What rugby's Pro12 can teach you about social media from the powerhouse of Scottish PR experts, Holyrood PR. See how the teams match up.

by Stuart Milne

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Scottish PR experts

What can rugby’s Pro12 can teach business about powerful digital PR

THE END of the northern hemisphere rugby season is upon us.

Which means humble egg-chasers all over Europe now have to get their fix of the sport by keeping an eye on the Rugby Sevens and the build up to the Olympics.

Will we see the island nations of Fiji claim its first ever gold at Rio, or will we see reigning champs U.S.A. (yes, really) defend their title as the Olympic champions of rugby?

Closer to home, it’s been a year of ups and downs for Scottish club rugby. Edinburgh hosted a fairy tale Pro12 final, but no Scottish team made it through to contest it. In fact the final was an all-Irish showdown between Connacht, and perennial favourites, Leinster.

However, The showpiece event for the rebranded Celtic League – featuring Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Italian teams – saw its biggest ever crowd descend on the Scottish capital to eat, drink and watch rugby.

Here at the powerhouse of Scottish PR experts, we decided to broaden our outlook and consider the social media clout of the top placing teams from each country in the league – with the tips and takeaways you can take from each to help build a positive and healthy profile for your business.

Here’s how last year’s table looks if you swap victories for followers and try bonuses for likes:

Team Followers Likes Tweets
Leinster 172k 9k 27k
Munster 154k 1.9k 24k
Ulster 99.1K 2.9k 14.4k
Blues 61k 1.6k 14.3k
Connacht 46.3k 800 23.6k
 Ospreys 46.2k 205 24k
Scarlets 42k 13k 24k
Glasgow 43.3K 6.6k 42k
 Edinburgh 33.2K 5.4k 22k
Dragons 27.9k 1.6k 12k
Zebre 9.5k 8.3k 12k
Treviso 9.4k 176 8k
Team Played Bonus Points Points
Leinster 22 9 73
Connacht 22 13 73
Glasgow 22 14 72
Ulster 22 13 69
Scarlets 22 7 63
 Munster 22 11 63
Blues 22 12 56
Ospreys 22 9 55
Edinburgh 22 10 54
Dragons 22 10 26
Zebre 22 4 24
Treviso 22 8 20

Crouch, touch, pause – and see what your business can learn from the hard-hitting clubs of the gentleman’s game:

ONE: Ireland – Leinster

First in Social Media and losing finalists

One of the strongest teams in the world, the Dubliners have a social media presence to match, with almost 30,000 more followers than their nearest (and bitter) rivals Munster.

With countless domestic and European trophies to their name Leinster offer the invaluable lesson of making the most of what you’ve got.

When you organise social media for your business flaunt what you’ve got. Not just in terms of what you do, but in the reach you have as well.

Keep your followers informed of what you’re up to – they’re interested, otherwise they wouldn’t be following you.

Leinster always have plenty to shout about as it is a rare season without some kind of silverware or bragging rights over their provincial rivals Ulster, Munster and Connacht.

A loss to Connacht in this year’s final was a cause for celebration among most neutrals. However, Leinster demonstrated just how on-the-ball they are when it comes to social media – and wasted no time in graciously congratulating their vanquishers, a move that was sure to create goodwill towards them.

So, make sure you take care of your followers and reward them for their loyalty with a steady supply of news, updates and information about what makes you unique.


Scottish public relations agency Holyrood PR in Edinburgh offers a guide to sexy PR for any businessLearn how to make the most of your content by sharing the love. Learn how your business can make the most of shareable media with our handy guide.

TWO: Wales – Cardiff Blues  

Fourth in Social Media, but missed out on European qualification

Wales is a rugby heartland with fanatical fans. While Cardiff is the capital and the most populous area the Blues have played second fiddle for many years as they have watch arch-rivals Ospreys enjoy greater success and more silverware.

Yet when it comes to social media, Cardiff Blues seems to have the magic touch.

