Guest Post: Andreas Plastiras, blogger with Snap-Shot Sport and social media analyst.
What a summer of sport it has been for Britain. The Olympics were widely regarded as one of the best in history, and the outstanding performance of Team GB resulted in 65 medals in total (29 of which were gold). Great Britain’s chef de mission, Andy Hunt summed it up perfectly when he told the BBC “This is our greatest performance of our greatest team at the greatest Olympics ever.”
Yet, for me, the greatest British sporting moment of this year arrived just last week, on the Arthur Ashe stadium in New York at approximately 2:00am GMT on Monday 10th September, when Andy Murray outlasted great friend and rival Novak Djokovic to win his maiden Grand Slam title.
I am sure that when Murray ends his career – hopefully with many more Grand Slam titles to his name – he will look back at this summer and regard it as the most pivotal of his career. Indifferent public opinion of the 25 year old Scot changed for the better after a teary conclusion to his match with the great Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final, before winning Olympic Gold by beating the same opponent three weeks later, again at Wimbledon, confirmed his own belief that he could compete at the very top level.
He now has a US Open championship to his name – the first man to achieve this award since Fred Perry – ironically on exactly the same day some 76 years ago. Upon reflecting on his success, I looked at how Murray’s first Slam win had been received on social media, and whether Murray himself had initiated conversations through his own social profiles.
Between September 10th-11th , mentions of Andy Murray’s Twitter profile (@Andy_Murray) or his name alone received 405,210 mentions, 78% of the total mentions (519,908) made from between August 23rd – September 14th. Included in this figure were a number of tweets from highly influential profiles, many of which congratulated Murray on his win.
Mentions were unprovoked considering that the last tweet posted by the man himself via his @Andy_Murray Twitter profile was made on June 9th, and were largely positive (14%) or neutral (82%) in sentiment. There may have been a missed opportunity here for Murray in not tweeting at any stage pre, during or post event to connect with his digital fan base on Twitter.
Whilst he accumulated over 29,000 new followers between the 10th-11th September (total folowers currently stands at 1,242,203), one wonders how much greater this figure could have been should he have been actively tweeting after his win. Perhaps a tweet featuring an image of himself lifting the trophy or expressing his excitement at sharing the moment with his two dogs Maggie May and Rusty? I’m just speculating, but you can be sure that the number of retweets, @Mentions, @Replies and followers on his profile would all have increased significantly further.
In contrast to his inactivity on Twitter, it was a very different story on his Facebook profile. Fourteen public posts related to his Slam win were created in just two days post event, with content varying from sponsor videos, media interview highlights and imagery of him holding the US Open trophy aloft. From the 10th-12th September, the page also accumulated 41,831 page ‘likes’, with the overall total currently standing at 829,099.
In terms of post engagement (likes+fans+shares/fans on the day) the most successful post (121,846 engagement score) featured Murray kissing the trophy. A simple post that did not need a description. The image captured the emotion and importance of the win to Murray and was posted shortly after his victory. There have been nearly 6,000 comments on that specific post, and the vast majority are overwhelmingly positive.
It is clear that Murray’s public perception has improved hugely over the course of the summer, and I believe that there lies an opportunity for him to grow his popularity still further by connecting with fans through his social platforms. He is doing so on Facebook and has done so on Twitter in the past and that is why I was slightly surprised not to see any tweets relating to his summer accomplishments.