The UK’s top speedway teams have picked up some social media speed since our last check a year ago, but they are still behind other sports and really need to listen more.
When we produced our first report on Elite League speedway teams’ use of social media in September 2011, half the teams in the 10-team Elite League failed to make our chart because they did not link to their Twitter or Facebook accounts from their website.
One year on, how much has changed? Well, as you’d expect, Facebook “likes” and especially Twitter followers have grown significantly. But some still fail to get to the tapes: Eastbourne Eagles still have no social links from their website (so don’t make it on to the chart), while Wolverhampton Wolves link only to their Facebook page and Poole Pirates only to their Twitter account – though that has so many followers, it tops our table!
Here’s the chart, showing the increase on 2011 in brackets where applicable:
Why are speedway clubs so slow to learn? Don’t they listen? Well, no, they don’t actually.
Although we haven’t included the numbers in our chart, we also looked at how many users the clubs follow on Twitter – and it’s very few.
Belle Vue and Coventry follow nobody, and Lakeside follows just one account – that of late rider Lee Richardson. So these clubs are simply using Twitter to broadcast, rather than for any two-way communication.
Other clubs in our chart aren’t much better. Only Swindon gets beyond double figures – following a still modest total of 149 users when we took our sample.
Certainly, there has been progress since our 2011 survey, but speedway clubs aren’t getting maximum value from their social media efforts, and the sport lags behind a comparable minority sport in ice hockey, as our latest survey of that sport’s Elite League shows.
Our guest blog on Canadian football argued the importance of social media in small leagues without big media revenues, which is why we expressed such concern about UK ice hockey’s latest policy, banning players from engaging with fans immediately before and after games.
UK speedway teams could benefit much more from social media – but at least it’s moving in the right direction.
Thanks again to our US design partner Jamie Pfeifer Graphics for creating the Twitter speedway bird especially for us.
Need help with your sports communication and social media? Get in touch with Weltch Media.
Hi – In relation to the number of followers, just to point out that the Lakeside Hammers twitter feed is embedded as a live feed into the Lakeside Hammers main site.
Due to the technical set up of this feed, the latest tweets from those who were followed would also appear within the live site domain, and as we all know, certain tweets both from an opinion or language perspective are not always necessarily correct for public broadcast.
The Hammers Twitter channel is predominately used to communicate instant information, from team or instant meeting news, hence why it is embedded within the main site. Our Twitter channel is also used promote and share information to our many followers, who are a mixture of speedway fans and media organisations, who then retweet and spread that information to their followers or publications.
Two way communication is invaluable, and for the Hammers this takes place through additional social media channels.
Thanks, Ian. Valid points.