Newly-promoted Premier League side Leicester City has been ranked top of the second, annual, 148-team Sport Social Media Index which grades British professional football, rugby and cricket teams according to social media performance by their official club channels.
Four of the top ten places – Leeds United (2nd), Ipswich Town (3rd), Sheffield Wednesday (4th) and Millwall (7th) – are occupied by Championship clubs, shifting the balance of power from the 2013 Sport Social Media Index which saw six English Premier League teams in the top ten.
Other notable inclusions in this year’s top ten are Rugby Super League’s Castleford Tigers (6th) and their union counterparts, Leicester Tigers (9th), from the Premiership. Scottish Premiership football side Ross County (148th) once again props up the table.
Launched in 2013, the annual Index is compiled by measuring the social media performance of each team based, not just on an algorithm, but research from a team of seven people who looked at eight social media networks. Four months in the making, the data was then analysed by a panel of four judges who presided over the final results, creating a league table which benchmarks social media success among professional British sports teams.
The Index, produced by social media agency Umpf – and partnered once again by William Hill – includes an overall table of all 148 teams ranked top to bottom, plus nine additional tables showing rankings based on each sporting league.
Judges praised Leicester City for its varied content strategies optimised to encourage organic growth, high levels of cross-channel audience engagement and its ‘fleet-of-foot community management’. Amy Byard, Social Media Account Manager at Umpf said: “Leicester City were promoted from the Championship to the Premier League in 2014 and, off the pitch, they upped their social media game, climbing from tenth to top this year.
“Not only does the club have a great breadth of social media channels – including official pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Vine and Google + – but it’s shown a strong understanding of tailoring content to suit the platform on which it is hosted.
“It’s clear that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to social media from a department who are not just fleet-of-foot, but who have a very well-defined and well-planned social media content strategy. “Finally, the club demonstrated significant growth across their social media communities – all-in-all the club is very much deserving of its top spot in the 2014 Sport Social Media Index.”
Michael Sheehan, Head of Social Media at William Hill, said: “It’s fantastic to see Leicester City climb from a very prominent 10th position in last year’s index to the top of the table in 2015. “Leicester clearly understand the value of investing in social media and have demonstrated a clear ability to not only promote the club’s efforts on pitch, but also use social to listen to the needs and desires of their fans.
“This coupled with significant community growth year on year and excellent cross channel development, mean Leicester City truly deserve to be crowned this year’s winners.”
Congratulations to Leeds United (Championship), Leyton Orient (League One), Plymouth Argyle (League Two), St Johnstone (SPL), Castleford Tigers (Super League), Leicester Tigers (Premiership), Warwickshire (CC Div One) and Worcestershire (CC Div Two) who topped the table for best social media performance in their respective leagues.
There was an overall 11% improvement in the average team score across the 148 teams, from 49.9 last year to 55.6 this year. The average score of the top ten clubs improved by 7.5% from 63.9 to 68.7 this year from a possible maximum score of 100.
*Case studies on Leicester City, Leeds United and Castleford Tigers, as well as full league tables, methodology and judges’ bios, are available at: Sport Social Media Index.