The Sport Social Media Index

The Brief

Our internal brief was to develop a social media campaign that would generate new social media business leads from sports-related brands.
A number of staff had expressed an interest in working for a sports brand during their reviews.  We brainstormed ideas and felt the best tactic was to lead by example.  So, rather than cold-calling brands, our idea was to create an innovative piece of social activity that would raise our profile enough to generate new business leads

Our challenge was to build something that would attract attention across the sports industry and place Umpf in front of key stakeholders at sports-related brands in the UK.

Our primary aims and objectives were to:Sport Social Media Index logo 300
•    Secure authority press coverage across industry publications
•    Generate social conversation around sports, social media and Umpf
•    Garner interest in our findings from sports clubs themselves
•    Build awareness of Umpf with key decision makers in the sport sector
•    Ultimately, and most importantly, generate new business leads for Umpf

Our Response

Our idea was to create the UK’s first ever sport-themed social media index – an annual league table benchmarking social media success. The Index allowed us to position ourselves as innovators in social media and sport and attract the attention of key stakeholders.

We decided to focus on professional British sports clubs and chose all 148 British professional football, rugby and cricket teams. Our objective was to rank them according to the best use of social media.

Another significant part of our strategy was finding the right partners (Opta and William Hill) to bring on board as it gave our ‘Sport Social Media Index’ concept immediate gravitas.

We wanted our methodology to be innovative and original; tailored to the task in hand as opposed to choosing an existing off-the-shelf analytics tool.

We applied both qualitative and quantitative social media measurement criteria. It was our view that most of the existing social media indices placed too much emphasis on quantitative data (which although is far easier to plug into an algorithm, is potentially easier to ‘game’) and placed far too little, if any, on qualitative analysis.

It was key that bigger clubs (with presumably greater resource and a larger number of existing followers/fans) were not given an unfair advantage. Scores were thus weighted to reflect percentage growth.

The scoring included both quantitative data from a two-month analysis period and qualitative research from Umpf, our sponsor William Hill, as well sports data company Opta.

We split our scoring into three sections. The first element accounted for 65% of the total score. We monitored each team’s official club social media channels (including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Vine and YouTube) from 01 August 2013 to 30 September 2013; a two-month period designed to give all sports at least one month during which they were involved in competitive action.

The second element to the methodology was the judges’ scoring (35%). Judges marked each team and the combined total from the four judges was averaged.

The final scoring element was the implementation of ‘Red Card’ penalties – 2.5% was knocked off the final score for each social media malpractice, including duplicate content, failure to use hashtags, idle content periods of four or more days and repeated spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.

Considering the amount of data we were taking in, it was essential to us that the site was easy to digest for the end user. This is reflected in the layout of the website; all the data is on one page with the only external links directing to PDFs of each table.

We then released our results to the media, targeting both print and online sports publications.

We also created digital assets and badges (19 in total) with which we approached each winner and runner-up to aid with the publicity of the Index; helping to establish the Sport Social Media Index as a ‘brand’.


Crucially, in creating our Index we generated direct new business leads, which was our absolute goal. Three clubs featured in the Index have asked Umpf to help with social media support and we were invited to pitch for and won two projects for a high-street gaming company.

We achieved 33 separate pieces of media PR coverage with a reach totalling 19,931,716.

The Index is now firmly part of the annual social media calendar and has given us a platform to create additional social media indices; in March 2014 we launched the first ever Formula 1 Social Media Index and in March 2015 we launched our English Tourism Social Media Index.

The Index gathered a reach of 1.1 million on Twitter alone, with mentions coming from the official channels of Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, and others. We even made it into the official programmes of several of the teams featured, including Notts County, Leicester Tigers and Leeds Rhinos.

The Index won ‘Best use of Measurement in a Digital Campaign’ at the international AMEC awards (plus a gold, silver and bronze) , ‘Digital Marketing Campaign of the Year’ at the CIM Northern awards, a Corp Comms Digi Award for Most Innovative Product, a PR Moment Award for Best Use of Evaluation and a Northern Digital Award for Best Digital Marketing Campaign.

Leicester Sport Social Media Index 2014 winner

Sport Social Media Index  winner's badge

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