Social Media Strategy of IPL Teams – Royal Challengers Bangalore

The very next day of the GayleStorm, social media was going gaga over Gayle’s performance, which was reflected in the engagement level of posts related to Gayle, as shown below. One of the posts (reflecting Gayle Mania) on my Facebook wall read, “If Sachin inspires many to take up cricket, Gayle would be the reason for them to get demotivated – Bhaiya kisi aur se na ho payega!” It captures the fear Allan Donald said his team suffered from after Gayle’s devastating inning.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is having a dream run on the field, now it is time to see how it is performing in social media in the current season of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2013).

Royal Challengers Bangalore on Facebook

URL

With over 1 million Facebook fans and 150,000 plus people actively fans actively engaged with the page, RCB has created a very strong community of actively engaged fans on Facebook. And like Mumbai Indians’ Facebook Page, which talks mostly about its star player Sachin Tendulkar, most of the posts on RCB wall are about Chris Gayle. But unlike Mumbai Indians, RCB is creative in using Gayle.It does not contain itself to talking about the genius. The social media team of RCB has made the discussion about Gayle very interesting, as is evident from the images below.

Gayle-cartoon

Gayle again

Not only that, even sponsors (such as 7Up, below) are cashing in on GayleStorm, giving variety to content on RCB’s Facebook wall.

7upSince January 01, RCB has gained 182,159 fans, of which 85,204 were gained in the warm-up period (see the images below). The demographic makeup of Facebook fans is as follow: 82% male, 12% female. 96 percent of the total fans are below 30 and 53% of them are single, while, 38% wrote unknown as their relationship status.

Total Fans
Total Fans
Fans during warm-up period
Fans during warm-up period
Content Strategy

Since January 01, 2013, RCB has made 230 posts (16.9%) and fans made 1131 posts (83.1%) taking the total post tally to 1361.

Engagement Details

Although Social media team of RCB has updated its Facebook wall with all kinds of posts, the ones about Gayle held RCB fans’ interest more than the rest. The engagement level in the following two posts – one about Gayle making the highest score and another about De Villiers and his wife – is a live example of it.

most engaging post

FB post4

As mentioned in the introduction, RCB has been very creative in creating posts around Gayle – from drawing cartoons to people talking about it to an image created of tweets, the social media team has done a commendable job. The case in point is the following image where you can see how RCB’s social media team has captured tweets about GayleStorm and created an image out of it.

The team has used the same mechanism during the warm-up period as well, when it had used an image from an RCB match to create a quiz. Again Gayle was used in the post (see the second image).

Tweet share on FB

Warm-up post 1

After finding videos absent from the content strategy of other IPL teams, seeing occasional videos on Facebook Wall of RCB was a welcome relief. By using Locker Room videos on its wall, RCB has demonstrated its understanding of its fans’ need from their team.

Video

Innovation in content didn’t stop at this only. As the series progresses, RCB is coming up with one after another new idea to keep its fans engaged.

For example, notice how Gayle’s performance in the series has been used along side an illustration of the player to create a piece of content talking about higher education system in India – a theme which goes well with its fans (96% below 30). Here, RCB has thought out of the box to boost engagement.

engagement

Engagement

Among the teams I have reviewed so far (Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indian, Kolkata Knight Riders), RCB has arguably created the most engaging content for Facebook right from the beginning of the warm-up period. The social media team of RCB has made a proper use of pictures captured from a net practice (see the image below) as well as the ones from the actual match (see the above image) to create interactive content, and the team has succeeded in keeping the fans engaged.

Warm-up post 2

An example of the effect of the content strategy adopted by RCB on Facebook can be seen in the screenshot (from the comment section of a Facebook post) below where people are raving about RCB.

Fan's engagement

Timing

Of all the teams reviewed here, posting frequency of RCB appears to be more in sync with the activity of its Facebook fans. As you can see in the following image, Tuesday happens to be the most active days for Royal Challengers Bangalore, both for making posts as well as engagement, and Saturday is the second most active days both in terms of posting frequency and engagement score.

timing-FB

Sentiment in Fans’ posts

Of all the posts made on RCB’s Facebook wall by Admin 64.8% displayed positive emotion, whereas, 33.7% were neutral in nature.

Sentiment Analysis of Admin posts
Sentiment Analysis of Admin posts

As far as sentiment in Fan’s posts is concerned, a majority of them were neutral (66%) and 32.9% displayed positive sentiments.

Sentiment Analysis of Fan’s posts
Sentiment Analysis of Fan’s posts

Royal Challengers Bangalore on Twitter

URL

With 183,451 followers, RCB’s strength on Twitter is comparable to the teams reviewed so far, only trailing behind KKR. The team has gained 107,119 followers since the beginning of the warm-up period, of which 23,126 followers were gained before the beginning of the series (see images below). And RCB is not doing well in terms of numbers alone; in terms of engagement it has surpassed other teams.

