Our first look at UK ice hockey teams’ use of social media proved to be one of our most popular posts. Now, one year on, we can report phenomenal growth in fans engaging with their teams through the main networks.
The big positive we drew from last year’s research was that all the clubs in the top-level Elite League were using both Facebook and Twitter (to some extent) to engage with fans.
That’s really important for teams in a small league, as our post on the Canadian Football League argued, and it’s why we were so concerned about the Elite League’s recently announced game-day ban on players and officials using social media rather than providing them with training.
This year, the headline is growth – with some really huge increases recorded.
Again, this summer we looked at every team’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, recording the number of followers and “likes” from each to produce this chart.
The numbers show the 2012 total (as recorded on August 8) with the increase on the 2011 total in brackets. No increase is shown for Fife Flyers. as they were not playing in the Elite League when we carried out last year’s survey.
Again, we make the point that volume of followers and “likes” is much less important than the conversations going on, but it does at least say something about how many people are taking an interest in the clubs through social media.
That’s often considerably more than attend games – suggesting not only latent local support, but fans of rival teams following to pick up early news.
Notably, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the five “bigger”, and generally better-resourced, clubs in the new Erhardt Conference fill the top five places in our table, with those in the Gardiner Conference in the bottom half – although you could barely squeeze a piece of stick tape between Coventry’s and Braehead’s totals.
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