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Not only are Manchester City in the box seat for the league title this season, but the club's social strategy is keeping pace with the on-pitch performance. 

This is the verdict of a report by Accepted Socially, which has ranked the league's 20 teams according to their 'performance' on social media. 

We have been impressed with Man City's digital marketing strategy in general, so it's no great surprise to see this. 

I've been looking at the reasons for Man City's success, and contrasting with the team in 19th place, Newcastle United. 

The social Premier League table

Here's the table in full. 

Clubs were judged on a number of factors: 

  • Relevance. How are social profiles conveying events at the club? 
  • Engagement. Are clubs using social to involve fans? 
  • Commercialisation. Are clubs using profiles to monetise? Without overdoing it, that is. 
  • Creativity. Are they experimenting or just trotting out the same old news? 

Manchester City on social

The club scored almost top marks across the board, with its video content, promoted across channels, receiving particular praise.

Today for example, the social channels are showing old videos of Arsenal vs. City games in advance of tomorrow's game between the two sides. 

 

The club also uses social channels to keep people informed about goings on beyond the first team, posting updates on youth and women's sides. 

It also asks for contributions from fans, such as this #CITYMOSAIC competition: 

Also, while Facebook is the main platform (with 10m+ likes), the club maintains a presence across all the major social platforms, even Flickr. 

Newcastle Utd on social

As a Newcastle fan myself, I'm well aware of the sheer blandness of some of the club's social channels. 

The Facebook feed comes under particular criticism for its focus on promoting sportswear and other products over actually engaging with fans. Almost every other post is a sales pitch. 

Perhaps this is why, despite similar levels of matchday support, Manchester City has ten times more Facebook followers than NUFC. 

Indeed, the Twitter background is dedicated to selling Kings of Leon tickets, though some of the content shown in this channel, such as archive photos, is much more appealing than that on Facebook. 

Thanks to the club's subscription video service, the YouTube channel is virtually devoid of any content. The last was posted seven months ago.

The fact that this YouTube channel has just over 4,000 subscribers (Man City has more than 250,000) tells a story. 

It seems an obvious thing to show some free content to provide a taster of the paid service, but no-one seems to have thought of this. 

In summary...

With loyal fanbases, and lots of content to be created around the clubs, both official and user-generated, football clubs have a huge opportunity on social media. 

This presence could be used to engage fans young and old, provide useful information (matchday travel etc) as well as pushing a few of the club's products. 

The social performance of the two clubs here could hardly be more of a contrast. While the clubs have similar levels of support (in the UK anyway, City's international presence will be growing much faster), the numbers alone tell a story. 

Manchester City has seen the potential of social media as it trys to build an international brand to compete with Manchester Unites et al.

To this end, it has a dedicated digital marketing team (which tweets as @mcfcgeeks) and uses its social channels for interacting with fans and distributes some excellent video content.

Most importantly perhaps, it understands that people don't follow social profiles for sales pitches, they want entertainment, information, and interesting content. 

Newcastle United's social team (if it has one) doesn't seem to understand this, and  is content to just plug a few sportswear products without any serious attempts at interaction with fans. 

You can find the full social Premier League report here

Graham Charlton

Published 28 March, 2014 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (1)

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Rob Owlett

Im not sure how these scores are given or who by, but clearly there is a bias against Manchester United here.

Commercialisation should clearly be given a 5.. They are one of the most commercial brands on the planet!

As for only 3.5 for creativity (which is based on experimentation) the Youtube and G+ work they have been doing is far superior to anything any other club has trailed in the world to date.

over 2 years ago

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