Arguably the two best teams playing on autumn Sundays are the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. Many have commented on the similarities between these two arch-rivals. They both have built their teams around stout defenses and mobile quarterbacks. They both are coached by former Pac 10 legends. Off the field, the two organizations are also battling in a different arena – social media. Let’s take a look at how these two are building their fanbases online.
The Seahawks actively engage their fans through the following social media outlets:
- Facebook (>2M likes)
- Seahawks App
The Seahawks use all of these avenues to keep their fans up to date on the team transactions, training, and community outreach. The team’s website (seahawks.com) employs a staff of writers to contribute articles on a regular basis. Instagram and Pinterest seem to be kept stocked with photos from the team, the players, and the cheerleaders. The Foursquare entry seems sparse, almost like a placeholder for future development. Facebook and Twitter are regularly updated, though, and seem to have thriving communities. It’s interesting to note that the three primary sites (seahawks.com, facebook, twitter) seem to be populated with unique content. There are some articles that show up in all three sites, but all three seem to be actively managed to cater to the strengths of the sites. In addition, the players all seem to have social media presences of their own (they have brands to manage, too), and the Seahawks regularly cross-link to the players activities.
San Francisco 49ers
- Facebook (>3M likes)
In contrast, the 49ers organization seems to have a somewhat smaller social media campaign. The team website is similar to the Seahawks’, but it has a cookie-cutter feel to it – almost as if they took the template the NFL gave them and just filled in the blanks. The team site does have good content, though, with regularly updated articles. However, the Facebook and Twitter sites seem to be simply mirroring the team website content. I don’t see any sign of active management of the different social media sites. For example, the 49ers Twitter account has about half the tweets of the Seahawks. The fanbase, however, is strong for the 49ers and support the sites well. Also, the players are engaged in social media, and the 49ers
For fans who know the teams and their coaches, this analysis is probably not surprising. Social media seems like it was invented for coaches like Pete Carroll. On the other hand, can anyone picture Jim Harbaugh keeping up with his twitter account? A quick investigation shows Pete tweeted yesterday, and Jim’s last tweet was October 16th. Similarly, the Seahawks seem to have embraced social media, while the 49ers seem to be participating as lightly as the NFL will allow them to.
Full disclosure – Brian is a lifelong Seahawks fan…