The Sport Social Media Index is a league table of 148 British professional football, rugby and cricket teams, ranked according to the best use of social media on their official club channels.
Published annually, the table is compiled by measuring the performance of each team based, not just on an algorithm, but research from a team of nine people who looked at eight social networks, as well as a panel of four judges who presided over the results.
The Index, produced by PR and social media agency Umpf with partners William Hill, includes an overall table of all 148 teams ranked top to bottom,
plus nine additional separate tables showing rankings based on each sporting league.
Congratulations to Spurs who claimed overall top spot in the 2013 Sport Social Media Index – see case study, below. Kudos also to Birmingham (Championship), Leyton Orient (League One), Hartlepool (League Two), Inverness (SPL), Leeds Rhinos (Super League), Leicester Tigers (Premiership), Middlesex (CC Div One) and Northampton (CC Div Two) who topped the table for best social media performance in their respective leagues.
There are three elements to the Sport Social Media Index methodology, with a maximum score of 100 being attainable. The scoring includes both quantitative data from the analysis period and qualitative research from a team of 11 people from Umpf, William Hill and Opta.
The first element – which accounted for 65% of the total score – was a full analysis of each team’s official club social media channels. The analysis used data from 01 August 2013 to 30 September 2013; a two-month period designed to give all sports at least one month during which they were involved in competitive action.
Scores given at this stage took into account the breadth of official club social media channels (including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Vine and YouTube) as well as blog activity.
The scoring included percentage engagement levels, percentage community growth as well as multimedia content posted on Twitter and Facebook, including video, images, audio, official apps & external links.
The second element to the methodology was the judges’ scoring. Judges marked each team and the combined total from the four judges was averaged to give a final additional score for each team. This element accounted for a maximum 35% of the total scoring.
The final scoring element was the implementation of ‘Red Card’ penalties – 2.5% was knocked off the final score for each social media malpractice, including duplicate content, failure to use hashtags, idle content periods of four or more days and repeated spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.
Click the purple button for the full Sport Social Media Index ranking of all 148 clubs.
The green buttons represent the rankings league by league.
The documents will open into a printable PDF.
Tottenham Hotspur generated a strong data score with excellent engagement. The club not only has a great breadth of social media channels – including official pages on Vine, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Google Plus – but uses them to their potential.
Judges acknowledged the variety of content available across all channels, praising the platform-by-platform tailoring of content, noting that material was used when it was appropriate for that channel. Judges were also impressed by the strength of video content.
The availability of unique, behind-the-scenes footage was another highlight, and it is no surprise that this activity receives very high engagement as it taps into fans’ curiosity.
Match day coverage is also excellent and the club provides detailed coverage of the first team, U21s and U18s.
This image generated in excess of 12,000 likes and more than 1,000 shares.
Leyton Orient is the highest placed non-Premier League football team in the Index. The East London club – which averages home attendances of around 5,500 – had one of the highest data scores of all 148 teams.
Its ratio of community growth, engagement, responsiveness, plus range and depth of activity enabled the club to achieve high scores in the algorithm. Orient scored well with judges who praised their excellent breadth of official channels, use of media and noted their high levels engagement.
Judges said Leyton Orient showed a great understanding of what content their fans like to see and were generally in tune to the wants and needs of their communities.
The use of archive material, such as the ‘on this day’ stories, plus Q&A sessions with high profile figures such as the manager and chairman and use of hashtags to monitor and collate questions, were noted by the panel for generating large reach.
Jonny Davies Media & Communications Manager at Leyton Orient said: “Our social media channels are hugely important to us. Not only do they allow us to break news to fans as soon as it happens, but they also allow us to give fans a more 360-degree view of the club and make them feel at the heart of everything we do.”
Rugby League side Leeds Rhinos finished fifth place in the overall Index, the highest placed non-football team. The Yorkshire club received a very strong data score, good marks for the amount of official channels available to fans, and for the content that was used on each.
The judges highlighted the excellent use of hashtags across the board as well as clever use of visual assets such as their Facebook cover picture to advertise upcoming games and player achievements.
Also noted was the impressive use of fan photos from home games, the constantly changing cover photos, as well as behind-the-scenes access – although not groundbreaking, the panel agreed that it showed a willingness by the club to put time and resources in to creating content which can be consumed by fans for free.
As well as the timeliness of distribution and the responsiveness of moderators, judges were generally impressed with the club’s understanding of social media and how their staff fostered and developed communities.
Director of marketing at sport data experts Opta
Simon is Director of Marketing at sport data experts Opta. Simon has responsibility for the global Opta brand and has been involved in the development of the successful Opta Twitter accounts, such as @OptaJoe, which boasts over 450,000 followers as well as positioning the company as the leading providers of sports data.
Social Media Customer Experience Manager at William Hill Online
Michael is the Social Media Customer Experience Manager at William Hill Online, currently based in their Gibraltar office he is involved in defining the policies and practices that enable William Hill employees to engage with customers through Social Media.
Amy is a PR and Social Media Account Manager at Umpf, with a keen interest in data analysis. She has proven experience compiling indices and league tables based on qualitative and quantitative data. Amy ranked #14 in The Drum’s 30 Women in Digital Under 30 2013.
Tom is an Account Executive at Umpf, he possesses a deep knowledge of sport and social media. Recently shortlisted for the Mark Hanson award at the UK Social Media Awards, which recognises the brightest and most promising social media communicator under 30 years old.