The SSE Airtricity Premier League began last weekend, with its eye-catching hashtag highly visible on social media.
The “Best League In The World” may seem like an ambitious claim but is perfect to illustrate the passion felt by fans of the clubs.
While it may not have the glamour of another nearby domestic league, the hashtag provides a rallying call for fans of SSE Airtricity League teams to beat their breast and declare their love of their local team and league.
To begin the season, we thought it would be good to look at how the 10 Premier League teams stack up in terms of social media presence, activity and of course most importantly engagement.
The total following across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for SSE Airtricity Premier League clubs, as well as their governing body stands at 587k. In absolute terms that is down 7% on the total from the end of last season.
However, of course, that can be explained by the restructure in the divisions this summer with Galway, Drogheda and Finn Harps making way to Division One and only Waterford joining the Premier fray.
When those changes are discounted, there has actually been a 7% increase in followers for the Premier League, up from 549k in September 2017.
In the graphic below you can see where each club currently stands, with all percentages shown representing changes over the past month. Cork, Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk lead the way in terms of followers, with Bray Wanderers notably the only club without an official presence on Instagram.
Dundalk have been the most active of the Premier League clubs, with 620 posts across the 3 networks. Cork City, Shamrock Rovers, St Pats and Bohemians have clearly concentrated on producing content for Instagram as you can see from the relatively balanced breakdown of their posts. We will see the effect of that when we look at the engagement levels achieved per post, later in this report.
It is to be expected that engagement totals will be higher for those organisations with larger followings and output, however what is interesting to see here is how the light blue colour which represents Twitter has shrunk from the previous graphic and the darker blue of Instagram dominates. In terms of engaging fans, Insta is king.
When we look at engagement rate per post, we remove the number of posts from the equation and see how effective posts have been at engaging followers.
Bohemians sit atop the table in this regard, as they do in the Premier League table after one game. However, on social they have more than merely goal difference between them and their rivals. Will the gap narrow as the season goes on? Only time will tell.
This report and insight was produced exclusively for Sport for Business by Sportego.
As well as working with sporting organisations to gain insights from their social media presence, Sportego have been nominated for a BT Sport Industry Award 2018 for Best Use of Data Analytics in Sport. Check them out at Sportego.ie or get in touch @WeAreSportego on Twitter.
Image Credit: Dan Sheridan, Inpho Photography