NBA players, like many professional athletes, have taken social media by storm but what about their teams? Fans love hearing directly from players but they also identify strongly with the teams themselves. Twitter and Facebook offer a great opportunity for NBA teams to connect with their fans in a more personal, interactive way. So which NBA teams have the largest following on Twitter and Facebook and who is making the most of their presence?
I got good response when I looked at the most popular NFL teams on Facebook and Twitter back in November so today I thought I’d do the same for the NBA.
In the table below the 30 NBA teams are ranked by total followers/fans on their official Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. I realize these figures change quickly but the snapshot is useful for comparison.
|Twitter followers||Facebook fans||Total|
|1||Los Angeles Lakers||1,415,871||657,007||2,072,878|
|6||San Antonio Spurs||19,901||90,550||110,451|
|11||Portland Trail Blazers||14,684||65,801||80,485|
|12||New York Knicks||14,395||43,972||58,367|
|17||Golden State Warriors||2,655||27,826||30,481|
|20||Los Angeles Clippers||13,531||7,291||20,822|
|23||Oklahoma City Thunder||8,911||10,981||19,892|
|26||New Jersey Nets||4,945||10,361||15,306|
|30||New Orleans Hornets||8,459||1,647||10,106|
The Lakers and Magic are well ahead in terms of total following, which isn’t surprising considering the popularity of the two teams and their stars and the fact that both teams were in the Finals last year.
While a number of smaller markets and weaker teams are at the bottom of the list I didn’t expect to see the Miami Heat down there. They are competitive on Twitter in terms of reach but their lack of a real presence on Facebook sent them down to #28. It doesn’t look like they even have an official page on Facebook; the one with 599 followers was the best that I could find.
But while building up followers is great it’s what you do with that following that really matters.
So what should NBA teams be doing on Twitter and Facebook? The most important thing is to communicate with the fans, plain and simple. Let them know what’s going on with the team and more importantly LISTEN to what they have to say.
Beyond that there’s no right or wrong answer but teams will certainly get a lot more traction by being compelling and interactive. Facebook pages offer a better opportunity for expanded content and extended conversations but there’s a lot you can do with Twitter too.
A simple thing that many teams do is providing in-game updates via Twitter. As a Bulls fan living outside of Chicago I don’t get to watch many games but I feel connected to the team when I see a scoring update:
Here are a few other things NBA teams should think about:
- Dish: offer insights and information that fans can’t get anywhere else
- Go behind the scenes: give them sense of what the organization is really like
- Humanize: not just the players, let them get to know the entire organization
- Speaking of players: the more they are involved with the team’s official social media activities, the less likely they’ll be to “go rogue” and say something regrettable on their own profiles
- Multimedia: photos and video bring sports content to life, and social media users love to share them
- Contests and promotions: tickets, gear, autographs, chances to meet players – you can quickly build buzz by giving away the good stuff
- Tie it to the community: let fans see that the team cares about the city and what’s going on there
Now if we could only get the NBA to change the first round playoff series back to five games…