28 Jul 2015 MLS All-Star #OfSocialMedia
The MLS All-Star Game will be played on July 29th, so we decided to do some research and put together the MLS All-Star of Social Media, based on the MLS teams that have the best use of social media platforms.
The MLS All-Star Game history began in 1996, when the best MLS players were divided into two teams (MLS East and MLS West), and played against each other for the title of MLS All-Star. The Eastern All-Stars won this match, same in the following year. In 1998 the dynamic changed a little, this time, the players divided into the MLS USA All-Stars and the MLS World All-Stars, composed of international MLS All-Stars. From 1999 to 2001 the All-Star game was played between East and West, until 2002, when the MLS played against the US National Team.
From there on, the MLS All-Star Game has been played between the best players of the MLS against clubs form around the world, such as Guadalajara, Fulham, Chelsea, Celtic, West Ham, Everton, Manchester United, Roma, and most recently, Bayern Munich.
But enough history, as of today, there are 20 teams that make the Major League Soccer, with two more under way. All of them have at least 6 social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Google+, Instagram and Vine), except for the Philadelphia Union which falls last with five.
If we were to pick the Top 3 clubs for this MLS All-Star of Social based on the number of Twitter followers, leading the list would be the league’s most decorated club, the LA Galaxy, with 239K followers, followed by Toronto FC with 197K followers, and in third place, newcomers New York City FC with 188K followers—not bad for a team that had its first ever MLS match just a few months ago on March 8th. Early goal for the city that never sleeps.
But we are not basing this solely on followers or number of social media accounts each team has. The same way soccer has its rules, social media has its guidelines. In social media, what counts is the engagement generated and the type of content and interactions you share with fans.
The MLS has been aware of the extensive Hispanic fan base it has, and on social media platforms, they try to be as connected to this big number of followers as they can. @MLSfutbol is MLS’ official twitter in Spanish, where they conduct voting for the “golazo” of the week and Latino of the week, as well as share highlights and news about the league’s Hispanic players.
Of the 20 MLS teams, five have a Twitter account dedicated only to sharing news, play by play and content in Spanish. Orlando City does not have a Spanish account, but has a second account in Portuguese, due to its high number of Brazilian fans. We commend these 6 teams for going the extra mile in trying to connect with all fans, hence, they go straight to our MLS-All Star of Social!
But we still have 5 spaces to go, and even though the rest of the MLS teams’ don’t have Spanish-language accounts on social media, they defend themselves very well within the different networks. Columbus Crew, DC United, FC Dallas, and the Vancouver Whitecaps know how to engage with fans very well. From looking at their Instagram accounts, we could see from afar that they don’t limit themselves to artsy photos from matches—they give their fans more off-the-field action. Columbus Crew has a weekly caption contest, DC United shows off their players’ skills with videos and the use of slow motion, and FC Dallas likes to show appreciation to their fans by posting photos and videos of the great support the club receives.
The Canadian teams don’t fall behind, with great representation from the Vancouver Whitecaps that goes all out with their Noche Latina every year. This was the poster for this year’s event:
One spot left now; which team will take it? For the 11th spot, we’ve decided to pick one of the teams that doesn’t even have a roster yet, but its social media technique is impressive. We’re talking about Atlanta United FC. Just a few weeks ago the team unveiled its name and logo, but the way it presented its identity was very unique. They posted a photo on Instagram with a tag that would redirect users to the account “atlutd_dna”. This account is where the club shares with fans their brand DNA.
A photo posted by Atlanta United FC (@atlutd) on
Cool use of Instagram, right? But how can teams not develop great use of Social Media when the MLS just picked the All-Star Game captain with help from the fans through Snapchat? The future of the MLS on the pitch and on Social Media looks very promising!