Thursday, May 25th, 2017 | 9 min read
Football. America’s Game (as of the past few decades, at least). A religious devotion for some, a lifelong dream for others – the NFL captures the hearts and minds of audiences both Stateside and worldwide.
News that the NFL has relaxed its social media policy may concern TV broadcasters who rely on this strong viewership. A more open social playing field, however, allows the 32 teams in the league to make greater efforts on social to stay top of mind with audiences during the offseason.
The Sprinklr Business Index (SBI), which measures and analyzes the breadth of public interactions between brands and consumers across social media, indicates that many are rising to this challenge in 2017, filling fans with optimism ahead of a brand new season.
Here are five NFL teams that score big when it comes to social media engagement – even when opening kickoff is months away.
The most lucrative sports league in the world fittingly includes the most valuable sports team in the world. Purchased by owner Jerry Jones for only $140 million in 1989, the Cowboys are now valued at a staggering $4 billion. And while the team may have a Super Bowl drought dating back to 1996, it’s found a winning formula on social.
For the Cowboys (and the entire NFL alike), social media has become an integral part of the NFL Draft.
The team displays its illustrious history with #EarnTheStar visual content. The iconic symbol is considered a “mark of honor” and “the crest of a proud tradition.” Upon viewing this video, draft prospects would undoubtedly feel inspired to wear the Cowboys jersey.
Personality and sense of humor shine through in other content. Vidauntae “Taco” Charlton was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round this year. On social, the team has maximized the value of the defensive end’s nickname, which (one would hope) stems from his love of the Mexican staple.
However, the Cowboys’ social content inevitably reverts back to the most important aspect of sport – the team.
SBI figures indicate that 90% of content engagement comes through visuals, while the team receives 96% positive sentiment on its social output. Indeed, the Cowboys’ social strategy leaves fans with stars in their eyes.
The Pittsburgh Steelers hold the record for most Super Bowls. The team boasts six titles, and has given the Steeler Nation plenty to smile about over the years. The storied franchise is also making fans smile across social.
Sports fans love to see a player immerse himself in the local culture and community. 2017 first round draft pick T.J. Watt recently did exactly that, visiting local eateries and enjoying impressive views from Mount Washington.
Like the Cowboys, the Steelers also display a sense of humor on social. The team published a witty video to mark Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you), getting fans excited for kickoff in September.
However, nothing excites the Steeler Nation more than the Terrible Towel. Heinz Field – and wherever the Steelers play on the road – is awash with the iconic yellow symbols on gameday. The team introduces different versions of the towel for holidays, charitable causes and championship commemorations. On social, Steelers fans are encouraged to showcase their Terrible Towel across the globe.
The SBI shows that over 90% of the Steelers’ content engagement comes from visuals, and the team’s audience insights score of 9.1 is near the top among NFL teams.
New York Giants
One of the oldest franchises in the NFL, the Giants are also one of the most successful, winning Super Bowls in four different decades. On social, the team maintains a similar consistency with a mix of engaging content.
An air of expectancy often accompanies first round draft picks. Social media allows teams like the Giants to showcase the potential of their new players, in this case tight end Evan Engram. It offers fans a sneak peek of what they can expect in coming seasons.
Social also presents NFL fans with opportunities to engage with players. Through Twitter Q&A sessions, fans can ask their heroes any burning questions they may have.
Away from the field, Giants franchise quarterback Eli Manning is renowned for his charitable work. On social, the Giants showcase Manning’s good deeds in communities both near and far.
SBI figures show an impressive reach rate of 12.54%, accompanied by 94% positive sentiment on content. The Giants stand tall on social.
Green Bay Packers
The Steelers may hold the record for most Super Bowls, but the Packers won an impressive nine championships before the Super Bowl era. Add four Super Bowls and you’ve got the most successful NFL team overall. Consider that the Vince Lombardi Trophy is so named after the legendary Packers coach. Such history is a tall order to match. On social, however, the Packers’ focus is on the present and future.
The Packers gave fans cause for optimism ahead of the 2017 draft. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers was drafted in 2005, and is a prime example of the power of smart drafting.
Post-draft, the team used 360° content to give fans a glimpse of its 2017 picks.
Combine established stars like Rodgers with the potential of new recruits, and you can build anticipation and excitement for the new season.
SBI figures show an NFL-leading brand score of 7.7, while the Packers possess an impressive 11.99% reach rate.
New England Patriots
To say that the New England Patriots divide opinion would be an understatement. Recent polls suggest that the Pats are in fact America’s least favorite team. Patriot Nation would simply argue that this is the price they pay for success.
The most consistent NFL team of the past two decades is just as steady in its efforts on social. New England sports fans are known for their passion, and the Patriots reflect this passion in their support of the Boston Celtics’ playoff efforts.
Personalization is part of the equation on Facebook, as fans recently had the opportunity to pledge their Patriot allegiance with a championship-themed Cinco de Mayo profile picture frame. Adoption of this frame would flood the newsfeed and ensure the Patriots remain a topic of conversation.
The team also taps into the starpower of legendary quarterback Tom Brady. #TomTuesday is used regularly on social, driving audience engagement for the Pats.
SBI figures show an NFL-leading audience insights score of 9.2, while the Patriots receive 93% positive sentiment on content.
Succeed on Any Given Sunday
Social media has become an arena of sporting conversation. Fans express their delight and despair, following every move of the teams they love.
The second screen is more important than ever before, and sites like Twitter have even begun to stream games on a worldwide scale.
Sports fans appreciate when their teams leave it all on the field of play. But by going the extra mile to engage fans on social, NFL teams can ensure they are at the forefront of conversation long before the season begins.
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