Confirmed: Kaizer Chiefs are BIG on social media

Bra Willy Seyama | eNitiate | Kaizer Chiefs | Social Media dominance| 2016

The inspiration for this post

I usually spend my Sunday early mornings listening to Ashraf Garda‘s Mediashow on SAFM, South Africa’s second-largest talk radio

Sunday 9/11 was no different, and as luck would have it, the first interview on the show inspired this post.

Ashraf interviewed Alpheus Maphosa – the Corporate Communications Manager for Kaizer Chiefs – about his role at the football club. 

What caught my attention was Alpheus’ mention that his employer has the largest following of all South African sporting codes on Facebook.

Kaizer Chiefs is Africa's biggest football brand.

Time to check if Alpheus was correct.

Is Kaizer Chiefs the biggest South African sports club brand on Facebook?

The answer is yes, if we are using the narrow definition of the word “club“.

Note that according to the latest stats from Socialbakers – the most reliable independent Facebook analytics tool in the market at the moment – Kaizer Chiefs is the second largest Sport brand. 

The top spot belongs to Cricket SA, the country’s cricket association.

In addition, the Glamour Boys  – as the football club are fondly called by their fans – are 15th overall in the South African Facebook page rankings.

The table above shows all sport-related brands in the overall top 15 Facebook pages that include TV channels (Supersport, categorised under “Media” on Socialbakers), and personal brands (AB de Villliers –  the Cricketer, categorised under “Celebrities“).

Clearly, Alpheus keeps a close watch on his club’s Facebook performance. But I suspected there could be more, so I scratched the surface further.

How is Kaizer Chiefs performing on Twitter?

This post would not be complete without asking this question, as Twitter is the second largest social network in South Africa.

Abafana Ba Se Phefeni – translated “The Phefeni Boys”, denoting the location where the club was founded in 1970 – are at the top of Socialbakers’ Sport brand chart on this microblog.

The Glamour Boys – as the club are fondly referred to by their fans – are also in the overall top 30 South African Twitterers by followers.

Using Facebook and Twitter as proxies, there is consistency in Kaizer Chiefs’ performance on social media.

Time to understand the club’s secret weapon.

What makes Kaizer Chiefs so successful on social media?

We do lots of social media analytics here at eNitiate, and the one constant insight across the many industries we have analysed going back to 2011 has been that brands do not gain social influence despite themselves.

As Alpheus mentioned during the 9/11 radio interview, Kaizer Chiefs has a sizable team who monitor social media up to the minute and engage actively.

I decided to test the validity of his statement. This was done by analysing Chiefs’ 37,000 tweets to determine the club’s tweeting behaviour.

For more meaningful insight, I compared this analysis to that of the club’s arch-rival – Orlando Pirates – based on the latter’s 18,000 tweets.

The finding in the figure below supports Alpheus’ assertion.

I used the analytics tool called Klear for the analysis above, ably assisted by a gentleman called Yuval.

The highlighted (x) tweeting activities are indicative of individual social engagement behaviours by the two football clubs.

The simplest way to compute the respective social engagement levels is by tallying contributions (%) of the highlighted tweeting activities. The club with the higher aggregated contribution is deemed to be more engaging.

The aggregated results show that Chiefs (44%) is more engaging than Pirates (16%) on Twitter by far

The end-result of the comparative tweeting behaviours is the Twitter influence of the two football clubs, as measured using Klout.

The higher the Klout score, the more influential the club is on Twitter.

It should be comforting for Alpheus to see that his employer’s social media focus is bearing the desired results.

Wrapping up

Kaizer Chiefs has been leading the trends on the local South African football scene for many years. Examples include the following:

  • The first South African football club to host night games.
  • The first South African football club to take home games to other towns and cities away from its traditional home ground, thus giving opportunity for fans in those other areas to attend such games.
  • The first South African club to have customised financial products.

Dominance on social media is yet another first. It is no wonder that the club is the biggest football brand in Africa.


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