Archive for January 25, 2012

Top NFL Teams on Facebook

This season’s NFL scores are in – but we’re not talking about the playoffs. Another kind of pro football competition happens everyday, and this one’s not measured in yards and touchdowns but in Facebook Fans and online engagement.

Tim Tebow memes notwithstanding, when it comes to social media, pro sports teams have an inherent advantage over other kinds of brands. For one thing, NFL franchises don’t have to worry about converting run-of-the-mill consumers into enthusiastic “Fans” – that’s already in the bag. And since sports fans live and breathe the ups and downs of their teams, social media is perfectly suited for the kind of fan-culture engagement that keeps sports franchises healthy and profitable.

But that doesn’t mean NFL teams don’t have to work at their engagement strategies to keep real-world fans active online. Here’s a look at how the top 5 NFL teams on Facebook are keeping their fans engaged:

1) Dallas Cowboys: 4,204,020 Facebook Fans 

While it could be just a coincidence that the NFL’s most “Liked” team is also it’s most profitable, the enduring strength of the Cowboy’s brand (despite its ups and downs on the field) allows it to use its Facebook wall as yet another revenue-generating advertising space. Besides the posts about players, coaching changes and game analysis – standard fare on every NFL team Facebook page – the Cowboys are that rare juggernaut of a brand that can also put up explicitly sponsored Facebook posts without squelching Fan interaction. A recent post titled “Gatorade Trivia Time,” for example, asked Fans to guess how many flavors of Gatorade were stocked in the team’s training facility soda machine. In just nine hours over 6,000 people responded. The grand prize? A game towel. The moral of that story? Don’t mess with Texas.

2) Pittsburgh Steelers: 3,819,933 Facebook Fans 

Like the Cowboys, the Steelers enjoy a committed fan base spilling well beyond their neck of the woods, and the Steelers’ Facebook page serves as a hub for the far-flung Steeler Nation. The Steelers post about 2-4 times per day, except on game days when they post regular live game updates on their Wall, giving Fans a chance to comment on the ecstasies and the agonies. And for Steelers fans, well, we know which one they feel more often.

3) New England Patriots: 2,824,822 Facebook Fans 

Clocking in at number three, the Patriots feature a recurring Wall Post called “Ask A Pat” in which Fans are invited to submit a question to a designated member of the team:

Six-time Pro Bowl guard Brian Waters is this week’s Ask A Pat! Post your questions here & he’ll film a video response tomorrow.

It’s a great way to generate comments, connect fans with players, and highlight video posts – even if they aren’t always particularly profound.  Case in point: “Aaron Hernandez talks about his most meaningful tattoo in this week’s Ask A Pat video.”

4) Green Bay Packers: 2,533,878 Facebook Fans 

With deep roots and a storied history, this small-market team enjoys a passionate following well beyond Wisconsin. In fact, “Packers Everywhere” is the name of a recently launched official fan site where the Packers often link their Facebook posts. And linking seems to be one the Packer’s engagement strategies; almost every Wall Post ties back to, keeping fans securely inside the Green Bay loop. We were heartened to see one link that somehow just seemed so…Wisconsin:

Get your Pack Attack Mac, Brat Bites, and Cheesehead Beer Bread recipes at the all-new Packers Everywhere Online Cookbook! Submit your own recipe or check out others at the only cookbook made exclusively by Packers fans.

5) New Orleans Saints: 2,354,740 Facebook Fans 

Who Dat? Over 2.3 million Facebook Fans, that’s who! The Saints are another small-market team consistently hitting above its weight, both in athletic performance and in its branding. The city of New Orleans and its place in our popular imagination might have something to do with that, or maybe it’s just that the Saints are the most, as they might say in the South, loquacious, of the top five teams. The Saints sometimes post as much as twelve times per day. Online, as in the bayou, the conversation never stops.