Total Followers Gained
Total Followers Gained
Followers gained during the warm-up period
Followers gained during the warm-up period

In the studied period, RCB has made 1931 tweets and average reply time of the team was 1 hour, 22 minutes, and 9 seconds. This shows how active the team has been on twitter as well. In fact, it is one of the most active twitter profiles for any IPL team. Here, you can find tweets from players, owners, celebrities, as well as fans giving the page a variety that was missing from other IPL teams’ Twitter profiles.

Player tweet

Gayle-tweet

Owner-tweet

Celeb tweet

The number of retweets and favourite tweets tells the story of engagement on Twitter. But the story is not completely told unless you look at the conversations carried on twitter among fans and RCB’s social media team, an example of which can be seen below.

Tweet conversation

The team has also displayed diversity in its hashtag usage as well. Along with its team hashtag #RCB and #RCBLive, social media team of Royal Challenger Bangalore has also profusely used the following hashtags: #GayleStorm and #MaximumCity. The team has also made a proper use of images and other media on Twitter.

Gayle

Max

Twitter Activities

As you’d have noticed in the above tweets, RCB surpasses other teams in terms of content on twitter. To borrow a term from cricket, RCB has properly used the crease. In its tweets it has used properly used links, hashtags, and mentioned one or more twitter users. Only a handful of tweets were just plain text (see image below). And as you can see from the second image, in replies as well, the team has included links and Call to Action (Request to Contact) in some of them.

Tweet elements

Replies

The team has also maintained a fine balance between proactive tweets (68%), retweets (20%), and replies (12%), though the percentage of replies should have been higher.

Tweet Types

Tweets from RCB have been evenly distributed between 12pm and 12am, with the highest number of tweets going out between 6 pm and 9 pm. RCB has nicely spread its Twitter activity on the timeline (see the image below).

Timing

Sentiments

Sentiment displayed in the replies given by #RCB has been neutral in 71% of the cases, whereas, it was positive in 26% of the replies the social media team of RCB gave in response to the queries.

Sentiment-tweet

Royal Challengers Bangalore on YouTube

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RCB is the only team, among the ones analyzed so far, which has made optimum use of YouTube. YouTube activity of the team is way ahead of other teams. Since Jan 01, the team has uploaded 119 videos and gained 5,084 new subscribers, of which 271 were gained in the warm-up period. Subscriber gain is itself so impressive that it will put other team to shame (see the images below).

Total Stat

Warm-up stat

The subscribers gaining rate in the warm-up period was pretty much flat, but once the series started, it took a vertical route, and almost similar pattern was seen in the video views.

Subscribers

Video Views

Content strategy

Using YouTube properly, RCB has shared a handful of after-match party videos as well as video shot in the locker room, which a sports fan drool for. The average length of a locker room video is 2 minutes and that of after-match party varies from video to video. By keeping the locker room video to 2 minutes, RCB has ascertain that fans get enough to keep them coming, but not too much to allow boredom to sneak in. The length is ideal to keep people glued.

The most viewed video, understandably so, of RCB is an after-party video, but the second most viewed video is of Chris Gayle. In fact, 3 out of top 5 videos are related to Team RCB (see images below).

most viewed

2nd most viewedtop 5 videos

 

 Royal Challengers Bangalore on Pinterest

URL

Like other teams, RCB has decided to overlook Pinterest. In the studied period the team has pinned 10 items and gained 85 new followers. And as far as Google+ is concerned, I found it hard to find the official Google+ page of RCB. There were a couple of G+ pages, but in the absence of an official link, I could not determine which one was official, or if there was any official or not.

Pinterest

Board

Conclusion: Royal Challengers Bangalore on Social Media

On Facebook, Royal Challengers Bangalore has done a remarkable job right from the beginning of the warm-up period. The timing of updates has been almost perfect, and it was in sync with the fans’ activities on the wall. It has also used Locker Room videos to boost engagement. Among the teams, I have reviewed so far, RCB has used the most innovative content types on Facebook.

On Twitter as well RCB has shown its willingness to adherence to social media principles and take the engagement to the next level. After analyzing the twitter activities of RCB, it is safe to say that the team has worked on developing an independent and strong presence on twitter to cater to the information need of followers on twitter. It has gone far beyond mere tweeting about the match (and other stuffs) to keep the stream going. It eyed (and achieved) active engagement on twitter to a degree that remained unattained for other teams. But one thing where RCB needs to improve is the replies to other twitter users. By increasing the number of replies it can improve engagement.

On YouTube, RCB has done a commendable job. So far, RCB only came up as a team which has used social media properly.

Given the kind of content pool it has, the social media team of Royal Challengers Bangalore should develop the team’s Pinterest profile. The growth may not be as fast as on Facebook or Twitter, but it is worth a try.

Another thing that RCB needs to work on is the integration of various platforms. For example, it should use more of Locker Room and other videos, which it creates for YouTube, on Facebook. And it should also think of using Twitter to gain fans on other social media platforms.

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