Which American sport drives the most engagement? We take a look at how WWE is a social media champion.
Mania, as in WrestleMania, is an apt term to describe the avid dedication that wrestling fans have for their sport.
That passion translates to social media. The last time we included WWE in a ranking was all the way back in November, when we looked at how WWE had more web traffic from social media than search.
This time, we delved into a year’s worth of data from NewsWhip Analytics. We compared each of the sports leagues’ main Facebook pages to see which franchise was driving the most likes, shares, and comments.
Out of the seven leagues we looked at, WWE saw the most likes and comments, with a combined nearly 58 million more engagements than NBA, and significantly more than the other leagues.
NBA and NFL both surpassed WWE in shares, but WWE had more shares than UFC, NHL, MLB, and MLS.
Despite WWE’s straddling the line between sport and spectacle, they are by far the most engaging league in the United States.
[fb_pe url=”https://www.facebook.com/wwe/photos/a.63953746442.86152.7175346442/10153671754336443″ bottom=”30″]
Not surprisingly, the most engaging WWE post on Facebook from the past year was crowning the victor of WrestleMania 32, Roman Reigns, the current face of the franchise.
Does this post make you a bit emotional? Wrestling fans are. WWE drove the most Angry and Ha-Ha reactions, and were only second to NBA for Wow and Love reactions.
WWE Knows How to Tell a Story
WWE, whether you disregard it as a sport or fervently follow it, is doing something right. Sports and marketers alike can learn from wrestling. It all comes down to storytelling.
WWE’s Top Facebook Posts from June 1st, 2015 to June 1st, 2016
Nearly everything WWE posts embodies the brand showiness and in-your-face aggression that we expect from wrestling. Looking at the top most-engaging posts from WWE over a year’s time, we can see how much they rely on their characters.
Whether it’s hyping a match, celebrating a champion, or some brutal wrestling action, their content feels like you could hear an announcer shouting it while you’re outside the ring. Try NewsWhip Spike to analyze the stories that matter to your audience right now.
Let’s Break Down the Engagement
After analyzing the top 100 most engaging posts, we found that 50% were external links, 39% were photo posts, and 11% were video.
The most engaging two links that the WWE shared were announcements about two retired wrestlers passing away, Dusty Rhodes and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
[fb_pe url=”https://www.facebook.com/wwe/posts/10153012143331443″ bottom=”30″]
Many wrestling fans have favorite characters, and remember them fondly. These wrestlers may return for appearances post-retirement, and stay involved with WWE. The post announcing Dusty Rhodes’s passing saw over 142,000 shares, 165,000 likes, and 24,000 comments.
Many of the other external links were also nostalgic, such as a “History of Heavyweight Champions” series on WWE and current wrestlers honoring past champions. Sentiment and nostalgia see boosts of engagement on social media.
Give Fans What They Want
Half of the 10 most-commented posts were videos.
This is the year of video, and WWE and sports are in the perfect spot to take advantage of the the surge of engagement coming from the medium. Below is the most commented post for WWE of the past year.
[fb_pe url=”https://www.facebook.com/wwe/videos/10153773116271443/” bottom=”30″]
This Q&A between two wrestlers had nearly 40,000 comments, along with 25,000 likes and 825 shares. The second most commented video was also a Live Q&A.
As we’ve seen from other sports teams, Facebook Live video sees an often disproportionate amount of comments to other videos. The Live broadcasts create a micro-experience that fans can interact with in real-time.
Giving fans access to their favorite players strengthens their loyalty and passion. It can also be a way to reward to the fans who are active on the sports’ Facebook channel.
With Facebook videos driving 13.2 times more chatter year-over-year and 100 million hours of Facebook video viewed daily, Live Q&As, easy to do, and game action, which sports already have, pay off big time.
WWE, Supreme on Social
If WWE could win a belt for social media championship, they’d have it. They’re active on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Tumblr, and more.
Sports leagues and brands alike can take a page from WWE’s social strategy playbook:
- Be true to your brand voice
- Tell a story
- Promote your heroes
- Reward your fans
Even their wrestlers are encouraged to maintain social media accounts. John Cena is currently the most-followed active American athlete, with 41.6 million followers (WWE has 32 million followers).
(Behind-the-scenes photos like this one are popular on WWE’s Instagram)
WWE has long known how to listen to their fans — the audience’s feelings about a wrestler can impact whether the wrestler is made out to be the “good guy” or “bad guy” in the next match.
While we want our sports to be objective, and not scripted, sports can nonetheless find the story in their teams and legends, and create content that will resonate with fans.