NFL Touchdowns on Social MediaSeptember 17, 2015
Shortly after America crowned its new sweetheart (Miss Georgia, who had a mouthful to say about Tom Brady and deflategate), the Dallas Cowboys seemed to reemerge as “America’s Team” by scoring a nail-biting 27-26 win against the New York Giants and sweeping the competition clean in the social media arena.
Being the NFL lovers that we are, our Zoomph squad was curious to see which team was getting the MOST engagement during the first week of the football season. By creating a feed on our platform tracking everything and anything that mentioned the NFL and the teams there within, we attempted to gain some key insights into each team’s social media strategy.
Our findings show that though teams like NY Giants, New England Patriots, and Miami Dolphins are doing an excellent job with engaging their fans on social, one team stands out as taking the Twitter field by storm – the Dallas Cowboys.
Sunday, September 13. 11:41 p.m.
That’s the exact time that our Zoomph trackers picked up on a spike of social media activity, which outdid any level of activity that occurred when Brady took the field after his almost-suspension, or when the St. Louis Rams nabbed a surprise victory over the Seattle Seahawks. On Sunday at 11:41 p.m., our trackers show that people were still buzzing about the Cowboys’ game-winning touchdown.
Who’s to credit for this buzz? Exactly an hour before this, the Cowboys posted this tweet:
—which earned the most shares, sparked the most conversations, and received the most ZPoints® over any other NFL-related tweet posted between last Thursday (9/10) evening and this Tuesday (9/15) morning, according to our feed. (For those who aren’t familiar, ZPoints® is a context-sensitive measurement of social sway that indicates a user’s influence on a certain topic. In other words, this metric doesn’t simply rely on follower count or the number of posts that a user publishes, but measures the attention that each post collects and the activity that it generates over time.)
But in case you were curious…
The Cowboys flaunt 1.39 million followers on Twitter, giving them an advantage over teams with a smaller fan base at home—if just for geographic reasons—like the Baltimore Ravens (658K followers) or the Miami Dolphins (479K followers).
Yet, the Patriots exceed the Cowboys in Twitter following with 1.47 million followers. So how, then, were the Cowboys able to gain more momentum in social influence this week? Let’s take a closer look.
Masters of engagement
Retweets. Mentions. Calls for action. The Cowboys are all about it.
Most praiseworthy of all – the Cowboys diplomatically rope in everyone from their players and coaches to their cheerleaders and fans, allowing them to do the talking or to give the stats.
And whilst updating daily, not to mention before, during, and after a game, the ‘boys scrap gimmicky headlines for down-to-earth, “human” posts that occasionally feature one of the most universal languages of our time: Emoticon.
All this may explain why our feed picks up on a remarkably high level of positive sentiment among those who tweeted at the Cowboys during the last week. Overall, the Cowboys rolled in as the second most mentioned team – second only to @NFL – with an overwhelmingly positive reception from their viewers on Twitter.
Let us be the first to tell you that the Cowboys also ranked as the most popular team on our feed by measure of the number of users who tweeted directly at them and the amount of shares that their posts received.
Exclusive Photo Scoops
In these images taken before last Sunday’s game, they may appear less like your celebrity sports team and more like your old high school football team:
And whether you’re someone watching the game from the nosebleed bleachers or from your couch, you can receive a rare, real-time glimpse of the football field through the Cowboys’ Twitter account, absent of photoshopping or glittery advertising.
Perhaps what the Cowboys do well here is treat Twitter as its own channel. Offering an up-close-and-personal photo gallery that the TV won’t always give, the team configures their Twitter account as yet another competitive and visual channel for fans to tune into during commercial breaks or anytime throughout the game.
Diverse Channel Engagement
On a similar note, the Cowboys offer a diverse collection of material – taking full advantage of the internet’s ability to publish written, visual and audio information in tandem. We observed gifs, snap chat items, pictures, behind-the-scene videos, and web links fill the Cowboys Twitter page last week.
The payoff? According to our feed, the team achieved a high social reach with Millennials, a digitally savvy demographic having a growing love for visual content.
So we’ve deduced that in Week 1 of the football season, the Cowboys have scored the most touchdowns on Twitter. To recap what we’ve covered, here are some key points that you can take away to increase your Twitter engagement, regardless of your affinity for football.
- Retweet, mention, converse with your audience. Speak with them, not simply at them, and let them guide or participate in the conversation every once in a while.
- Study your current + potential audiences and speak their language. Don’t shy away from communicating in picture, text, video and other forms. Dare to have fun with it!
- Show your followers love. It’s easy to get caught up in the number of followers that you have, and wanting to make that crowd more numerous. But remember to value your current followers because your social media success hinges on their engagement and their respect for what you have to say.
- Generate visual content exclusively for Twitter. Though it’s nice to loop in content from your website and other sources, you can avoid being redundant by providing fresh content specifically for Twitter. Just like a cable network that has many separate channels – as a social media guru, you should keep various social accounts, each with its own unique material.