These Clubs Own Instagram

Being a leading football club means having a great social following today. We look at the top 7 sides, when it comes to Instagram. And it’s the Champions League, really.

Instagram has become the go-to platform for users these days. And football fans will show their digital support there – or on Facebook or Twitter. But Instagram really gives the clubs the opportunity to let fans immerse in the world that their favorite club means to them. Various formats, especially stories, and features make that platform an experience to spend a good amount of time on. That strengthens not only social support worldwide, but should be worth while eventually. Here are the teams that really own Instagram and we recognise: nothing succeeds like success.

The top 3 clubs on Instagram: Made of titles, stars and marketing

Instagram is the place to be for any brand or marketer. Especially since stories started their rise. If clubs are doing well in Social Media, that’s a good way to keep existing fans engaged and gain new followers also. To be amongst the top clubs on Instagram, you need people who work on strategies for the numerous channels everyday. Ben Ladkin, general manager of the Arsenal London Media Group, explained on last year’s Spielmacher Conference that clubs need to be diverse and global in terms of Social Media. Not just Facebook, Instagram or Twitter are important, Sina Weibo or Tencent in China, VKontakte in Russia or GIPHY are also quite relevant these days, that are so digitalised.

Arsenal are very active on GIPHY, screenshot GIP

The right content, on the right platform, at the right moment,

thats Ladkin’s motto. Instagram is the right platform for football clubs right now – people are just consuming so much there. More than a billion users seem to accentuate that, 400 million of them use stories daily. The platform could be used as a retail driver since it offers so many marketing options like shopping in stories. Stories are great anyway, because they offer the chance to show galleries of goals, saves, training pictures or what have you. As fans from all over the world go to Instagram to watch their favourite teams or the ones they like, those media sections of clubs mustn’t be complacent. Updates are expected daily, rather by the hour.

We have a look at the top three football clubs on Instagram measured by the number of followers. It’s probably little surprise that those are teams who remain in the Champions League knock-out stages and have won countless titles. Real Madrid, the Champions League holders and record winners, not only of that competition, have most fans, an astonishing 67,7 million. Their former superstar Cristiano Ronaldo – who has a staggering 151! million followers – may have helped them as much as their recent success in the European competition or their very legendary status. Their account isn’t too extravagant, though – surprisingly. Yet, he post that followed Luka Modric’s win of the Ballon d’Or was class.

Their fierce rivals from Spain, FC Barcelona are a close second with 64,4 million. The catalans have become a marketing powerhouse, reporting an income of 914 million euro last year and were the first football club to pass the billion dollar mark with that. They may have lost Neymar, but still have Lionel Messi as an engagement driver. Both of them have over a hundred million followers, too. And they have shown their Instagram credentials by referring to the new most-liked post of an egg, when they celebrated Messi’s 400th LaLiga goal.

They do post a bit more often than Real and with a bit more wit, it seems. So they might just overtake their rivals here – as they have done in LaLiga this season.

Third on this list is Manchester United. This club epitomises marketing and Social Media. Not only because they have players under contract who are real Instagram kings, like Paul Pogba or Jesse Lingard. United also, like most top clubs, have players from various nations and continents, they post with high frequency, were the first club with their own branded YouTube channel as well and have been renowned for stardom ever since the days of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. 25,7 million people follow them on Instagram. A good mix of videos, stories and behind-the-scenes pictures keep interest levels high. They have participated in the recent #10yearchallenge and shown Pogba back then in the youth team and as the top player he is today.

But there are a few clubs hot on the heels of United right now.

Another 4 clubs that surge on Instagram: Signing top players certainly helps

As mentioned before, Cristiano Ronaldo is a Social Media phenomenon. He certainly breathes Instagram, mixing his social with his professional life there.

His new club Juventus may have benfitted from his arrival in terms of shirts sold and goals scored, but his impact on Instagram is big, too. Juve have 21,2 million followers now. And they had about 14 to 15 million in the summer. Showing their trophies, very recently the Supercoppa Italiana, seems to work as well as their flasback videos that generate millions of views.

Not far behind The Old Lady is a club, which has only risen to the top in the last decade or so. PSG have 18,5 million followers and probably have Zlatan and Beckham to thank for their popularity everywhere, like they now bank on the world’s darlings Mbappé and Neymar. Edinson Cavani has 6 million followers himself, but Mbappé has nearly 26 and Neymar has a breathtaking 109 million followers. He even eclipsed Messi lately.

Should they be able to keep hold of their prized assets and maybe go on a winning run in the Champions League, they might overtake Manchester United rather sooner than later. How fitting that they meet on the pitch soon. That’s where it counts first of all.

The nex club in line has 15 million followers: FC Bayern Munich. The name stands for success. Record champions and cup winners in Germany, a squad with stars and a lot of German internationals, big wins in Europe’s elite competition and remembered for names like Müller (Gerd and Thomas), Beckenbauer, Matthäus, Kahn. They don’t come across as glittering as Real or PSG on their social channels, but have more than twice the amount of followers than rivals Borussia Dortmund and have an eye for the fancy post.

The top seven are completed by London club FC Chelsea. 14,6 million followers are counted there. Winning league and cup titles aplenty as well as the Europa League and the Champions League a few years back will have helped their cause on the social network. But they always had some proper fans and as a club representing one of the most famous cities, they do themselves justice whenever they come to Wembley and win.

Honourable mentions: AS Roma are social crazy

Teams that have not made our list, but are worth mentioning are Arsenal London or AS Roma for different reasons. As mentioned above, Arsenal have really set the tone when it comes to Social Media presence all around. Their Media Group has more than 30 employees. The Gunners’ Instagram account has 13,2 million followers. And what better than a derby win for the fans to feast their eyes on.

Arsenal and Chelsea are the only teams here that don’t play in the Champions League this season, but that is an exception. Another side that is still in the competition is AS Roma. And boy, are they good in terms of Social Media. Yes, their Instagram account is somewhat lagging behind. It only has 2,2 million followers. But still they know what their fans want.

We’ve seen some top clubs here that just own Instagram, at least when it comes to football. Success might be the platform to be great in Social Media, too. As there’s always room for creative content, though, one could certainly use Instagram and its stories to promote special clubs which may not be amongst the most successful on the pitch. Just be up to date with recent trends and take the best as an example. If an egg can defeat Kylie Jenner, so a small club could gain unexpected awareness there. All that’s needed is a unique approach. And that can be be valuable in a variety of ways. Remember, Instagram is good for reach; the more you reach, the more you monetise.

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