As the NHL’s regular season comes to a close, we reflect back on Tampa Bay’s record (and scratch our heads at their sudden collapse) and the Islanders’ surprising season. We know how all the teams fared on the ice, but here at Sprinklr the real question is, how did they do on social?
Using Sprinklr benchmarking, we were able to crown the NHL’s “Sprinklr Social Champions” of the regular season. We tracked each team’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn accounts from the first day of the regular season to the last. Here are the winners of the virtual Stanley Cup!
The Avalanche published 26,300 social posts this season! Colorado is a huge fan of Twitter, with 20,000 tweets this year. (The whole league is Twitter-crazy, as 74% of posts by NHL teams this year were on the platform). A quick glance at the Avalanche’s Twitter feed shows a lot of posts about their players, rather than game updates. Interestingly enough, posts with just text were the most common used media type for the Avs, while photos represented the most common media type across all NHL teams.
The Penguins led the way with over 18 million engagements this season. Looking at their engagements over time, Pittsburgh started slow out of the gate with only two million engagements in the first two months of the season. They saw a spike in engagements in December and have held steady ever since. Coincidently, the Penguins team also got off to a slow start in the standings as well, which makes you wonder if a team’s record is an indicator of the amount of engagements they get from their fans.
Pittsburgh, as well as the rest of the NHL, saw its highest engagement rates on photos, with Instagram emerging as the most engaged-with platform. The vast majority of engagements were likes and reactions rather than shares or comments. With two superstar players in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins are an exciting team on the ice and on social media.
The Penguins were also the most talked about brand on social media this season, racking up just over a million mentions from fans. Around 80% of these mentions came from Twitter, which is also the channel the brand posts from most frequently. And the mentions the Pens received were almost all positive, powering the team to have the highest number of positive mentions this season – a testament to both the quality of the franchise’s social media team, and the undying support of the Pittsburgh faithful.
With 6.7 million followers across all social networks, the Blackhawks have the largest social media audience in the NHL. 2.8 million of the team’s followers are from Facebook, even though roughly 75% of their posts this season were on Twitter. The largest spike in followers came between January and February, where the team gained over 50,000 followers in a month. Even though they’ve missed the playoffs for the second year in a row, the original 6 franchise still draws a lot of love (and likes)!
Looking at the data, there’s a lot of information to process. For one team, Twitter rules, while for another, Instagram is the dominant channel. The key message here is that each team (and brand) has its own audience, and its own path to social media success.
Brands should evaluate where their own fans and customers are most active and prioritize those channels. It’s also crucial to understand which types of content is performing best. As we’ve seen, for some brands it’s text-based posts, while for others, it’s images. It just goes to show that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to social media marketing – on and off the ice.
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