Interactive Analysis of Team Twitter Accounts

Twitter-iconWhenever you create a social media account, there are those basic account settings that let you share information about yourself with others, such as an image, biography, link, etc. I was curious about how different teams use these settings, particularly on Twitter. Professional sports teams are so well known that they don’t need to educate consumers like other companies do, but this can still be valuable real estate to use.

So last weekend (January 14-16, 2017), I went through the Twitter accounts of 146 professional teams across MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL and NHL and captured as much data as I could – everything from their current key metrics (followers, following, tweets) to their bio content, choice of image/link/location, and use of various other settings.

I also love Tableau as a tool for data visualization, so I took all that data and created an infographic-style, interactive dashboard (below) that you can explore. I encourage you to play around it with and see what insights you can glean from it. Here are a few particularly interesting tidbits I found:

  • Moments haven’t really “taken off” yet among teams. The Lakers (57), Bucks (22) and Canucks (20) use it the most, but 99 teams don’t have a single Moment created, and in particular, MLB accounts have an average of 0.47 Moments.
  • MLB accounts like the most tweets by far, averaging 14,729 per account. Which teams like the least? The Wizards (97), New York Giants (62) and New York Knicks (31).
  • There’s quite a gap between the chattiest and quietest accounts. Putting aside expansion teams, the most tweets come from the Blue Jackets (109,084) and the fewest come from the Bengals (16,424).

Now let’s look at some insights from the actual bio content:

  • Teams often use one social channel to promote others. Many teams, especially in MLB (50%) are using their Twitter bio to promote their Snapchat account, while very few (and actually zero NFL teams) are using it to promote their Facebook page.
  • I think it’s important to include at least one hashtag in a Twitter bio, to help with search results and to let fans know what hashtag to use when tweeting. MLS teams agree with an average of 1.2 hashtags per bio and six teams have 3 different hashtags in their bio. However, 68 teams do not include any hashtag at all!
  • MLS teams also have the longest bios, averaging 101 characters, with NBA teams having the shortest at 65. I was surprised to see four teams have NO bio content at all – this is valuable real estate!

Don’t forget the sales and service options that your Twitter account offers

  • Almost all teams set their Twitter link to the team homepage, but three link to their Snapchat account and two (Celtics and Whitecaps) link to their ticket page! I like this as a way to try and drive some sales.
  • Two teams (Bengals and Titans) include their phone number in their bio, six include a sponsor logo in their main Twitter image, and one of those six (New Jersey Devils) also include that sponsor in their bio.
  • Sixteen accounts allow anyone to direct message them without the team needing to follow them first, which allows the accounts to be better used for customer service.

I hope this exercise has been worthwhile to you all. Please explore the visualization below – you can click on a league logo to filter down to a specific league, change the metrics on that first bar chart, click on a team-specific line to show a pop-up w/ a link to that account, or click on other components to access a link to view all teams and bios that have that chosen attribute.