In our latest sports rankings, we look at which MLB teams are scoring big wins across Facebook and Instagram.

We last looked at MLB’s teams on Facebook and Instagram in May. With the All-Star Game taking place last month, it seemed like a great time to revisit the ballpark.
Plus, it’s clear that MLB is taking a vested interest in social. Disney just invested $1 billion into MLB’s video streaming service, BAMTech. With this, and NHL’s digital products under MLB’s direction, it’s clear they’re keeping a close eye on everything social as well.
Social media allows sports fans to connect with their fellow zealots, show their devotion to their team, and keep up on the latest sports news. So which MLB teams are doing the best at getting their fans excited?
Using NewsWhip’s Spike, we totaled Facebook likes and reactions, shares, comments, and Instagram likes and comments to find the most engaging teams in July 2016.

top MLB July 2016

Our three top teams on Facebook are the same as in May, though they’ve shifted spots. The Los Angeles Dodgers are the most engaging team of July with 1.8 million engagements, followed by the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox.
The Toronto Blue Jays rose to the third top spot on Instagram, bumping the Cubs to fourth. The Dodgers and Red Sox remain in first and second place, respectively, as they did in May.

Facebook Vs. Instagram

Interestingly, the quantity of content posted to Facebook and Instagram was surprisingly similar. MLB teams posted an average of 210 times on Facebook in July, and an average of 192 times on Instagram.
However, engagement on Instagram was significantly higher. The top ten teams on Instagram drove between 1.6 million and 6.8 million total engagements in July. On Facebook, that range was between 975,000 and 1.8 million total engagements.
This was the case in May as well. While Facebook is a social media hub for nearly every interaction (photo sharing, messaging, gaming, event planning, etc), Instagram has a smaller range of tasks, primarily liking/commenting on content.

Player-Focused Content is Big on Facebook

What were the big content trends of July on Facebook? Taking a look at the top 50 posts, we see certain trends lead to dynamic engagement.

MLB content trends

Baseball is a sport that sees a lot of team heroes. These individual athletes create a story for fans to feel connected to. A combined 56 percent of the top 50 posts were about individual players, both their in-game achievements and otherwise.

MLB Cardinals Birthday

This birthday shout-out to Cardinals’ Yadier Molina was the fourth top MLB team Facebook post in July, with over 56,000 total Facebook engagements. 
For any sports, wins are popular on social media. Here, they accounted for 22 percent of the 50 top Facebook posts. Posts that showed off team pride or had news about the team, were also popular.
Sports spark a lot of emotions in fans. By looking at Facebook reactions, we can see which stories were resonating with fans and why.

FB reactions MLB July 2016

Negative Facebook reactions can show how impassioned fans are just as much as positive reactions. The post with the most Angry reactions in July show how displeased Padres fans were about the trade of Matt Kemp. By keeping aware of reactions, teams can see which content gets their fans laughing and what posts upset them.
In May, the most engaging content for Facebook were video posts. In July, photos accounted for nine of the top ten posts. If we expand the scope, video is still number one for engagement. Out of the top 100 posts, 30 were photos, 45 were video, and 25 were external links.

Kansas City Royals Eric Hosmer All-Star Game

This photo from the Kansas City Royals of Eric Hosmer after he was named the All-Star Game MVP was the top Facebook post of July for MLB teams.
This simple photo achieved a lot — it celebrated a team hero, who took home a great achievement for his team.  
The most commented posts were mostly videos. Videos accounted for 79 of the 100 most commented posts. Live videos like the one below can spark a significant amount of comments as they create an event for fans to interact with in real time.

Atlanta Braves FB Live Drums

This Facebook Live video from the Atlanta Braves sparked over 3,600 comments. 
Meanwhile for Instagram, 96 of the top 100 posts were photos and only four were videos. What content formats are going viral with your audience? Take a free trial of Spike to discover them. 

Victories Get Likes, Out-of-Game Content Gets Comments on Instagram

If we look at the top content on Instagram, the content trends are similar to Facebook. The top ten posts are primarily about in-game feats from players, team victories, and team pride. Several of these were about the All-Star Game and the achievements of teams’ players in the game.


This photo from the Dodgers was the top Instagram post from MLB teams in July, with over 62,000 likes and 270 comments.
Diving further into Instagram, we see some different content trends than on Facebook, especially if we look at the most commented posts. The top commented content of July on Instagram was more laid-back and less game-related than on Facebook.
mlb instagram comments
As these top 10 commented posts show us, off-game photos of players, puppies, interactive content, and promotions drove engagement, along with photos about wins and hyping upcoming games.

The official Pug of #ATTPark: DOUG ???? #SFGiants
A photo posted by sfgiants (@sfgiants) on


The whimsical nature of these popular posts suggest that Instagram sports fans may be interacting with their teams on a more personable level on the platform, and taking to Facebook for the serious wins and team news.
Additionally, photos posted by MLB teams on Instagram drove more likes per post, but videos saw more comments. This could be because videos have a longer viewing time than a static photo, and seeing a play in-action could drive fan comments or debate.  

What to Know

July had decidedly different content trends for MLB teams on Facebook and Instagram. Victories and player-focused content reign on both Facebook and Instagram though more casual, silly content scores big comments on Instagram.
With Instagram stories heating up, MLB teams may be able to further build their presence, through the stories’ placement at the top of the feed.
As we move ever further closer to the play-offs and World Series, we’ll be watching to see how baseball teams get their fans excited.

Take a free trial of Spike, and start discovering the top sports content trends on social right now