Termed as minnow in the beginning of the first edition of IPL, way back in 2008, Shane Warne and his team Rajasthan Royals (RR) became the winner of the first edition. This proved every speculation wrong and showed the world that in T20, it is not the big names that count, but a well-balanced team with a charismatic leader, which undoubtedly Shane Warne was.
Since then the team has seen many ups and downs, but it appears that the team has found its lost touch under Rahul Dravid’s captaincy. RR is doing well on the field, and in this article, we will see how it is performing in social media.
Despite being at the center of IPL match fixing controversy and its 3 players held in custody, the team led by “the Wall” has managed to make its position in the top 4 teams of IPL 2013. The cheating incidence has let RR fans down but they are very positive about the team’s future, and have a complete trust in their captain as evident from the screenshots posted below. You will notice therein that fans were saddened by the fact that their team was losing, but at the wake of the incidence they stood by their team and captain.
With 468,000 fans (of which 51,914 are actively engaged with the page), RR has a strong presence on Facebook. The fans are actively engaged on the wall. You can get an idea from the screenshot posted below of a “text only” post which led to a long thread of discussion.
In the studied period, the team has gained 93,614 fans, of which 27,724 fans were gained during the warm-up period, i.e., between January 01, and April 02, 2013. 88% of RR fans are male and 16% are female, and as many as 96% of fans are below 30 and 59% below 21. The team has a young fan base, which reflects in the passion that flows in the comments on various posts, as evident from the screenshots posted here.
In total, RR has received 2096 posts, of which 537 were created by admins and rest 1559 by RR fans.
The posts are mostly centered around matches that RR played in the series so far and it was tightly focused on individual stars, which is not all that bad, as Indian cricket fans are skewed towards individual geniuses than the team.
There was little variety in the posts except occasional videos, which was also very rare, but the social media team of Rajasthan Royals has attempted to make most of the “visual nature” of Facebook posts by retouching and manipulating images. The effort has born more fruits if it had been combined by variety in the post types.
Rajasthan Royals’ fans appear to be active all through the week, as you can see from high engagement score for all days in the image below, and the team has also timed its posts well enough to keep the engagement going. There are some minor tweaks that the team can apply to take the engagement to the next level, but those are optional.
Sentiment in the posts
Matching the emotive comments of its young fans, RR admins have limited its neutral posts to 13.4%. 84.3% of total posts displays positive vibes, whereas, 2.2% displays negative one.
With 155,710 followers, of which around 106,000 followers were gained in the studied period (including 16952 followers gained in the warm-up period) twitter stream of Rajasthan Royals is abuzz. The team has fared pretty well on twitter, better than many other teams I have reviewed so far. RR’s twitter followers are as engaged on twitter as they are on Facebook, which is evident in the recent screenshot of RR’s activity stream.
Followers have created a good deal of content for Rajasthan Royals and have used one or more of its hashtags (#RR, #HallaBol, #MyRoyalHero, or #RoyalRoadToTheFinal) in their tweets along with the mention. The nature of content created by the fans is not limited to the matches, as you can see in the images below.
To this, social media team of Rajasthan Royals has responded to followers’ engagement in an appropriate fashion by posting contests and giveaways on the platform and creating opportunities for conversation (see the images below).
Of 4380 tweets that the social media team of RR has posted, 78% were proactive in nature, whereas, 15% retweets and 7% were replies. The share of retweets and replies were lower than expected for the followers appear to be very much engaged with the team.
Although the percentage of replies (of the total tweeting activity) is a little low, the average reply time was impressive. A majority of replies were sent out within the first 15 minutes, as you can see in the image below. The team also tried to include important elements in its replies with more focus toward direct message followed by a request to view links.
Even the proactive tweets were created in somewhat appropriate manner. The team has made a good use of hashtags, but the use of links in the tweets is not as many times as I expected. The team missed out on mentioning twitter handle of its key players to keep their fans engaged as well.
The twitter effort of the social media team of Rajasthan Royals was well distributed in the hours between 9am and 12 o’clock (midnight) with the activity peaking in the hours between 3pm and 6pm.
Like twitter stream of any other IPL team the sentiments expressed in the replies by the social media team of Rajasthan Royals were mainly neutral (53%), whereas, 44% of them carried a positive sentiment and 3% displayed negative vibe.
Rajasthan Royals on YouTube
YouTube effort of Rajasthan Royals is far better than any other IPL 2013 team we have reviewed in this series, with a notable exception of Royal Challengers Bangalore. Like RCB, the social media team of RR is active on YouTube since the beginning of the warm-up period, when it acquired 56 new subscribers and 101,585 new views, and posted 4 new videos. In total, the team has posted 77 videos since the beginning of the warm-up period, which gained the team 1,892 new subscribers and 355,887 new views.
As expected, the subscriber gaining rate was pretty much flat during the warm-up period, but it started moving steeply upward since the beginning of the series. A more or less similar trend was experienced for video views.
The video content created by Rajasthan Royals was mostly about team’s out-of-field activities. There are videos about players having fun, enjoying free time (see Rahul Dravid’s spa video below), and post match celebrations – all of which a sports fan wants to look at.
On an average, videos posted by RR have been below 3 minutes, which is a decent length. But despite its effort, the social media team of RR couldn’t bring any of its recent video among top-3 most viewed videos during the studied period. The most viewed video remained that of Yusuf Pathan celebrating his century way back in 2010 that may be because of fan’s nostalgia for such knock by one of its players, as Yusuf Pathan is no longer with RR (see the image for the list of top 5 videos).
Rajasthan Royals on Google+ and Pinterest
RR went conspicuously missing on Google+ and Pinterest. There were a couple of RR fan pages on Google+, but none of them appeared to be appeared to be the official page of the team, same happened on Pinterest.
Conclusion: Rajasthan Royals on Social Media
Facebook activity of Rajasthan Royals is satisfactory, also for the facts that its fans are very much engaged with the page. The team has done a good job in keeping its fans engaged with the page, but there is a scope for improvement. The social media team of Rajasthan Royals should be more creative in adding variety to the posts they make, and they should make their content crisper. A good starting point could be to create a detailed content map for the page.
Twitter activity of RR’s social media team was balanced, but it missed out on using all the elements in its tweets and replies. It missed out particularly in mentioning twitter handles of team’s key players in its tweets, doing so would have increased its reach. The team also missed out on the conversations that took place between 6am and 9am by not posting almost anything during that period.
Although Rajasthan Royals has done a better job on YouTube than many other IPL teams, there are a lot to be desired. The team needs to make its videos more appealing so that the engagement can be improved. The lack of interesting video content can be understood by the fact that 2 of the top 5 videos are from 2010, when Yusuf Pathan was with RR, and not of any player from the current season. The team needs to think more about the nature of video content as well as ways to promote it. One way could be to share videos on Facebook, if not on Twitter.
The social media team of Rajasthan Royals should have used Pinterest at least, if not Google+ (using it is also recommended). By not doing so the team has missed out on opportunity to extend the team’s reach presented by these platforms.
Overall, social media effort of RR on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube had been satisfactory.