Who Wins The NBA Social Media Finals?


Peter Claridge

August 8, 2014 3 min read

Updated on September 18, 2019

NBA basketball social mediaI’ve always been kinda short for my height, which meant I was usually one of the last to be picked when we played basketball at school. Even at soccer, the national sport of England, the coach decided that the best position for me was Left Back…in the changing rooms. Playing sport hasn’t been a highlight of my life so far, but if data analysis of social media were to ever be reclassified as a sport, I wouldn’t just be on the team, I’d be picking the players, err, geeks.

Now then, we’ve come to the climax of the NBA season (the season that very nearly almost didn’t happen), the series is over, the playoffs have finished, Chicago Bulls are still missing Michael Jordan and we’re left with the Miami HEAT and outsiders, Oklahoma Thunder, in the NBA finals.

The season had no shortage of thrills and spills, but will probably be best known as the season that introduced Linsanity to the world. This NBA infographic, created by Unmetric, looks at the social media performance of all the teams throughout the NBA 2011-2012 season from 25th December 2011 to 26th April 2012.

NBA Social Media Infographic

Miami HEAT, one of the more popular NBA teams on social media, are engaging their fans extremely well, but still can’t quite win the social media battle. Over the course of the season, Miami HEAT grew their Facebook fanbase by 24% and Twitter followers by 67% – all very average when compared to the likes of the LA Clippers and Oklahoma Thunder who both managed to double their fans and followers.

The HEAT did excel when it came to engagement with their fans. By looking at the Likes, Comments, Shares and Impressions of each post, Unmetric calculates the Engagement Score for every post on Facebook. The HEAT have some really passionate fans who love to comment and share the content uploaded by the HEAT’s social media team. With an Engagement Score of 77, the HEAT are streets ahead of their fellow finalists, Oklahoma Thunder, who scored just 22. Amongst all teams, the average engagement score for the NBA season was 29, which gives an idea of how involved the fans of the two finalists are.

Engaging your fans isn’t just about putting out content that people can share though, it’s a two way conversation. We looked at the reply times of all the teams to see which ones cared enough to reply to tweets. Once again, the HEAT come out ahead, replying to fans in an average of 15 minutes, while Oklahoma Thunder are rather slower on the buzzer than most other teams with an average reply time of over 2 1/2 hours.

Based on the social media data compiled by Unmetric, and in my role as the Peter Brand of the basketball world, when it comes to Miami HEAT and Oklahoma Thunder, the HEAT are the runaway social media winners.

For more analysis of this data, head over to Tim Peterson’s recent Lakers Beat Heat…in Social Media article on AdWeek.

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