Author Archives: briandjohnson2014

Who has had a more successful offseason, by the numbers – Seattle Seahawks Social Media or Santa Clara 49ers Social Media?

The Super Bowl has been over for months now, leaving fans to find solace in March Madness, hockey playoffs, or the NBA. For many, though, the NFL’s offseason is the “sport” of choice to fill their time. According to TV ratings, we would rather watch the NFL draft in which teams give job offers to new college grads than the NBA playoffs. Following our recent evaluation of the Social Media strategies of NFL’s hottest rivals, we now dig deeper to reveal the Social Media winner of the Seahawks’ and 49ers’ offseasons.

The recent twitter history of the two organizations, shown below courtesy of Topsy, shows a few interesting events. On most low-news days, the two teams have fairly similar tweet-traffic patterns. However, the Seahawks received a couple of large boosts with the (controversial) trade for Terellle Pryor and the record-breaking contract given to Richard Sherman. Both teams saw a bounce when the NFL schedule was announced, but the Seahawks received a double boost that day due to the announcement that star quarterback Russell Wilson had filed for divorce.

The NFL draft, the biggest offseason event, was clearly won by the 49ers tweets, however. The Seahawks draft strategy of trading back in the draft for more late-round (and thus less flashy) picks was met with a collective “meh” from the fanbase. Pete Carroll, arguably the most social-media savvy coach in the NFL, continued his #SeahawksDraftClues tradition this year and likely boosted the Seahawks twitter activity somewhat, but it doesn’t appear the draft results were that exciting. The 49ers, though, had a bevy of early round picks and seemed to ignite the twittersphere with their draft results. No twitter games were needed by Harbaugh and company to get the fanbase tweeting.


The wordclouds (mined from Keyhole) for the two teams are shown below. Note that the NFL draft is still showing up as a top keyword for the 49ers more than a week later. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have no mention of the draft, but the Superbowl is still a strong association for them more than three months later. So which team is “winning” the social media offseason now?

sf49erswordcloud seahawkswordcloud



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The United States Amateur Soccer Association’s use of social media

Our team (soccer4seattle) is promoting participation in adult amateur soccer in the Seattle area. At the national level, the United States Amateur Soccer Association (USASA) is the governing body for amateur soccer in the U.S. and is affiliated with the U.S. Soccer Federation. The USASA has two main social media channels beyond their website – facebook and twitter (links below).

–      Does it look like they follow a content calendar?

It does not appear that this organization follows a content calendar. Most of their posts are driven by upcoming soccer events and news. That said, they average roughly 1-2 posts per week.

–      How many people contribute to the social channels?

The USASA organization is the primary contributor to their social media sites, but scattered through the posts you’ll find retweets and the like from members. The USASA also retweets from soccer-related orgs like MLS and the U.S. Soccer Federation.

–      What is the message they are getting across?

This organization primarily uses social media for promoting events and celebrating soccer achievements and awards. In general, they are catering to soccer fans in general in order to promote amateur soccer league involvement.

–      Who are they trying to reach?

As mentioned above, the USASA org uses social media to broadcast messages for its members. This could possibly be used to reach non-members, but I don’t see a lot of attempts at cross-promotion. The MLS retweets, though, are a good idea to reach a segment that would likely be interested in their cause.

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The Social Media Strategies of the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers

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.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks actively engage their fans through the following social media outlets:

  • Facebook (>2M likes)
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Foursquare
  • 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 ( 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 (, 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)
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

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…

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