Social media: Giants hottest team in sports

October, 26, 2012
10/26/12
12:00
PM ET


The San Francisco Giants are not only the hottest team in baseball right now, they’re the hottest team in U.S. professional sports on social media.

Giants director of social media Bryan Srabian said the current level of social media engagement and conversation around the club is the highest he’s seen since he joined the organization in 2010. Considering the team only had 3,000 Twitter followers when Srabian started -- compared to more than 11 times that many followers today -- the Giants’ social media buzz is at an all-time high.

“The number of people talking about you, the positive sentiment, the way that people are using our hashtag, you can tell we have a really passionate fan base,” Srabian said. “Even just from the eyeball test, you can measure [the engagement] is high. It’s really exciting.”

And they have the numbers to prove it. Up 2-0 in the World Series on the Detroit Tigers, San Francisco has more fans talking about the Giants on Facebook (474,000) than any other American sports team or league page.

With 284,000 people talking about the Tigers, Detroit comes in at No. 13 on that list, and is No. 5 on the baseball list, behind the Giants, Yankees, MLB and Cardinals.

Take the Giants’ 8-3 rout of the Tigers in Game 1 of the World Series for proof of San Francisco’s social dominance. Postseason games generate bigger numbers on TV and the Web, but the Fall Classic opener was highlighted by San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s three home runs.

According to MLB public relations’ Twitter account, Game 1 generated 813,000 social media comments. The post said those were the second-most comments all-time behind only last year’s World Series Game 6.

Social Guide Intelligence analytic data showed Game 1 generated 746,969 tweets. According to SGI numbers, that makes Wednesday’s game the most-tweeted-about MLB event ever -- surpassing this year’s Home Run Derby (721,475 tweets) for the top spot.

And speaking of Twitter, San Francisco has seen its share of traditional and not-so-traditional hashtags this postseason. Sure, everyone can figure out why #WorldSeries is surging. But a number of non-baseball followers on Twitter probably were scratching their head over why #panda (Sandoval’s nickname) was trending so highly on Wednesday night.

Then there’s the whole #rally movement.

“If you want to talk about the Giants, it’s [#]SFGiants,” Srabian said. “But social media is rewriting the way that you communicate and what you do. You have to be open to the new things. Something like [#]RallyZito, … once we got involved, the fans got really excited.”

The “Rally” movement spawned a number of spinoffs from #RallyEnchilada to one of the team’s official Game 2 hashtags #RallyBum.

Now as the series shifts to Detroit, the Giants and their fans are hoping to use one more hashtag in the near future: #2012champs.

Elsewhere in the social mediasphere

Nebraska men’s basketball coach Tim Miles showed he’s a big fan of Twitter at Big Ten media day.

Meanwhile, Washington State football coach Mike Leach banned his players from using Twitter.

UMass cornerback D’Metrius Williams learned it’s not a good idea to tweet at halftime during a game in which you are playing.

The NHL is discovering that fans on social media are anything but calm over the lockout.

Got a story we should feature? Have a site we should check out? Who's on your must-follow list? Tweet me at @BurnsOrtiz. If your idea gets mentioned in this column, so will you. Follow Playbook on Twitter at @ESPNPlaybook.
Maria Burns Ortiz covers social media for ESPN Playbook. She began writing for ESPN.com in 2006, covering college soccer for ESPNSoccernet.

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