You expect a better performance from the team that has names like Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting in it, and when you add Mitchell Johnson and Jacob Oram to the list, the team looks formidable. But the game is played in the field and not on the paper, and numbers and records are only as good as it appears, if it does not convert in result. Despite having a team with above-listed players, Mumbai Indians, MI for short, has managed to lose 3 of 5 matches it played in IPL 2013.
But this is not precisely what we should concern ourselves with. We will, rather, concern ourselves with social media activities of Mumbai Indians in IPL 2013 and see how the team has performed here.
Mumbai Indians on Facebook
With 3,081,369 total fans and more than 250,000 actively engaged fans, Mumbai Indians are, by far, arguably has the most number of fans on Facebook for an IPL team. And despite MI’s lackluster performance, fans do not seem to be disenchanted with the team, and the main reason behind it appears to be the larger-than-life presence of Sachin Tendulkar in the team, and the image after this one demonstrate it.
The pull factor of the batting genius does not need to be explained to a cricket fan, unless he or she has missed the years from 1989 and now. This is evident in the way MI fans are engaged wit the team. They are more engaged with Sachin on the page than they are with the team. Two images below and details in content strategy section are proofs of my hypothesis.
As you saw above, the post about Sachin was liked and shared more on Facebook than the post about Ricky Ponting, MI’s captains, despite it giving a sneak peak into captain’s private domain – the image shared was not of the cricket ground.
In terms of number the team has acquired almost similar number of fans between the warm-up period and since the series started. MI has gained 83,936 fans in the warm-up period and 77,277 fans since them. But the story told by actively engaged fans with the team has been different in the two periods. As you can see in the image corresponding to the number of fans in the warm-up period, you will notice how involvement started going down Since January, only to gain a real momentum once the series has started. And seeing the nature of team, it is anything but understandable.
On the demographic scale, the demographic makeup of the team reflects that of IPL viewers in general. 95% of MI fans are below 30 (with 50% being below 21 and 45% being between 21 and 30) and half of them are single. I will like to add that this does not mean rest are married or in a relationship, as the second most important category in relationship status happens to be on unknown.
In the studied period, there had been 1412 posts on MI wall, of which 1262 (89.4%) were done by MI fans and 150 (10.6%) were done by admins of the page.
Upon a close analysis of the nature of posts done I found that a significant amount of posts on MI page is focused on Sachin Tendulkar. Of total 1412 posts (150 by admins and 1262 by fans), 282 posts contain the word Sachin and 93 contain Tendulkar, only the word Indians occurred more than Sachin in posts on MI wall (390 times).
It should also come as no surprise that the most shared and liked post on MI page is about Sachin Tendulkar only, as you can see from the post below, which was done on January 04, 2013. It was also striking that despite the level of engagement, top 20-25 most engaging posts were done before the beginning of the tournament. It appears that in the warm-up period people were more actively engaged with each post than they are since the tournament has kicked off (see the second image).
Talking of content strategy, I must mention MI’s initiative to launch a fan magazine. This is yet another first from Mumbai Indians. The last year, the team has launched a video series, as part of MI social media initiative, giving sneak peak in players’ private domain.
There appears to be a slight disconnect between the post timing and fans’ engagement with the page. As evident from the following screenshot, maximum numbers of posts are done on Sunday, followed by Thursday and Saturday, whereas, engagement level is high on Friday followed by Saturday and Wednesday.
Sentiment in Fans’ posts
Despite a high number of actively engaged with the page, sentiment expressed in a large number of interactions (both from fans as well as admin) on MI page appears to be neutral.
Mumbai Indians on Twitter
With more than 160,000 followers, MI is going strong on Twitter. As you can see from the screenshot below the growth rate of MI’s twitter follower has bee on upward slop which only got steeper during the event (see the second image). In the warm-up period MI has gained 26,716 followers whereas it has gained 47,393 followers since then.
