The grass is cut. The gates are open. Vendors are preparing for the sale of overpriced goods.
It’s baseball season folks, and nowhere is this more apparent than the sensationalist medium for worldwide conversation known as Twitter. As the NBA and NHL playoffs start winding down, baseball will take over the sporting world as the country’s top subject of ridiculously hot sports takes–that is until an NFL player does something dumb again.
In addition to the hot takes and the $8 hot dogs, baseball season is also go-time for individual team Twitter accounts. Each team’s social media marketer is tasked with keeping the team relevant on the social media platform, providing team updates, and engaging with fans in a meaningful way.
In honor of America’s pastime, we decided to look at the official Twitter accounts for all 30 MLB teams. We analyzed how well they utilized Twitter in these 3 ways: keeping the team relevant, providing up-to-the-minute team updates, and engaging with their fans/followers. We then gave each team a score and ranked them 1-30, since sports fans just go crazy for seeing where their team ranks against other teams.
After looking through each account we realized the first two objectives, updates and presence, were being met almost universally. Sports team accounts are great at providing up-to-the-minute score updates, links to articles on their website, and other team updates, being active enough to keep the team from being a ghost on Twitter.
What became most interesting then was how often they were engaging with their fans. Is the team actively replying to questions about ticket sales and/or team performance? Or is it just a vapid, score-vomiting robot account just trying to get “#TeamName” to trend on Twitter that night? We wanted to find out.
To help us determine the account’s fan engagement, we came up with a special (secret) formula using stats provided to us from Buzzsumo and Twitonomy, to give each team a final “engagement score.” The most important factors we considered were each account’s Reply and RT ratios, which is the percentage of each account’s overall tweets that were replies or retweets, respectively. The higher the number, the more often the team is interacting with fans instead of simply promoting the team–a valuable measurement in this study.
Other statistics were collected, including the average number of “mentions” per tweet (anytime they tag another person in a tweet), the average number of retweets per post, and total number of followers. The last two factors were weighted much less however, since an account’s popularity doesn’t necessarily reflect its level of engagement (although strong engagement can help with popularity).
It’s also worth noting that the info we got from Twitonomy (Avg. Mentions Per Tweet and Tweets Per Day) was only from the last 8 months, while Buzzsumo’s stats dated back much further.
Without further adieu, here are our rankings of the top 30 team twitter accounts based on engagement with fans:
(RT and Reply Ratio Numbers are in Percentage [%])
The Blue Jays scored the highest of all teams in Avg. Mentions/Tweet and RT Ration, helping them reach twitter engagement infamy.
Tweets/Day: 25.39 RT Ration: 45 Reply Ratio: 31
A great example of how even having fewer followers shouldn’t prevent you from engaging with fans, the Mariners ranked well in every category despite having one of the lower follower numbers.
Tweets/Day: 63.67 – RT Ratio: 22 – Reply Ratio: 42
While they might be 2015 World Series contenders to Back to the Future II fans (and Cubs fans), if we went by these rankings they’d just barely miss the cut.
Tweets/Day: 63.96 – RT Ratio: 15 – Reply Ratio: 31
The second most popular account in our rankings, the Red Sox are a prime example of engaging with fans despite having over a million followers to appease. Get pumped, Red Sox fans.
Tweets/Day: 26.82 – RT Ratio: 11 – Reply Ratio: 34
The Diamondbacks boasted the best Reply Ratio of all 30 teams. We thought this might give them the top spot, but their RT ratio and other stats were lacking, dropping them to 5th. Sometimes it’s hard to look cool all the time.
Tweets/Day: 55.1 – RT Ratio: 6 – Reply Ratio: 59
The Mets had our second highest Reply Ratio, but suffered a similar fate to the Dbacks when it came to our other categories. Missed it by that much.
Tweets/Day: 41.03 – RT Ratio: 6 – Reply Ratio: 54
2015’s surprise team also put together a great Twitter engagement resume, as I’m sure that was their top priority this year. That and putting together the 2011 Padres bullpen reunion.
Tweets/Day: 66.67 – RT Ratio: 10 – Reply Ratio: 24
Not even ownerships’s deep pockets could buy the Dodger’s way to the top 5 of our rankings. I guess their record payroll didn’t apply to their social media team, is what I would say if I was a mindless Twitter troll.
Tweets/Day: 38.08 – RT Ratio: 21 – Reply Ratio: 26
The Padres had the 2nd-lowest follower count of all teams (just besting the Marlins) but boasted a stellar Reply Ratio and Mentions Per Tweet number to get them into the top 10. You could say their Twitter people really went for it.
Tweets/Day: 13.12 – RT Ratio: 4 – Reply Ratio: 51
The Pirates ranked in the top 5 in RT ratio, which is a great way to not only engage fans but help expose the fan’s tweet to hundreds of thousands of followers. As long as they don’t trip.
