The 27th MLS season is underway and we’re tracking the growth of the league and its teams across social media. As the league continues to cultivate new fans, social media content across Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook is the most logical way to attract new audiences.
Thanks to a new partnership with Noah Beck, which we’ll detail a bit later, MLS has made it more obvious than ever that social media is absolutely vital to its growth plan.
MLS social media followers – April 2022
Earlier this year, we tracked follower growth after the MLS opening weekend. In those three days, MLS and individual team accounts gained almost 67,000 combined followers across Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook.
Several months have gone by, so let’s revisit and see how follower growth has progressed. As you can see below, there’s been some significant increases. Since the start of the season, MLS and individual team accounts have gained – by our count – over 746,000 followers.
Below is a breakdown of total followers gained, in total, for MLS and all 28 teams.
It’s no surprise the league itself gained the most followers, so the obvious place to start is teams. The LA Galaxy are among the most popular global soccer teams in the U.S. and these numbers support this. The signing of Brazilian Douglas Costa has aided in the growth, as has a strong start from Chicharito.
Newcomers, Charlotte FC, are third-highest and that shouldn’t be a surprise as the team continues to grow its brand locally, regionally, and nationally. The club has – by our count – gained over 80,000 followers since opening weekend.
- READ MORE: Most popular soccer teams in the U.S.
In our initial post, we shared insight into followers gained by platform as a percentage of total growth. After opening weekend, Instagram accounted for 46% of all growth with TikTok second at 29%. Here’s how those percentages have since shifted:
- TikTok: 54%
- Instagram: 30%
- Twitter: 9%
- Facebook: 8%
On TikTok, the league account has gained over 136,000 followers since opening weekend. It’s a fast-growing social platform and thanks to the league’s partnership with Noah Beck, who contributes weekly content in the form of Beck’s Corner, it’s the platform on which MLS gained the most followers to date… by about 100,000.
Earlier this year Beck was announced as the first Social Playmaker in MLS history and it was abundantly clear why the league brought him on board. First and most importantly, he spent several years in the MLS academy system as he explains in the post above. Second, he has over 33 million followers on TikTok at time of updating this post.
Whether or not Beck’s presence on the league’s TikTok account is solely responsible for helping grow the MLS account is unknown, but he certainly isn’t hurting.
Think about these numbers. When we originally shared this post in February, Beck had posted 136 TikTok videos in 2022. Those videos had a combined 590 million views, which averages out to roughly 4.3 million views per video. His video announcing his partnership with MLS had accrued 8.9 million views making it the 13th most-viewed piece of Beck content on TikTok this year.
MLS hopes to engage younger audiences and his admiration for the sport and history with the league makes him the ideal partner in a mutually beneficial relationship. Beck, who already weaves soccer into his content, gets to engage with and be around his first love, soccer. In turn, MLS, its teams, and its players will now appear in the social feeds of millions as the league continues to build its brand among a younger generation.
Why TikTok is vital for MLS
What about the platform makes it an important addition to your marketing mix? According to Emma Kramer, Digital Director at Real Salt Lake, TikTok has the opportunity to hit completely different audiences solely because someone doesn’t have to follow an account to see their content like you’d have to on Twitter or Instagram. What that means at the end of the day is exposure. As we’ve discussed, exposure to new, diverse audiences is extremely important in an oversaturated social media space as the league and teams look to find new audiences.
- READ MORE: Value of TikTok for brands, marketers
Kramer also says the Real Salt Lake approach to TikTok content is different than their other social verticals. They’ve learned their TikTok audience wants content that shows off personalities, which can come in the form of Question(s) of the Day or other content types that are a bit more extemporaneous than they are planned. That’s why you’ll often see videos taken via cell phone on Real Salt Lake’s TikTok account rather than videos with a higher production value.
@realsaltlakeofficial #ValentinesDay edition of Question of the Day #fyp ♬ original sound – Real Salt Lake