The Best Brands, Sports Teams and Politicians on Social Media This Year

December 16, 2015

Written by NewsWhip

We give out the 2015 Whippies for the best brands, sports teams, and politicians on social media in 2015. 

With 2015 drawing to a close, it’s time to look back at what worked on social media this year.
Throughout the year, we’ve analysed the most successful brand campaigns on social media, the biggest basketball teams in news feeds, and the most native video savvy presidential candidates.
But who did it best? And why?
Now we’re pleased to announce the first batch of 2015 Whippies winners. Selected by our team of analysts, these were the brands, sports teams and political campaigns that made the most use of social media and native storytelling to reach audiences in 2015.
Feel free to share your own favourites with us on Twitter.

Best Sports Team on Social Media

whippies 2015 sports
#1 – Manchester United
Manchester United is the winner in our Sports category for 2015. Beyond the club, we saw tremendous engagement with the EPL. The EPL clubs combined have over 20 million average monthly views, more than five times the second biggest soccer league. Manchester United was responsible for over 25% of those hits.
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On social Manchester United is loud, proud, and personable with their fans. They produced interactive content for their fans to engage with, such as polls and a custom Facebook profile picture generator.
Their biggest piece of content this year was a video posted on April 23rd, featuring David Beckham doing a free kick for the Reds in 2003. The video received 27 million views, 27,000 comments, 241,000 shares, and 446,000 likes. Especially in sports, fans love a hero, and David Beckham is one of the team legends. Both throwbacks and sports champions propel engagement on social.
#2 – The New England Patriots
The New England Patriots were our best NFL team on social in 2015. Their video snippets into locker room celebrations give fans a inside peek to the team, and their recaps of the team’s best plays let fans relive the Patriots’ best moments over and over. Their top “Can’t Miss Play” video scored over 51,000 likes, 11,00 shares, and 4,200 comments on Facebook.
Establishing a brand voice is important, and the Patriots are as snarky and confident as their passionate fans, as seen during their response to the Deflategate scandal. Recognizing their fans is another engagement-winning strategy of the Patriots.
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One of their most commented and second most-shared Facebook posts for the year was a young Patriots fan finding out she’s going to the game. The video of her emotional reaction had 7.6 million views, 85,000 shares, 15,000 comments, and 151,000 likes on Facebook.
#3 – The Montreal Canadiens
Our top NHL team, the Montreal Canadiens had an impressive 35% of their web traffic driven by social channels. Going beyond just game recaps, they extend their brand by using Facebook events to share details for their charity functions. They face the challenge of tackling a language gap, one they overcome by embracing the digital language of emojis.
As one of the oldest and most prestigious hockey teams, the Canadiens set an example for the other teams by engaging in philanthropic acts and responding to current events. Their profile picture change to the French flag after the Paris terrorism attacks was their top content for October.
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The Canadiens’ biggest Facebook post this year celebrated their playoffs win against the Ottawa Senators. It drew 59,000 likes, 18,000 shares, and 1,500 comments. The sharable graphic captured the victory and used hashtags for fans to share and republish.

Notable Mention: The Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors were our unlikely NBA champions. Though not as established a team as the Lakers or the Celtics, the Warriors claim social media victories through their rising star, Stephen Curry. The NBA’s five biggest content pieces all were related to the record-breaking pointguard. And the Warriors’ best Facebook videos of the year centered on Curry.
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The video had 9.6 million views, 117,000 shares, 150,000 likes, and 9,200 comments on Facebook, and followed our guidelines of being square, playable without music, action-filled, and short.
Fans connect well to a personal champion, and Curry’s record-breaking career is earning fans in and outside of the team. He puts a face to his team, and his naturally amicable manner only serves to make him more relatable to his audience. The Warriors encourage this with hashtags like #StephGonnaSteph.