Tweets/Day: 34.77 – RT Ratio: 28 – Reply Ratio: 12
The Twins had the 2nd-highest RT Ratio, but also had one of the lowest Tweets Per Day rates we saw.
Tweets/Day: 13.44 – RT Ratio: 29 – Reply Ratio: 11
Despite having the greatest between-innings event in baseball, the Brew Crew ranked well in every category, but didn’t really stand out in any of them. Those sausages though.
Tweets/Day: 38.54 – RT Ratio: 15 – Reply Ratio: 17
The Rockies’ strong Reply Ratio barely got them into the top 15, despite lower numbers in most other categories.
Tweets/Day: 26.45 – RT Ratio: 8 – Reply Ratio: 34
Royals fans are Retweet pros, helping @Royals get one of the higher Avg. RT numbers despite a low follower count. And that’s reason to celebrate.
Tweets/Day: 14.47 – RT Ratio: 13 – Reply Ratio: 31
Dangerously low Mentions Per Tweet numbers kept the Indians from reaching greater heights in our super official power rankings. *reference to Major League*
Tweets/Day: 29.38 – RT Ratio: 14 – Reply Ratio: 32
The least active MLB account by our stats, perhaps putting them lower than they actually deserve. But hey, stats are for nerds, right?
Tweets/Day: 10.57 – RT Ratio: 20 – Reply Ratio: 22
The Nationals came in as one of the more frequent tweeters of all 30 teams, for whatever that’s Werth.
Tweets/Day: 33.32 – RT Ratio: 20 – Reply Ratio: 9
Low Mentions Per Tweet doomed the White Sox here, since their Reply and RT ratios could’ve put them higher. Very frustrating.
Tweets/Day: 23.81 – RT Ratio: 23 – Reply Ratio: 16
Giants were in the top 10 for most active accounts, but couldn’t bring enough heat in the crucial Reply and RT stats to beat out their LA rivals.
Tweets/Day: 36.77 – RT Ratio: 12 – Reply Ratio: 15
The Yankees got a bit of a boost from their follower count and RT Average, cause the rest of their engagement numbers were sorely lacking. Almost like some kind of strange diversion tactic.
Tweets/Day: 11.55 – RT Ratio: 8 – Reply Ratio: 10
The Rays were number 3 in Mentions Per Tweet but a dangerously low Reply Ratio of 4% was the nail in the proverbial Twitter engagement coffin.
Tweets/Day: 14.27 – RT Ratio: 16 – Reply Ratio: 4
The least followed account in Major League Baseball, the Marlins still had one of the better RT ratios that we observed, keeping them from the Twitter account basement. Never give up, folks.
Tweets/Day: 19.58 – RT Ratio: 28 – Reply Ratio: 6
Our second least-active account during the time observed were the Phillies, which feels like a missed opportunity when you have the third-most followers behind the Yankees and Red Sox.
Tweets/Day: 11.22 – RT Ratio: 14 – Reply Ratio: 14
Another case of low Reply ratio killing a team’s engagement title hopes. Regroup, get serious, and try again next year.
Tweets/Day: 26.39 – RT Ratio: 19 – Reply Ratio: 8
The Braves were sunk by low stats across the board, including Mentions Per Tweet and Tweets Per Day, and eventually that begins to stack up.
Tweets/Day: 12.98 – RT Ratio: 18 – Reply Ratio: 15
While they may have had a top 5 RT Ratio, the Cardinals also had the worst Reply Ratio in baseball, with 2% of their tweets being replies to other users. It’s a miracle they didn’t tumble to last place.
Tweets/Day: 25.79 – RT Ratio: 26 – Reply Ratio: 2
Tweets/Day: 11.1 – RT Ratio: 15 – Reply Ratio: 14
Low Mentions Per Tweet numbers and low RT and Reply ratios for the A’s, and that’s nothing to celebrate.
Tweets/Day: 11.76 – RT Ratio: 10 – Reply Ratio: 13
The second-worst Reply Ratio ain’t gonna help their case, and it’s a shame cause this #HaloHunt promotion was pretty cool. Don’t tell any Angels fans though cause they don’t handle that kind of stuff very well.
Tweets/Day: 12.99 – RT Ratio: 15 – Reply Ratio: 3
Sorry, Baltimore. Almost dead-last Reply and RT Ratios are gonna hurt a little, and in this case they both combined to put the Orioles in this unfortunate spot. Their only consolation is getting the first overall pick in next year’s Twitter draft.
Tweets/Day: 12.73 – RT Ratio: 6 – Reply Ratio: 5
There you have it. While these rankings are far from official–and probably flawed in some way–we did what we could with the stats we were given to get a good idea of which teams were engaging with fans the most. Basically what we’re trying to say is, don’t send us angry emails about your team’s ranking.