The Biggest MLB Teams on Instagram & How They Do It

June 7, 2016

Written by NewsWhip

Which MLB teams are hitting social media home runs on Facebook vs Instagram? We take a look at the tremendous differences in engagement and how sports fans are interacting on the platforms.

Social media is more than just the second screen for sports fans. It allows fans to have a deeper connection and experience with their teams, where they feel part of the action and up to date on the latest news.
Since Instagram and Facebook are two different platforms, we decided to analyze how fans are interacting on both, and which teams are the most engaging platform to platform.
The data comes from NewsWhip Spike, and covers content posted by MLB teams in the month of May 2016.
MLB FB Instagram
The average amount of content posted by MLB teams to Instagram during May was 189. On Facebook, that average was 169. Still, Instagram has significantly more engagement for sports.

Instagram Likes are Huge Next to Facebook

Instagram exceeds Facebook for likes on MLB teams’ content by an enormous 62.5%. Instagram is very focused on users completing two actions of likes or comments. A like on Instagram is a simple double tap on the user’s feed.

@yungjoc650 homers twice and Clayton Kershaw strikes out 11 as #Dodgers beat the Angels, 5-1. #WeLoveLA ?: @jon.soohoo

A photo posted by Los Angeles Dodgers (@dodgers) on

This photo from the Los Angeles Dodgers was the highest engaging post on Instagram for MLB teams in May. It had the most likes, with over 52,600, and over 700 comments.
Like we’ve seen before for sports teams, these victory snapshots do well on social. They let fans revel in their team’s win, and join in on the celebration.

But Facebook Gets More Comments

Facebook edges ahead in comments over Instagram with a percentage difference of 15.3%. Facebook’s commenting feature is a bit more sophisticated than Instagram’s, allowing for chains of replies and in-depth discussion.
Phillies May
This Phillies video was the most commented, with 6,647 comments in May. It also saw over 75,500 likes (along with 3,900 wow and 3,000 love reactions), and over 75,000 shares. It was the second highest-engaging post on Facebook for MLB teams in May.
Facebook Live video also drives a huge surge of comments on Facebook.
Mets May Live FB
Facebook Live videos create micro-experiences for fans, where they get to interact with their fellow fans and team in real-time, and have access to sneak peeks as they unfold.
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Top Five Teams on Facebook vs Instagram

top 5 MLB
The top three teams are identical, except the LA Dodgers reign supreme on Instagram, where the Boston Red Sox were the the top team on Facebook in May.
The Chicago Cubs, everyone’s favorite underdog was third on both platforms. The teams in fourth and fifth place were completely different, with the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals, last year’s World Series contenders, matched in 5th place.

Higher Engagement Per User on Instagram

Let’s look at our Facebook champion, the Boston Red Sox. On their Facebook page, they have nearly 5.2 million fans. On Instagram, that number is a meager 765,000 in comparison.
Yet on Instagram, they had over 5.1 million likes and comments in May. On Facebook, this number was 1.8 million.
Like we mentioned before, Instagram is very focused on its tasks — users scroll and double tap to like content. Also, there may be differences in Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms and how these team accounts are showing up in the feeds.

The Best of Instagram

On Instagram, the Los Angeles Dodgers reign supreme with both the most likes and comments.
They have an average of 25,805 likes per post. They have the third highest average for comments (186), while the New York fans are the most talkative (Yankees have 267 average comments per post, Mets have 219).
The Dodgers had 19 of the 20 most engaging posts. They’re the second most-followed team on Instagram, after the Yankees. Most of their top content had to do with team victories, like we saw with their highest liked post.
Meanwhile, the Mets had the most commented post of May.

#BigSexy has HOMERED!!! ??? #Mets #BartoloColon #MLB #LGM
A video posted by New York Mets (@mets) on

This video saw over 1,500 comments and 30,000 likes. It featured Bartolo Colon, or “#BigSexy” as they called him, hitting a homer. The three most commented posts were all videos of epic plays.
Fans want to show their awe for the impressive feats, and share with their friends, as commenting and tagging people is how to do that on Instagram.

What’s Big on Facebook

On Facebook, video reigned supreme. Out of the top 10 most-engaging posts across likes, reactions, shares, and comments, seven were videos. This is in line with what we’ve seen for publishers; native video engagement is extremely high against other content formats.
Mariners May 16
This Memorial Day video from the Seattle Mariners, featuring a pitch from a 92-year-old World War II veteran was the most engaging post on Facebook in May. Holidays and nostalgia are two strong tactics that can propel engagement.
The post saw over 76,000 shares, nearly 3,000 comments, and 117,000 combined likes and reactions.
As on Instagram, the other top videos showed off some great plays by the teams’ athletes. The top non-video content, and the 4th highest engaging post, was from the Chicago Cubs.
Cubs May 16
This photo shows the Cubs helping out their community, with activities such as visiting children’s hospital. Showing a team’s actions outside of the game, especially altruistic ones, humanizes the team and lets fans form a deeper connection.
The album had nearly 60,000 likes and reactions, 55,000 shares, and 1,000 comments.
The other best performing non-video content included team news, celebration posts about wins, and more holiday content.

What To Know

We can glean a few takeaways from our May analysis. Over on Facebook, video is king more than ever, while on Instagram, photos showcasing team victories get big engagement. On both platforms, videos that show off the players’ best feats are popular.
As the season heats up, we’ll be watching to see if these trends hold.

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