Blues offer most engaging and interactive experience for fans
Helen Dunne is the editor of CorpComms Magazine, follow her tweets here @CorpCommsMag
Chelsea is the top Premier League Football Club for engaging with fans across the Internet, a new study claims today.
The club posts daily updates to seven million fans on Facebook and almost 410,000 Twitter followers. Its @chelseafc Twitter feed offers the latest news from Stamford Bridge and behind-the-scenes updates from its training ground in Cobham, Surrey.
Along with Wolves, Chelsea is the only Premier League club to have a press area on its website, which also offers interactive spaces, such as Chat Pages, for supporters. Its Flick Kick Football game, for example, allows fans to score goals at Stamford Bridge
Alex Clough, digital strategist at Lewis Communications, which conducted the research, said: 'Social media has fundamentally reshaped the way people interact with the world around them, and this is no more apparent than within the field of sport.
'Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have allowed a new generation of fans to connect with their football idols and teams in ways that they haven't been able to within the modern game, and clubs need to embrace this. It is important that clubs do not just use these social channels to broadcast their messages but also to open up an authentic dialogue with fans to answer queries and complaints as promptly and efficiently as possible.'
Lewis Communications considered factors such as the number of Twitter and Facebook followers, level of interaction with fans, ease of online access and app development in order to create is league table of social networking football clubs.
Manchester United has the highest number of fans on Facebook, with 19 million likes, or roughly the population of Australia. This is nearly three times the number of fans for second place Arsenal, which has 7.5 million. Liverpool is in joint fourth place, with Chelsea, with seven million fans, while Manchester City has one million. The other 15 clubs in the Premier League have just over 1.6 million fans between them.
But the report found that, despite having the most fans on Facebook, Manchester United was using the social networking site to broadcast messages rather than interact with supporters.
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, who is the world's third highest paid footballer, tops the league table of football followers. He has almost 1.7 million followers on Twitter. Followers of @waynerooney recently received tweets saying 'Come on the toffees beat them today' and Just listening to James morrisons [sic] new album. Wow unbelievable. The new rod Stewart.
But the world's third highest paid footballer also got into hot water on the social networking site in May, when he had just over 570,000 followers. He tweeted to a follower who taunted him on his performance 'I'll put u asleep within 10 seconds', adding an invitation to meet at the club's training grounds with the warning 'hope u turn up if u don't gonna tell everyone ur scare u little nit. I'll be waiting'. In an effort to defuse the situation, Rooney later tweeted: 'Haha bit of banter.'
His team mate Rio Ferdinand has just more than 1.5 million followers on Twitter, while Manchester City striker, Sergio Aguero, comes in third place with one million followers - or roughly the same number as Facebook fans for his club.