Brands

Major League Baseball Swings for the Fences on Facebook

This post is part of the Killer Facebook Pages Series, which highlights the top brand pages on Facebook and provides tips on how to emulate their successes.

Sports fans are an engaged and dedicated demographic. This works in Major League Baseball’s favor, which is apparent from the its large and loyal following on Facebook.

Major League Baseball boasts over 1.4 million fans on the site, and is the fifth most followed baseball account on Facebook, falling behind the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Giants, which the page also promotes.

The latest notes from around the leagues

Sports fans are increasingly turning to social media to find the latest updates on their favorite teams and players.

An infographic by GMR marketing shows that 41 percent of people check sports news on Twitter and Facebook, while 40 percent look on national news websites. These days, only 13 percent are finding sports information on television.

The MLB frequently updates its page with news, which is almost always accompanied by a photo or video. Giving news a visual element works on the brand’s behalf, considering that on Facebook, posts including photos are 180 percent more engaging than those without.

On July 22, a photo of Barry Larkin being inducted into the Hall of Fame received more than 8,000 likes and 240 comments.

MLB wrote “He’s baaaaaaack” on its July 6 status with a photo of Phillies player Ryan Howard. The post, within three hours, had 4,043 likes and 466 comments, proving that the MLB’s fans are eager to share and give their opinions on the most recent news.

On June 13, the page’s status said, “YES HE CAIN! Giants righty retires Jason Castro to complete 1st perfect game in franchise history.” A video of Cain was posted along with the text, resulting in 141 comments and 4,511 likes.

Broadcasting live games

Last year, MLB started posting links to streaming live games on its Facebook page in an attempt to “drive new subscribers to MLB.TV, which lets users watch all out-of-market regular season games and select spring training games online or on a mobile device,” wrote Joseph Tartakoff of PaidContent.org.

The practice has continued, as fans are frequently treated to a MLB.TV Free Game of the Day, sponsored by Mazda.

Giving away free content, such as the video stream, make fans feel like they are special and valuable to the brand, increasing brand loyalty.

Capitalizing on fan loyalty

On June 11, MLB posted, “Kings of L.A. – Dodgers of Angels?” with a picture of players from both teams. This received 2,013 comments and 2,795 likes.

The page provoked a huge outburst of fan support on July 6 when it posted, “LIKE the Red sox?” with a photo of a thumbs up for the Red Sox and a thumbs down for the Yankees. Within six hours, 5,106 people liked the status and 574 people commented.

The page saw even bigger numbers come out in support of the Yankees. At the same time, it updated with a photo of a Yankees thumb up and a Red Sox thumb down, receiving 13,021 likes and 1,560 comments.

The MLB’s teams see a huge fan presence on Facebook, which contributes to its own success on the site as well. The Yankees’ page is number one with 5.9 million likes, followed by 3.6 million fans on the Red Sox page and 1.6 million likes on the Cubs’ page.

By tapping into the individual team fanbase, MLB is able to propel its own page.

Major League Baseball recognizes that baseball fans will follow it anywhere, especially on social media. Keeping fans informed, giving away free content, and strengthening fans’ loyalty to their favorite teams is what keeps the league on top on Facebook.

The MLB Players Association Director of Business Affairs Tim Slavin highlighted the brand’s fan loyalty and emphasized that its efforts on social media sites will only expand.

“Major League Baseball fans are the most dedicated fans in all of sports.  They follow their favorite players and teams not only during the season — but throughout the year. And today’s technology serves to develop the player-fan relationship well,” he said.  “Social media outlets allow for unprecedented levels of instantaneous communication, which contributes to the ever-growing popularity of our great game, both domestically and internationally.”

Image by Flickr
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