Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has been one of the most consistent teams in all seasons of IPL, and arguably the most consistent of all teams. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has led his team to two finals and two successive series victories. And seeing the culture of extreme hero-worship in Chennai, it is but obvious to expect a huge fan following for CSK on the social media as well.
But things that look obvious is not always as such, so we need to analyze the social media strategy of the team and see if it really has as huge fan following as we think it does. And following the tradition, let’s begin with Facebook.
Chennai Super Kings on Facebook
With more than 20 lakhs 28 thousand fans and 3 lakhs and 50 thousand plus people actively engaged with the brand, Facebook page of Chennai Super Kings looks pretty solid. And going by the activities that take place in the comment section, people seem to like this place a lot. The level of engagement appears to be really deep, as evident from three screenshots taken from the comment section of three posts.
High level of interactivity among fans, and fans and page can be seen in almost all the posts that CSK makes on the page, particularly in the quizzes it post.
For example, in the following screenshot of a recent post you will see more than 11,000 comments, which is very rare on other IPL teams’ pages, and it also has 7401 likes and the quiz has been shared 301 times. CSK has also driven engagement by connecting cricket with the local community, an example of which you can see in the second image, which has been liked by 4,173 people and was shared 10,374 times.
At the time of writing, the page has more than 20 lakhs 28 thousands fans, of which 492,156 was acquired since the beginning of the warm-up period, and which contains 228,250 fans acquired during the warm-up period (between January 01 and April 02, 2013). 84% of CKS fans are male and 16% are females, and 96% of the total fans are of 30 years or less, and they are largely single.
One thing that stood out of CSK fan page was the fact that all 577 posts which was done during the engagement period was done by admins themselves. Fan posts are completely missing (see the image below).
On its Facebook page, CSK has largely posted pictures from CKS matches, and the second most-frequent post on the page is quiz followed by announcement for merchandise sales, and these are the posts that cause the maximum engagement for the team (see the images below).
At the moment it may appears to be doing well, but the appearance is transient. A lack of variety in the content the team is posting will eventually make the page monotonous. When compared to other teams reviewed in the series, content strategy of Chennai Super Kings is very thin. Instead of posting yet another image, the social media team of CSK needs to work on a proper content strategy and follow it.
Although the page has not received any fan’s post, engagement level of the page is remarkable. And the way people engage in conversation with the page and among themselves prove the hero-worshipping nature of team’s fans. For example, you will see in the following image how 16,688 people posted a comment to identify the batsman. The post also received 12,876 likes and got shared 1,224 times. In the second image also you will notice a high level of engagement.
Except on Wednesdays and Thursdays, engagement score of posts done of rest of the days are much better than those displayed by teams reviewed so far, and it appears that social media team of CSK has provided enough content throughout the week to keep the communication going.
Sentiment in Fans’ posts
In terms of sentiment expressed in the posts, what can you expect from a page where all the posts are done by admins only? 90.8% of posts displayed positive sentiment, whereas, 9.2% showed neutral.
Chennai Super Kings on Twitter
With a total fan base of 269,623 followers, of which 159,273 are new followers gained by the page since the beginning of the warm-up period (January 01, 2013), in this IPL, CSK has set its foot firmly on twitter in this season of IPL. And of the total new fans, 35,540 were acquired during the warm-up period.
CSK’s fans are contributing more to the twitter stream of the team than they did on its Facebook wall, where they made absolutely no post since January 01. On Twitter, on the other hand, they are very active in interacting with the team, be it by making new posts or interacting on other posts through comments, retweets, or adding it to their favorite.
Fans create multiple units of content pieces for CKS and effectively used the team’s hashtags (#CSK and #whistlepodu) to start conversation, and in many cases the conversation becomes really engaging. In one of the tweets, a user uploaded an image of mangos arranged in a way to read Chennai Super Kings’ hashtags. It was retweeted several times and was called for comments on the medium.
It is not just the audience which participated in twitter content creation, the team also has been very active on twitter. Along with posting games update (some of which was retweeted many times; an example of which is posted below) and images on twitter, CSK’s social media team also posted contests (see the second image).
On twitter, CSK’s content strategy has been better than it employed on Facebook. It has used various ways to drive engagement and succeeded in doing so. In the studied period, the team has tweeted 1765 times, of which 68% of tweets were proactive in nature (CSK tweeting about something), 20% were retweets of others and 12% tweets were replies. CSK has balanced all three types of tweets quite nicely, and as evident from the following image, the number of proactive tweets, retweets, and replies increased significantly as the series progressed.
In the proactive tweets CSK has used a nice mix of hashtags, links, mentions, and plain texts. The weighted distribution of the various factors was good enough (see the image below).
In replies as well the team has been effective. As you can see in the following image, the social media team of CSK did not shy away from embedding call to action in its replies.
Twitter activities have been spread over the day sans hours between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., when CSK was not very active tweeting, and understandably so – even nocturnal creatures sleeps between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.
After starting around 6 a.m., twitter activity of CSK increased gradually until it peaked between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m. and afterward it fell significantly between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m. to decrease further between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.
In its replies to its followers’ tweet, #CSK has been mostly neutral (78% of times), and it displayed positive emotion in 19% of its replies, and in the rest 3% of replies the sentiment displayed was negative.
Chennai Super Kings on YouTube
CSK has done better job on YouTube than did Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils, and Mumbai Indians, but it falls short on the benchmark set by Royal Challengers Bangalore. In the studied period CSK received 61,478 video views and gained 2583 new subscribers, while, it has uploaded 7 videos. Length of the videos uploaded in the time period was less than 3 minutes, which happen to be the ideal length for a video.
A video longer than 3 minutes happen to starts to tire the viewers in proportion to the growth in its duration, unless the video is very exciting. It was good to see that top 5 videos during the studied period was not match related.
Chennai Super Kings on Pinterest and Google+
Even after spending a good deal of time to find Chennai Super Kings’ Pinterest and Google+ profile I was not successful in getting my hands on the official pages on CSK on these platforms.
Conclusion: Chennai Super Kings on Social Media
Facebook activity of Chennai Super Kings has taken the page’s engagement level to a new height, but the page lacks variety in terms of content strategy. Just adding photos and running quizzes are not going to keep the team in fans’ good book for long. This may work until a saturation point is reached, and only creative content strategy can take one beyond that point, and it is always better to start the engagement long before that point is reached.
Social media team of CSK needs to be more creative in devising its content strategy, and it should also work as catalysts to motivate fans to make some posts on the page, which is surprisingly missing.
CSK has nicely maintained its twitter stream by mixing various types of content in its proactive tweets, retweeting tweets of its fans’ interest, and engaging fans with replies to their tweets. On Twitter CSK adhered more to principles of fans’ engagement than they did on Facebook.
On YouTube, it seems CSK started the work with a proper plan, but lost it somewhere in the middle. It should learn from its neighbor team RCB, which has done a tremendous job with video.
And as far my search endevor took me, CSK appeared to be completely missing out on Pinterest and Google+. For the moment this may not translate into a huge loss, but in the long run being absent from these platforms is not something CSK will enjoy, and seeing the number of pictures it uploads on Facebook, it must use that content to improve engagement at least on Pinterest.