The number of followers of MI on Twitter is at par with that of KKR, which we reviewed earlier. Despite a dismal performance by the star-studded team, MI Paltan, as Mumbai Indian fans is called, is positive about their team’s future, and why should not be so. The team has two of the biggest stars of the cricketing world.
Content strategy of Mumbai Indians on Twitter is better than those of Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders. It has not only limited itself to semi-live tweeting or to using Twitter just as an accouchement or relay engine.
MI has attempted to use twitter to augment interactivity. Along with sharing information about MI and related activities, the social media team has also infused interactivity by asking quiz questions and fostering conversation. You can see the examples of all kinds of tweets done by MI in the screenshots below.
The team has judiciously used its hashtags (#MI, #AkkhaMumbaiKhelega) in its tweets, but it has not been very active in promoting links to its webpage or Facebook (see the screenshot below). Seeing the nature of Twitter, using links is a good way to deepen engagement. The team has used links to a good degree in replies, which is a good thing, but then it lacked on creating more engagement by leaving other Call to Action out of its replies (see the second image).
Hours between 12:00 to 6PM has been the busiest for twitter team of Mumbai Indians and the team has mixed retweets and replies well with its proactive tweets. 25% of total tweets from MI are retweets and 8% of them are replies. It is a good sign.
As far as the dominant sentiment of replies is concerned, it is neutral half of the time and positive rest of the time. MI displayed negative sentiment in only 1% of its replies.
Mumbai Indian on YouTube
Since the beginning of the warm-up period, MI has uploaded 24 videos on YouTube, and a majority of those are related to Education for All initiative by Mumbai Indians. The videos are short and succinct. But the team has lagged behind its performance on YouTube last years when it has done a remarkable job with videos. Still it is better than the teams reviewed so far.
In the period since January 01, the team has gained around 95,000 new views and 738 new subscribers, which are a way higher than those of KKR and Delhi Daredevils.
As you can see from the above two images, video views and subscriber count have skyrocketed since the last week of March, before that the performance was not all that remarkable.
Mumbai Indians on Pinterest and Google+
Although Mumbai Indians are present on Pinterest as well as Google+, the effort on these platforms are can, at best, be called half-hearted. On Pinterest, the team has created 6 boards and pinned 65 items, but none of those was done since January 01. In spite of that, the team has gained 23 new followers.
On Google+, the activity has been even thinner. In the warm-up period, the team has made a single update, and none since the beginning of IPL 2013. But MI is not alone to be blamed for such performance on Google+. The lack of interest in Google+ can be attributed to lack of audience on the platform.
Conclusion: Mumbai Indian on social media
On Facebook, Mumbai Indian has done well. It has a good level of engagement and a good fan’s growth rate. And its content strategy, and its launch of MI magazine make it a powerful IPL brand on Facebook, which calls for a far deeper engagement from fans. Mumbai Indians social media team should find a way to get make the posts more engaging so that real positive emotions ooze out from its already-engaged fans. And moving from strength to strength MI should also find a way to keep people engaged in the off-season. The social media team of Mumbai Indians should also add variety to its post and look beyond Sachin Tendulkar.
On Twitter Mumbai Indians have repeated its wonderful work of Facebook, but there is a scope for improvement. The social media team of Mumbai Indians should focus more on sharing links on twitters and embedding Call to Action (other than click the links) in its replies as well as proactive tweets and retweets. MI can also think of making micro-video and share it through Vine on Twitter.
YouTube has been not much of a success for MI, when compared to its last year’s activities, but when compared to other teams I have reviewed in this season, MI’s YouTube activity looks good. But this is not a benchmark. MI needs to work more on YouTube.
Just a nominal presence on Pinterest and Google+ is not going to cut it for Mumbai Indians. The team needs to focus more on these platforms, particularly on Pinterest – the growth in followers, even without any activity, suggests there is a hope for MI on the platform.
Overall, like the last season, social media team of Mumbai Indians has done a good job. It just needs to tighten the corners to make its effort more effective.