This new article is a return to using a data source to rank teams in the Championship. However, the source of that data is a little bit different this time and I expect this to be a hotly debated subject. Taking the context away from football, the number of Twitter followers a business has is a good general guide to the size and success of that business.
Therefore, I’m applying the same general logic to football by looking at the clubs’ official accounts.
A recent article of mine looked at average attendances to rank clubs with the focus there on the fans that attend the games. Looking at social media builds up a different picture as the focus here is more on the global audience of supporters that may or may not attend games.
When you get into my selections, you will notice both similarities and differences between my other articles ranking clubs on size. This shows that if using various pieces of data, the clubs that come out on top might not be what you expect. The other thing I will say on this content is the skill of the social media also plays some part – but I will leave it to you to decide if this is an accurate assessment of club size or not.
Now we have all of that out of the way, let’s get into it…
1. Aston Villa (982k Twitter Followers)
It won’t surprise many people to see Aston Villa rank on top as they are a massive football club at this level – and one I’m tipping to have a good season.
Villa have an incredible Twitter following of 982k, a number that would have only been beaten by Newcastle United, last season, at this level. The club’s account has tweeted over 50,000 times, follows 163 people, and has liked 2,736 tweets.
In addition, the profile has been running since March 2009 and has a Klout score of 91. Additional data from Twitter Counter suggests current growth of around 549 followers per day and an average activity of six daily tweets.
Villa fans tend to be quite vocal on social media and that certainly plays into those prominent levels of following and engagement.
2. Sunderland (706K Twitter Followers)
Sunderland are another big club entering the Championship for the new season. Not a team that I have the highest hopes for given their recent decline – and you can read more about that in my big clubs that are set to struggle piece.
In terms of their Twitter, they have another significant following of 706k, have tweeted around 59,000 times, follow over 1,000 accounts, and have liked over 4,600 tweets.
While Sunderland lag behind Villa in terms of total followers, there is some evidence that they are doing other things better.
For example, they follow around 10 times as many accounts, tweet more often and like more of other people’s tweets. Additional information includes the fact the account also started in March 2009 and the Klout score is 90. In terms of averages, the official account gains 382 new followers per day and current activity levels are nine daily tweets.
3. Norwich City (485k Twitter Followers)
Norwich City’s Twitter following shows that they have a global audience – but also do digital marketing well.
Clearly, a following of nearly half million is impressive work as a Championship club – and, as you can see, only two clubs can perform better at this level. The Canaries haven’t been at it quite as long and their account was registered in September 2010.
In terms of some other stats, there has been over 55,000 tweets, 132 accounts are being followed, and nearly 1,400 tweets have been liked. In terms of averages, 199 new followers are gained each day and 10 new tweets are put out daily.
What’s clear here is that Norwich City are a very active user of social media – and their Klout score of 89 shows high engagement with fans.
4. Hull City (365k Twitter Followers)
The next team in the ranking is Hull City – who also enjoy a healthy presence on social media. However, they are another one of those sides that may have a difficult time of it in the Championship during the coming season.
The club have been on Twitter since January 2010 and during that time have amassed 365k followers.
Further stats include around 54,000 tweets, following 197 accounts and they don’t appear to have liked any tweets. Data on growth and activity shows 206 new followers gained each day and an impressive daily activity of 13 tweets. When you also add in the Klout score of 89 it becomes quite clear that Hull are doing a good job on social.
5. Queens Park Rangers (353k Twitter Followers)
Most people would regard QPR as another big club in the Championship – so it’s no great surprise to see them featuring in this list. It’s also unclear what sort of season the club are likely to have in the coming season – but mid-table is the most likely outcome.
The club started tweeting in September 2009 and currently have 353k followers.
The account has now posted over 75,000 updates, following 396, and has liked over 11,000 tweets. In terms of those averages, 85 followers are gained each day and a daily average of 17 tweets. In addition to that the Klout score is 88 – so this is certainly a prolific account in terms of Twitter activity.
6. Fulham (346k Twitter Followers)
Fulham really started to get their act together in the Championship last season – and I’m expecting them to be the pass masters in the league again as they were last season.
The Cottages also perform well when it comes to Twitter since they started their account in March 2009. What immediately stands out, for me, is they are following over 12,000 accounts, which is considerably more than the other clubs in this list so far.
Other stats include having 346k followers, liking over 2,600 tweets and having a Klout score of 81. In terms of those averages, 157 followers are gained every day as well as an activity level of 10 updates daily. So, this is another very strong profile of a club gaining followers as well as remaining active.
The thing about social media is if you are too quiet then you get forgotten about – so Fulham are certainly staying memorable.
7. Leeds United (280k Twitter Followers)
Some people may find it surprising that Leeds United don’t feature higher on this list – but that’s just the way it goes. Nevertheless, seventh place still suggests that the club are getting things right on social media.
Leeds started tweeting in December 2012 – so they are relatively new to this game.
The Whites are also not much of a follower of other accounts and only afford 53 that privilege at present. Other stats include having 280k followers, creating 30,000 tweets, and have also liked 113 updates from other users. In terms of those averages, 147 new followers are gained each day and there are five daily updates. The account also has a Klout score of 81, showing they are doing well but there is room for improvement compared to other football accounts.
This completes the content section of the article looking at the comparisons between Twitter audiences and club size. So, are these the seven biggest clubs in the Championship? Or is it just that other big clubs aren’t doing social media so well.
Obviously, I will have more list-style articles like this coming up soon, so keep an eye on my profile page for the latest updates. The next content will be looking at which teams in the Championship might be a surprise package and that will be with you in the coming days.
Data source: Twitter Counter and Klout