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Newcastle Jets Vs Knights Online

Social media comparison: Newcastle Jets vs Newcastle Knights

Sport clubs are no strangers to marketing. Their sponsors pay a premium to have their corporate logos displayed on star players’ chests, and when they’re not on the pitch, these players are often found helping out around their local communities through education and charity projects. It’s good, honest work, but it still helps to spread goodwill about their brand and keep them in the headlines.


The rise of social media has made it easier (and cheaper) for sport teams to connect with their fans. As well as following the personal accounts of their idols – often professionally managed to some degree, to avoid the sort of social media gaffes that could reflect badly on the team – it’s a given that loyal fans will add and follow their team’s accounts on their social networks to show their support.


A well-managed social profile is more than just a badge. To see how two local sporting clubs are stepping up to the task, we’ve compared the social networking activities of the Newcastle Jets and the Newcastle Knights.


The McDonald Jones Stadium mates don’t start out on an equal footing – NRL has a considerably larger following than the A-League, of course, and the Knights have a few years on the Jets as an established local name. Social media can be a great equaliser, and any brand can build a loyal online following when it provides valuable content that people are interested in.

Official websites


Before we compare their performance on the leading social media sites, we’ve taken a look at how their own websites fare. Your official site represents your brand, and should tell visitors everything they need to know, as well as making it easy for them to follow your activities elsewhere on the web.


Newcastle Jets


The Newcastle Jets homepage has convenient buttons taking users directly to their most active social accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, alongside links to their official shop and app. These are at the top of every page and easy to spot.


Newcastle Knights


The Newcastle Knights site has a similar set-up with the same easy social buttons, but the whole site is pushed down by a dominant banner advertising owner Telstra’s other enterprises. This corporate weight likely means there’s more funds and personnel available for managing their marketing activities, but it’s not the most welcoming message for fans who are visiting the site to find out about their team, not the suits.


Newcastle Knights site


The Knights website includes a wider selection of social media links further down the page, as well as a prominent Facebook banner inviting likes and a live Twitter feed. The Jets also have a live Twitter widget.


Newcastle Jets website


Both sites keep fans up-to-date with the latest news on and off the pitch, with articles, videos and photo galleries. Once published, these are shared on their social networks, helping to drive traffic to the official sites.


Newcastle Jets social sharing


The Jets site encourages further social interaction by including like/share buttons and comments via the Disqus platform, but this can be overkill when it’s done for every single page. There’s little incentive for people to share functional content such as a ‘contact us’ page, and when all the stats sit on zero, it can have the adverse effect of making your site look unpopular.


Newcastle Knights videos


While the Jets videos are mainly highlights and repostings of third party interviews, the Knights invest more effort in creating their own video content under the ‘Knights TV’ banner. Hosting this on their own website brings in more traffic, but ignoring the sizeable YouTube audience is a major oversight, as we’ll discuss later.

Social media platforms


Both clubs have a presence on many of Australia’s most popular social media sites, but some of these accounts are more active than others – and there are some glaring omissions.



Newcastle Jets Facebook


Newcastle Knights Facebook


With more than 17 million regular monthly users in Australia (more than 70% of the population), a Facebook account is all but mandatory for any customer-facing business, and both teams have brushed up on good Facebook practice.


They both post regular updates (the Knights more frequently), and every post features an image or video to make it more appealing and more likely to be shared. This content attracts a decent number of likes and comments on both accounts.


The Newcastle Jets page has been ‘liked’ by around 51,000 people, and the Newcastle Knights page almost triples that figure. This is to be expected when rugby league goes up against soccer, and it doesn’t necessarily reflect on either team’s Facebook technique.



Newcastle Jets Twitter


Newcastle Knights Twitter


We start to see some interesting differences when we compare the teams’ Twitter profiles. This time, the Jets aren’t lagging behind by the same degree, with around 32,000 followers compared to the Knights’ 50,000.


Both accounts post frequent updates to keep their followers in the loop, so why the comparative boost for the Jets? It’s likely due to their greater commitment to connecting with their fans – the Jets follow 710 Twitter accounts, while the Knights follow less than half as many, despite their greater number of followers.


Spending more time engaging with their fans could see the Knights’ following grow substantially, but considering Twitter’s lack of popularity compared to other social networks (only used by around three million Australians each month), that time could be put to better use elsewhere.



Newcastle Jets Instagram


Newcastle Knights Instagram


Once again, the Newcastle Jets take the time to follow more of their fans in return than the Knights do. But this time, that doesn’t have a noticeable pay-off in terms of followers – around 14,000 for the soccer team vs. 42,000 for the rugby club.


The Newcastle Knights’ Instagram is one of their most active profiles, likely because the content has already been created for other platforms and is simply being reposted. It doesn’t hurt that their action shots tend to be higher quality and more dynamic too.



Newcastle Jets LinkedIn


Newcastle Knights LinkedIn


Both Newcastle teams maintain LinkedIn profiles for people who are interested in the business side of things. The Jets have significantly more connections, which is unexpected with their smaller organisation size, and might again be down to an emphasis on networking.


However, the Newcastle Knights are more active in keeping their followers updated with the latest details of employment opportunities, sponsorships and other corporate interests. They also promote their LinkedIn profile on their website, which the Jets don’t, meaning they could be on track to overtake the soccer side.



Newcastle Jets Emile Heskey YouTube


Both teams prefer to host videos on their own sites and through their Facebook and Twitter feeds than on YouTube. While they’re likely to reach many of the people who are interested on Facebook, ignoring the YouTube audience is a decision that will cost them potential views and interactions.


YouTube is Australia’s second most popular social network after Facebook, visited by more than 15 million Australians every month. The Newcastle Jets do have a YouTube channel, but it was seemingly abandoned several years ago – with Emile Heskey still featuring prominently – and only contains old news that won’t be of interest to anyone. In the absence of an official channel for the Newcastle Knights, several unofficial channels have sprung up to fill the void and share relevant content with fans, which shows that the interest is there.


Considering both teams create video content already – the Knights being the most prolific with their ‘Knights TV’ branding – reposting this content to YouTube would be a simple way to reach many more people at minimal extra effort.



It’s not surprising that the Newcastle Knights are enjoying the greater success on social media as a whole, given their larger fan base and (presumed) marketing budget. They’re also more eager to keep up with new trends to reach their fans in more places, demonstrated by their joining Snapchat in 2016.


However, as hinted with their Twitter and LinkedIn success, the Newcastle Jets have proven that it’s possible to build on a small audience and form more meaningful relationships by taking the time to connect with their followers and answer their questions, rather than simply re-posting content they may have already seen elsewhere.


Frequent posting of high quality content is the simple key to social media success, although maintaining this level of activity in the off season can be a challenge. Both organisations could take inspiration from sport teams around the world that have built stronger relationships with their fans by featuring them on their social platforms and encouraging their followers to participate in content creation.


For more social media comparisons, see our breakdown of two local councils in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and our case study of CSR.

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