Indeed, they have 19k more twitter followers than Ospreys, despite having a fraction of the number of Tweets and a less illustrious league history.

This is because Cardiff work so hard to foster community spirit on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.

FireShot Capture 8 - Cardiff Blues (@cardiff_blues) • In_ - https___www.instagram.com_p_BDQUtTUHWdh_

Putting in the hours to serve that community helps build and foster the fan base. The Blues also take the time on social media to let people know what they’ve been up to and it pays dividends.

Yet the club also shows how savvy it is on social media, by going one step further – and making the most of its own people.

It’s a lesson any business or organisation can learn from. If you want someone to talk passionately about the great work you are doing, then enable the very people who are actually doing it – your staff and support team.

The social media folks at Cardiff Blues are never shy about including the Twitter handles of their players and others associated with the club, ensuring those all-important shares, Retweets and other efforts to help amplify the message, extend the reach and boost the club profile.

Cardiff have both the strategy and nous to engage their fans. Remember, if you do something good, the people who like you want to know about. There’s no reason to think any differently when it comes to your social media


THREE: Scotland – Glasgow Warriors

Eighth in Social Media and semi-final losers to champions Connacht

*Warning: Biased Blogger* Quite simply the greatest team to ever grace the face of the planet, last year’s winners and this year’s playoff contenders, the Warriors’ solid following is built on a glut of content showing off their community work – as well as their silky playing skills.

With by far the largest output of the top clubs – a whopping 17 thousand more tweets than their closest rivals Leinster – Glasgow have one of the lowest Like rates on their posts.

This could be seen as bit of a social media failing from the champs. However, Glasgow is famously a football obsessed city so this higher output has been necessary to attract followers and raise their profile to where it is now.

Building a fan-base is vitally important for any team, just as it is for any business.

The warriors have seen their attendances balloon in recent years thanks to entertaining play and a knack of winning at home.

What can this tell us? That providing entertaining content, whether it’s a local community story or just sheer excitement will win people over to your team.

There’s no doubt that an active media programme has helped engage fans all over Scotland looking to get into the sport.

Take a look at Glasgow’s Instagram feed throughout the season and you will see how quick they are to show off the flair and attacking rugby they pride themselves on.

If your company is glamourous then take advantage of that.

Social media is ideal for customer serviceAnd if you’re not? Well, we don’t think there’s any such company… Take a look at the importance of Sexy PR.

FOUR:  Italy – Zebre

Eleventh in Social Media and qualified for Europe

To some fans, “Making slow progress” has been the mantra of Italian rugby for too long now.

Yet, in a country obsessed with football, the very fact that Zebre have built a following to rival even the weakest Welsh team (The Dragons) is quite something.

Zebre offer businesses everywhere a great example in how to set up your social media feeds.

Founded in 2012, they have already overtaken their more established counterparts, Treviso.

If you’re new to the field take time to establish yourself and introduce potential clients and customers to your team and you’ll reap the benefits later as posts reach a greater number and ultimately increase your online visibility.

So ensure your business puts in the hours on social media.

Followers can be fickle so it’s important not just to churn out identikit Tweets and pointless or uninteresting images. Focus on what you do best.

Though it is key to make sure your customers and clients aren’t met with prolonged periods of dead air there is a tight-rope to walk in not tweeting incessantly or with tired or meaningless posts.

Get this balance right and you’ll be able to outstrip your closest competitors, just as Zebre have.

Find out how your business could harness the power, handling skills and electric pace of an award-winning Scottish PR agency

We’ve helped scores of businesses to build the kind of positive profiled that grabs headlines in the mainstream media and earns attention on social media.

If you’d like to see your business earn the kind of social media buzz enjoyed by rugby’s biggest hitters, then why not get in touch to discuss what is possible?

We’re a chatty bunch and we’d love the chance to speak with you. Simply phone us on 0131 561 2244, or take a few seconds to complete and send the short contact form below – and we’ll get straight back to you.

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