Best Brand on Social Media

Whippies Brands Winners 2015
#1 – Red Bull
Red Bull has topped our brand publisher rankings over and over again. Their content achieves incredible social engagement through daring visuals, inspiring thrill-seekers, and powerful stories that connect the drink brand with a sense of greatness of adventure.
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The brand’s social strategy transforms them into a publisher, a trend that other brands are beginning to follow. Their top content of the year embodies the Red Bull voice. It showcases the world record-breaking cliff jump of Laso Schaller. The video received over 13.2 million views on Facebook, along with 218,000 likes, 162,000 shares, and 40,000 comments, putting Red Bull well on the same engagement level as publishers.
Red Bull Twitter Examples
On Twitter, Red Bull’s voice is just as distinctive. Their use of mantras, awe-inspiring images, hashtags, and gifs keep their engagement well in the hundreds.
#2 – PlayStation
Playstation shot to the top of our brand publisher rankings for September. As an entertainment brand, Playstation can churn out content that’s immediately going to get big engagement. They’re a platform for big franchises like Star Wars, Batman, and Final Fantasy, which created their top three content pieces this year. These valuable partnerships already rocket their social engagement ahead of the game.
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The most popular content posts for Playstation were trailer and game reveals. The trailer for Star Wars Battlefront, released on April 17th, had over 4.6 million views on Facebook, 175,000 likes, 54,000 shares, and 12,000 comments. The Force is strong with Star Wars fans and created rapid engagement with those eager for the new movie.
#3 – Ferrari
Ferrari’s global brand doesn’t need to worry about a language gap with their global audience. The auto brand’s visual storytelling works across their social channels. They regularly engage their fans through polls, throwbacks, and celebrity endorsements. One of our top brand publishers, Ferrari also had the biggest social traffic in our analysis of auto brands.
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Auto brands translate well to visual media, and aspirational brands like Ferrari can thrill car enthusiasts with videos of the car’s’ performance. While Ferrari relies heavily on video, they make sure to produce a variety, from cars being planned sketch to racetrack, and throwbacks to vintage classics.
Their most-shared Facebook video of the year showcased three decades of Ferrari cars. The video had 607,000 views, 22,000 likes, 13,000 shares, and 792 comments.

Notable Mention: Doritos

Doritos earns a place in our rankings for their bold, snarky, trendy, and in-your-face brand voice on social. In our brand sector analysis, the food brand was one of our top social traffic performers. Doritos embrace new social technologies, and partner with top tastemakers in their campaigns.
Doritos were crowdsourcing before it was cool, beginning in 2006. Their Crash the Super Bowl semifinalist ads are already underway. By having fan-generated content, it creates a cycle of passion as consumers are thrilled to have their creative work recognized by a big brand.

Doritos also makes sure to respond to the events people care about. They ran a limited-edition Doritos campaign in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s hearing on gay marriage and the It Gets Better movement. Their short video announcing the chips received over 11,000 likes and 4,300 comments on Instagram.

Best Politicians on Social Media

whippies 2015 politicians
#1 – Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders has been touted in many circles as the social media candidate, but his prowess on social is striking nevertheless. He stood out at the leading Democrat candidate for the presidential nomination in our Facebook rankings and particularly impressed with his sterling use of video to deconstruct key campaign issues. His eight-minute video breaking down income equality was a social media behemoth, defying everything we know about Facebook videos.
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A volunteer-edited video capturing 30 years of speeches also went down a storm, highlighting his consistency and long-term efforts on major issues and going some way to illustrate why he’s won such a strong following among voters. More than anything, Sanders has excelled at using social to project a personable, trustworthy image and it is this savvy approach which has cemented his position as one of the leading American political figures on social.
#2 – Ben Carson
When we first compiled our rankings of the Republican candidates for the presidential nomination, Dr. Ben Carson emerged as an unlikely leader on Facebook. Despite the enormous profile of Donald Trump, Carson has earned a comfortable lead and loyal following on Facebook. His social strategy has emphasised his reputation as a thoughtful alternative to career politicians, but what’s most interesting is that his staggering numbers are generated from a very simplistic approach. Whereas many candidates are embracing native content (imagery and videos uploaded directly to Facebook), Carson favours simple text updates. Studious, considered updates outlining his responses to supporter questions, political developments, and news issues elicit the bulk of his engagement.
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This consistent approach clearly strikes a chord with supporters, and his phenomenal numbers (9.2 million Facebook interactions in November alone) suggest that candidates need not necessarily take a sophisticated approach to social to achieve success.
#3 – Hillary Clinton
Sanders may have edged her out in our rankings, but Hillary Clinton has built up a formidable reputation on social. More than any candidate, she has demonstrated the merits of taking a diverse approach on Facebook. While a majority of her posts relate to campaign issues, she has deftly mixed in personal moments (family events, photos) to create a sense of openness and intimacy with supporters. Further, she’s shown a willingness to use humour to make her page stand out and give it a fresher, more unique feel.
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Its success is underlined by huge engagement in the form of comments. Clinton drives significant discussion on her page, generating by far the most comments (over 1 million for the year to date) of all the Democrat candidates. Her supporters are eager to engage on issues mentioned in public and campaign appearances, and the page’s open, approachable tone encourages forthright debate.
In our second Whippies installment, we’ll be looking at the publishers that really made an impact on social media in 2015. 

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