spurs may have to compete with the San Antonio Spurs in the twittersphere so you’d think they might push hard with another hashtag but not so. They do use #SpursOfficial_LIVE Spurs tweet in game commentary, they have exploited Twitter for competitions but interaction often comes in the form of shout outs rather than retweets of fans, which is a little puzzling given how much fans would love to get a proper Twitter mention. I think its not unfair to say that you take Twitter as seriously as the logo you use and Spurs fall flat here, it is a tiny image and consequently grainy. Sort it out ‘Arry.
I will be appearing at iGaming Super Show in Dublin on the panel discussing The Role of Social Marketing for Gambling Companies and Affiliates on Wednesday 23rd May.