Which Aviva Premiership team has the most followers on Twitter?

Which Aviva Premiership team has the most followers on Twitter?

With elite players, historic clubs and devoted fans, it’s no surprise the Aviva Premiership also sees a loyal following across social media with fans consuming content on a daily basis and always eager to learn more about their club and favourite players. Over the last season the match day attendance in the division was over 1.9 million across the league and therefore our analysts team wanted to understand how clubs were embracing social media and whether they were adequately using it. 

Social Media has become a dominant force in the Sports landscape with brands attempting in some way or another to connect with their fans. Fan engagement via social media, ensures that these clubs can communicate with the audience in a more direct way and which bolsters loyalty and support as well as commercial opportunities. The growth in the smartphone has also led to the explosion of social media awareness, with fans being able to engage either in stadiums or whilst second screening at home, without missing a minute of the action. With the nation’s interest in rugby union, both at International & club level as well as live converge across numerous channels, we would expect to see clubs constantly growing across their social media channels.

Therefore the fiacuity analyst team examined how many followers clubs had between January & June, who was using the Twitter platform most successfully as well as researching the growth rates for the league and determining which clubs were seeing ‘standard’ growth and which were performing above the league benchmark. There are of course other metrics to measure success, including engagement, however growth can provide marketing teams with an insight into their brand’s reach and audience size, which clearly can be leveraged for commercial purposes.

Who has the most followers on Twitter?

Twitter is the most popular social media platform for fans of the Premiership and therefore it provides clubs with the largest reach to engage their fans.

Rank Teams Followers
1 Leicester 143,000
2 Gloucester 119,000
3 Northampton 113,000
4 Bath 108,000
5 Wasps 99,100
6 Saracens 95,000
7 Exeter 94,500
8 Harlequins 92,400
9 London Irish 45,700
10 Sale 45,700
11 Worcester 44,800
12 Newcastle 38,900

Leicester lead the way on Twitter with 143k followers, which is comfortably higher than 2nd place Gloucester. Newcastle Falcons sit bottom of the chart despite their heroics this season, and title winners Saracens are surprisingly mid-table, for a club of their stature and history.

Who had a good Twitter strategy?

As one would expect, Leicester’s Twitter account primarily focuses on match updates, teams news and ticket sales, however Leicester have approached this in an innovative and interesting way. For example, the club have taken something fairly simple such as a match update, and injected it with a little humour such as a GIF, thus adding some personality to the account:

Arguably there is an emotional reason for Leicester’s high numbers of follower, as the club have a firm grasp on the fact that sport is emotive and fans want to feel like they are part of a wider family. Therefore Leicester consistently post content regarding the inner workings of the club, for example thanking a long serving ticket office employee for their service or tweeting messages of encouragement for Tom Young’s, during his wife’s incredible battle with cancer.

By engaging their fans in this manner, the club has been able to foster a spirit of community and creates a relationship which transcends ‘rugby’ and instead creates a bond between club, fan & player. Obviously, fiacuity isn’t advising that all private matters should be used for the sake of social media, but the fact is that connecting with Rugby fans on issues outside of just the 80 minutes on the field can have an incredibly rewarding effect.

What about the clubs’ growth?

Whilst these league tables tell us who is leading the way in terms of followers, it is important to look at the growth rate of these clubs as well. In 2018, the Premiership had an average growth rate across Twitter of 0.76% from January until June.

The above chart presents us with an alternative image of Twitter performance, for example Newcastle are currently bottom of the Twitter Rankings, and yet since Jan 1st, they have posted the most impressive growth figures with 1.55%. Conversely, Northampton who are third in our overall followers table, actually came under the division benchmark with a growth of 0.60% and in between April & May saw a negative growth of -0.03%, meaning they lost followers. 

Interestingly, in spite of Leicester’s positive Twitter strategy it could be argued that the on pitch disappointments this season have contributed to slower growth, whereas Newcastle conversely performed above expectations and therefore receiving more attention. Whilst employing a savvy Twitter policy is important, it’s also worth noting that on field results have a natural impact in on growth and what marketeers should look to do is limit this to the best of their ability in difficult times and capitalise when there is optimism.

That being said, any top tier sports team should be expected to grow week on week, month on month, however our insights have determined that club shouldn’t just accept that average growth can’t be improved. As an example, Sale Sharks saw a 0.45% growth in their Twitter followers Feb- March, which equated to approximately 200 followers. Whilst this is still a very positive uplift, had the club hit the benchmark for this period of 0.98%, they could have been looking at an additional 240 followers, which is potentially 240 more individuals to retain as fans and target commercially. In stadium terms, that’s 2% of the AJ Bell Stadium. 

So what can rugby clubs do to improve their Twitter growth?

Our platform and team specialises in analysing brand’s entire digital activity to help identify opportunities, threats and return-on-investment.

Get in touch with us to find out more about how fiacuity can be used to provide strategic recommendations to actively improve your growth rates as well as learn from what competitors are doing to achieve higher rates and success. Our platform can help you review your entire season’s digital marketing activity (social, email, content, paid advertising) and help you make smarter decisions on where to allocate more time and investment.

About Liam Walsh

Liam Walsh is a Director at acuity and helps lead product development and insight for the fiacuity platform.

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