FC Barcelona win Best Sports Club on Social Media
Catalan giants FC Barcelona have been awarded the ‘Best Sports Clubs on Social Networks’ at this years ‘The Social Star Awards 2012‘. Chosen by the award hosts – StarCount – Barcelona ranked ahead of the likes of Real Madrid (2), Manchester United (3) and the current European champions Chelsea (4). Football clubs held 9 of the top 10 spots in the sports club social media rankings leaving only the LA Lakers on their own at number 5.
Dídac Lee, FC Barcelona’s director of New Technologies, said,
“being recognised as the best club in the world in the management of social networks is a privilege, especially considering that the vote is in the hands of the users and they base their vote on both quantitative and qualitative data.” Lee added: “from FC Barcelona, we want to thank the millions of people that give us confidence and give us their support. We’re committed to keep on working to extend the Azulgrana feeling throughout the world through new technology and social media.”
Whilst it is no surprise to see Barcelona win the spot with its 32m Facebook fans, 9.6m Twitter followers and 1.4m Google+ fans, it is a surprise to see certain clubs/franchises missing. Barcelona are an excellent social media club and have strived in the past to be innovative and engaging with their fans – however, others in the top 10 are questionable.
US sports franchises like the NBA, NHL and even the MLS arguably do more in terms of fan engagement and innovation in comparison to Premier League teams like Manchester United or Arsenal. Undoubtedly the US is the pinnacle of good sports social media practice and initiatives like the NHLs “fan social media command centre” or the NBA’s inspiring use of YouTube are much better than broadcast tweeting!
Closer to home, the absence of the internationally praised and award-winning Manchester City Social Media team is bizarre. Whilst City may not have the same international fan base or social media followers than say Arsenal, it’s efforts in terms of engagement, content creation and reputation dwarf the Londoners “marketing heavy” feeling Twitter or Facebook page. These rankings appear to be heavily biased towards volume rather than quality of interactions.
With that being said, Barcelona deserve their award and would certainly be in my top 3 clubs for Football Social Media. They have demonstrated to the rest of the industry the value in producing high quality content and putting the fan at the centre of all activity – not your merchandise marketing strategy.