Who’s the top athlete on Facebook? Is it an international phenom like Cristiano Ronaldo or Roger Federer with millions of fans? Or maybe an engaging personality like Shaun White or Steve Nash who post extremely creative and authentic content?
That’s a question Activ8Social set out to answer early in the new year and in the process, we decided to rank the Top 30 professional athlete Facebook Pages as of February 2010. Top caliber athletes from all over the world and from a variety of sports made the grade. After much deliberation between our team, we elected to limit our assessment to Pages with 300,000 or more fans that demonstrated a direct affiliation with the athlete (i.e. unofficial fan Pages were excluded).
While we preach to our clients about not over-emphasizing numbers on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and yes even MySpace, because hundreds of thousands or even millions of fans and followers don’t guarantee an effective loop of fan/consumer feedback, there is a certain level of marketability an athlete brings to a sponsor negotiation based on the total number of fans in their social media network.
Unlike Twitter, which at this time does not let you directly message every single follower/fan with an email promotion over 140 characters, Facebook on the other hand does provide the capability. In fact, it’s a drastically underutilized feature on the world’s largest social platform and provides unparalleled reach to consumers for a brand with a rewarding promotion or compelling story. As a result, our team has put major emphasis on the size of each Page for this round of evaluations.
Various metrics—including fan numbers, frequency of updates, fan engagement, promotion, and content as determined by a panel of judges—were factored into each Page’s score and resulting final rank on the Top 30 list. Each athlete’s Facebook Page was rated on a scale of 1-10 based on the following criteria:
- Size - total number of fans
- Frequency - total amount and regularity of updates
- Engagement - authenticity, creativity, quality, and quantity of athlete/fan interaction
- Promotion - sponsor activation, contests, links, charity, team, etc.
- Content - variety, originality, and quality of media and updates
Facebook Pages provide an unrivaled medium that help bridge the gap between athletes and their fans. Aside from enabling athletes to post directly from their mobile device, management teams can also keep fans updated with that athlete’s latest news and media. Whether it’s a mobile upload straight from the athlete’s PDA, photo album, event calendar, promotional contest, application, or microsite, Facebook Pages are only limited by creativity.
Through Pages, fans can engage and interact directly with the athlete’s content within the platform or simply “badge” their profile to display their allegiance. Whenever a fan joins or interacts with a Facebook Page, the viral sharing process ensues, expanding the reach and awareness of the Page and athlete. Acting as a social media “hub”, Pages can aggregate content from other social media platforms such as Twitter, Flickr and YouTube and feed them directly to an online network that boasts an audience of over 350 million users. In fact, there is a small movement of majority celebrity personalities in the entertainment industry that are trailblazing a path using Facebook as their official website.
Who do you think deserves the title as “The Top Athlete on Facebook”? We answer that question with our version of the Top 30 Athletes on Facebook as of February 2010. Play the slideshow above to find out the answer and please feel free to share with friends and colleagues that are interested to learn more about athletes, sports, and social media.