Business of Sport
Chelsea tops social media poll
London - Chelsea FC have come top of a table of English Premier League clubs for the way they engage with fans across the internet, according to a new study by technology consultants Lewis Communications.
The Blues finished ahead of Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs and Manchester United - who were ranked eighth overall.
Blackburn, Bolton and newly-promoted Swansea occupied the bottom three places in the league.
The study examined a range of factors such as the number of Twitter and Facebook followers, level of interaction with fans, ease of online access and app development.
The research found that despite having the highest number of Facebook fans – 19 million - Manchester United were using the social networking site mainly to broadcast messages and doing little to engage with followers.
The Old Trafford side’s Facebook following is nearly three times that of Arsenal in second place on 7.5 million, Liverpool and Chelsea both on seven million each and Manchester City on one million.
United were one of just three teams along with Fulham and Norwich not to have an iPhone app although none of the Premier League clubs have an official Android app.
Out of the 20 teams, only Bolton do not have an official Facebook presence, while Aston Villa and West Brom are the only sides with an official LinkedIn page.
Swansea is the only club without a Twitter page.
The report found that Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was the Premier League’s top tweeter with 1,567,967 followers, taking over from team-mate Rio Ferdinand on 1,516,559.
Alex Clough, digital strategist at Lewis Communications, said: “Social media has fundamentally reshaped the way people interact with the world around them and this is no more apparent than within the field of sport.
“Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have allowed a new generation of fans to connect with their football idols and teams in ways that they haven't been able to within the modern game and clubs need to embrace this.
“It’s important that clubs do not just use these social channels to broadcast their messages but also to open up an authentic dialogue with fans to answer queries and complaints as promptly and efficiently as possible.”