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How to Leverage Social Media Stats For Better Sports PR Campaigns

October 04, 2023 (5 min read)
By monitoring social media analytics, you can create sports marketing campaigns that are ahead of your competitors.

Social media statistics are one of the most underrated areas of insight when it comes to marketing and public relations. Because this medium is one of the easiest ways to interact with fan bases, it holds countless pieces of information that can be used across a business to help understand audiences.

When it comes to public relations for sports teams, social media is extra helpful. Tracking fan sentiment, user-generated posts, post successes, and other measures is a crucial way to form PR campaigns and strategies. And while it might sound like that’s easier said than done, there are plenty of ways to implement social analytics without spending too much time or money.

In this article, we’ll go over the best metrics to track to inform your campaign strategy and make a big impact with your audience. And we’ll show you an easy way to get started with social media monitoring. Let’s dive in.

Track fan sentiment and conversation trends

One of the best uses of social media analytics is to understand how audiences are feeling about a given topic. For instance, if your team just drafted a new player, you could search that player’s name in social listening tools and see how your own fans, as well as opposing teams’ fans, are feeling about the news. The tools will often categorize posts as “negative,” “neutral” and “positive” so you can quickly see sentiment without needing to read through thousands of posts.

Similarly, you can analyze sports fandoms’ trends by viewing things like cloud charts of popular words. Consider the Kansas City Chiefs’ marketing team generating a word cloud to highlight all the key words used recently. “Taylor Swift” and “Travis Kelce” would undoubtedly be in giant letters, indicating that the team should act on the trend immediately. This helps a PR team tune into what’s popular at any given moment, which means you can cater your campaigns and outreach to things that your audience is already talking about.

Social listening will also quickly spot when a brand’s reputation is at stake. Whether by seeing negative social sentiment or catching onto a trending topic that could paint your team’s name in a negative light, these tools identify growing concerns early on so that PR teams can act quickly and address them before the brand’s reputation is on the line.

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Gauge audience engagement

Engagement numbers are core to social media analytics, especially for marketers who are running the accounts. Numbers like follower growth, post reach, and engagement rates indicate which types of content are successful so PR teams can understand what audiences are gravitating toward.

By understanding what content is generating the most interest, a PR team can better engage with their target audience. For instance, if posts featuring a particular player are always outperforming other content, the PR team knows to make that player a focal point of the next campaign.

This can make a large impact moving forward by ensuring that the key players are being adequately reflected, giving the audience what they want, and increasing the success of campaigns and posts so that the team gets higher reach across platforms.

MORE: The ultimate guide to a modern PR campaign

Monitor competitors and industry

Alongside gaining access to your own team’s statistics, social media analytics can also provide a look into what is working for competitors. It’s important to be on top of which athletes, teams, leagues, and news outlets are receiving the most buzz at a given time, regardless of whether it directly involves your own brand. This can also provide “what not to do” insight into other teams’ strategies when and if they do make larger brand errors and receive negative public outcry.

For example, if another brand is using their social media presence to go behind-the-scenes instead of posting moments from the actual game—and is receiving negative audience feedback—that indicates that sports fans may want social media to be a place where they can catch up on the actual action instead of fluff. This can inform your PR and marketing teams to use their platforms for clips instead of BTS moments.

Additionally, understanding competitors’ success can help your brand identify new strategies and find new ways to engage fans. For instance, if a competitor is seeing success on TikTok and growing a large fanbase there, it might make a case for your own team to begin putting time and energy into the platform.

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Inform campaign strategy and messaging

Once this information has been collected and your team is actively receiving social media insights, there are many ways to incorporate them into campaign strategy. Social analytics can identify platforms that are more popular for sports fans, so you know where to perform outreach, times of the day when fans are most likely to be online so you know when to perform outreach, and topics of interest so you know what to include in campaigns.

A great way to stay on fans’ minds and reach larger audiences is by capitalizing on trending stories and viral content. If there’s a TikTok trend that sports fans are participating in, a team can jump on and replicate it, so they gain more views and recognition. If an under-engaged audience is paying attention to only a specific niche type of content, PR teams can identify that and attempt to reach them using that familiar niche, so no fans feel left out from the campaigns.

MORE: Why targeted press releases are vital to your success

Continuously optimize efforts  

Of course, PR strategy is not a one-time investment. Ongoing efforts, like continued analytical analysis to identify well-performing content to replicate, are crucial in maintaining a brand’s online presence. PR teams can optimize their strategies by doubling down on what’s already working, as well as going after new ideas that are working for other accounts.

As audience sentiment and engagement patterns shift (which can happen daily), your team can continue to shift with them. Refining campaigns to maximize relevance—like using language and trends that are the most current—will in turn increase interest and visibility, leading to better overall success.

Use media monitoring social media tracking tools to keep up with engagement

Social media tracking is a crucial part of public relations, especially in the sports world, where audience sentiment is constantly shifting. In order to understand what millions of fans are gravitating toward at any given moment, it’s imperative for brands to use media tracking tools like the Nexis Newsdesk and Social Analytics.

With Newsdesk, brands can instantly generate sentiment reports for various topics, brands, individuals and even hashtags, thanks to the tool’s ability to perform social listening on over 2.5 million social feeds. Nexis Social Analytics offers reports on trends and can even identify social influencers for brands to include in campaign outreach. With both tools, teams can harness the power of social media and distill millions of posts into actionable items to craft an optimized campaign strategy.