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Breaking Down the Social Media Game: 2023 MLB Playoffs

As the MLB playoffs heat up, it’s not just the action on the field that’s capturing our attention. Social media platforms have become a show of their own, with teams capitalizing on trends to garner the attention of fans. Let’s take a closer look at the social media performance of the four remaining playoff teams: the Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Average engagement rate per post for the four remaining MLB Playoff teams.
Posts per platform of the remaining MLB playoff teams. The chart looks at Instagram and TikTok post counts over the last 90 days.

Houston Astros Dominate TikTok Engagement

Despite facing criticism over the last few years, the Houston Astros have emerged as a force to be reckoned with, both on and off the field. Most of the animosity stems from the notorious 2017 cheating scandal when the Astros were involved in a sign-stealing controversy the same year as their World Series championship run. As they appear in their seventh consecutive ALCS appearance, they have the highest TikTok engagement rate of any of the four teams. 

Over the past 90 days, the Astros have had multiple videos with over 1 million views, as they focus on keeping their TikTok channel content fresh, relevant, and captivating. A significant contributor to this success has been the charismatic Gold Glover Jeremy Peña, who has become a focal point of their TikTok strategy, drawing fans in with his infectious energy.

While their Instagram engagement rate is the lowest of the four teams, the Astros have clearly decided their focus on TikTok as their main social strategy, posting over 6x as many videos as the Arizona Diamondbacks.

@houstonastros Oh 😳🫢🤭 #mlb #astrosbaseball #jermeypeña #jp3 ♬ This Is Your Man – Steve Wilkos Show

Texas Rangers Creative Captions Fuel Engagement

The Texas Rangers demonstrated an impressive social media presence with the highest average Instagram engagement rate at 2.96%. Despite facing challenges in the latter part of their season, the team found an unexpected source of inspiration in the rock band Creed. According to pitcher Andrew Heaney, Creed’s music played a significant role in boosting team morale and energy before home games. This unusual ritual not only infused the Rangers with motivation but also contributed to their resilience on the field.

The Rangers tapped into this on social media, leveraging their newfound affinity for Creed to connect with fans. One standout post featured Adolis Garcia, and was captioned with the lyrics “CAN YOU TAKE ME HIGHER!?” – a direct reference to Creed’s hit song “Higher”. This post emerged as the most liked over the past 30 days, underscoring the power of relevant content and captioning.

Philadelphia Phillies Catering to Audiences of All Types

The Phillies have efficiently used both TikTok and Instagram, with a 3.31% and 2.9% average engagement rate. On TikTok, the team has showcased a diverse range of content, from creating swiftie friendship bracelets, to ASMR videos featuring the field crew, and fashion highlights. By tapping into these trends, the Phillies have demonstrated an understanding of what captivates the TikTok community.

On Instagram, their strategy centers on providing fans with a spread of content. From Bryce Harper talking about his love for the city, to heartwarming moments such as a photo of Nick Castellanos’ son, Liam, reacting to a home run, the Phillies have successfully struck a balance between game highlights and offering glimpses into their players’ personal lives. The Phillies’ success on both platforms exemplifies their adaptability and adeptness in catering to different audience preferences.

@phillies The sounds of postgame #phillies #RingTheBell #baseball #sports #mlb ♬ original sound – Phillies

Arizona Diamondbacks Demonstrate that Consistency is Key

In the fast-paced world of social media, consistency is key, and no team exemplifies this lesson quite like the Arizona Diamondbacks. From August 26 to October 3, they experienced a notable hiatus on TikTok, with zero posts during that period. This underscores the importance of maintaining a regular posting schedule to keep fans engaged. On TikTok, the Diamondbacks had the lowest average engagement rate at 2.3%. This suggests an area where there’s room for growth and improvement. It’s a reminder that even established teams need to continuously adapt and refine their social media strategies to maximize fan interaction.

On Instagram, however, the Diamondbacks have been more active, with the second-highest number of posts, behind the Phillies. While their engagement rate was 2.17%, placing them third out of the four teams, they still captured fan attention. The Diamondbacks leveraged collaborative posts such as a post with ESPN to expand their reach and connect with an even broader audience. Their standout moment on Instagram featured a playful post in response to a tweet from the LA Dodgers. The Dodgers had confidently declared, “We’ll see you soon,” only for the Diamondbacks to reply with a cheeky “We’ll see you next season” after they had been eliminated. Their stunning sweep of the LA Dodgers, a major upset, and their first NLCS playoff berth since 2007, represents a great opportunity to continue to engage with fans through social media.

Key Takeaways

  1. Know Your Audience: The Texas Rangers’ successful engagement with fans through their Creed-inspired post caption highlights the importance of understanding and catering to the unique connections that true fans hold dear. This tailored approach can lead to significant boosts in fan interaction and loyalty.
  2. Diversity in Strategy: It’s crucial for teams to diversify their social media efforts. Relying solely on one platform may lead to missing out on potential fans. The Phillies’ success on both Instagram and TikTok is a testament to this.
  3. Consistency Matters: Even if the engagement rates aren’t topping the charts, maintaining a steady presence on social media is vital. The Diamondbacks’ inconsistent TikTok performance and low engagement rates are a testament to this principle.

About Captiv8

Captiv8 is a full-service influencer marketing solution that redefines end-to-end, inspiring you to think bigger, enabling you to plan smarter, and empowering you to execute better. Through our intuitive workflow, brands can uncover actionable insights on trends, discover and vet influencers, seamlessly activate campaigns at scale, amplify branded content across the digital ecosystem, and prove business impact through our measurement dashboard. Our platform gives you the tools you need to build relationships and effective content, while our teams lend experiences and strategic services to steer you clear of common influencer marketing pitfalls. Interested in learning more? Take a platform tour today!

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