As for the rest of the pack, our scoreboard finds eleven other teams with Fan numbers above the 1,000,000 mark, but a full eight teams still haven’t broken the 500,000 threshold. While some of these stragglers are relatively new franchises compared to our top five, we were surprised to find the venerable Buffalo Bills coming in at number 30. Looks like somebody’s got some work to do in the off-season.

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The Track Social Awards: Best of 2011

2011 was a thrilling year in social media!  Once again, audience interaction is up and smart brands are finding new and innovative ways to engage consumers online.  To name just a few of the year’s notable trends, we saw the growth of social mobile gaming, dynamic coupons, and consumers sharing friends lists to gain greater interaction and enjoy the perks.

Now that 2011 is officially closed, it’s time to announce the Best of 2011 Track Social Awards, acknowledging the brands that stood out and achieved the greatest social media success in a very competitive year.  These awards aren’t just a matter of insider opinion though.  They’re backed up by a year’s worth of hard data.  So after lots of number crunching, fact checking and double-checking, we’re pleased to congratulate the 2011 winners!

The big winner this year is Disney [ ], sweeping three of our most coveted prizes including the Grand Award for Annual Social Media Audience Growth.  With 23,135 new interactions per day, Disney demonstrated its social media marketing prowess and proved that even the most well-established brands aren’t just resting on their laurels.  Winning engagement is a daily endeavor and big brands have to work more creatively than ever to remain in the spotlight and stay relevant.

Much of Disney’s social media success owes to its Facebook dominance.  Disney took the top spot in two of our most important Facebook Awards for 2011.  With a remarkable 17,716 New Fans Per Day, Disney wins the Facebook Audience Growth Award, a much coveted marker of online success.  They’ve also picked up the Facebook Likes Per Post Award with a phenomenal 30,291.9 Likes per post.

Facebook [] snagged itself the Facebook Comments Per Post Award.  The social media giant’s posts garnered an average of 4,346.2 comments per post, ensuring that the world’s most popular social network remains a talked-about and talked-to brand.  Keeping users logged-on, engaged, and active is Facebook’s bread and butter, so whether those comments were positive, negative or neutral, this level of engagement is what maintaining online relevance is all about.

The prize for Facebook Comments Per Post Per Fan Award – which takes into account the relative size of a brand’s Facebook audience – goes to the Casa Monica Hotel [] in St. Augustine, Florida.  With 10.7 comments per post per 1000 fans, the Casa Monica Hotel is a great example of a small, niche brand effectively using social media to achieve big results.  This castle-like hotel keeps their loyal fans active by posting information not only pertaining to the hotel, but everything from the happenings in St. Augustine, to Monday Night Football.

Another small brand, Swiss engineering firm Holcim [] picked up the Facebook Likes Per Post Per Fan Award with 19 Likes per post per 1000 fans.  What a surprise for an engineering firm to collect so many Likes and keep their fans engaged, well done Holcim!

2011 was a big year for Twitter.  Brands utilized this social media more than ever and Vogue Magazine [], ever the trend setter, stood out this year by winning the Twitter Audience Growth Award for picking up 810,060 new followers.

And with the increasing use of Twitter as a critical customer service tool, Continental Airlines (now United Airlines) [] demonstrated its Twitter skills by picking up the Twitter Retweets Per Tweet Award with 212.0 retweets per tweet.  Their consistent and constant interaction with followers has sure scored them a lot of retweets!

Likewise, Apache Software Foundation [] gets our kudos for winning the Twitter Retweets Per Tweet Per Follower Award.  With 3.76 retweets per tweet per 1000 followers, ASF is clearly providing Twitter content its followers are using and passing along.

If there’s one thing we can reliably predict for 2012, it’s that social media achievements will continue to drive brand success in the twenty-first century.  A hearty congratulations to our 2011 winners, and a very social 2012 to all!

Disney’s Track Social Profile
Facebook’s Track Social Profile
Casa Monica Hotel’s Track Social Profile
Holcim’s Track Social Profile
Vogue Magazine’s Track Social Profile
Continental Airlines’ Track Social Profile
Apache Software Foundation’s Track Social Profile


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