Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Queen of Clubs: how EPL football clubs commemorated the death of the Queen on Instagram

By Brad Rees, Chief Executive Officer at Mediacells

The passing of the Queen was commemorated by every English football club and Mediacells has analysed the making and meaning of the most engaging memorial posts through the lens of the English Premier League (EPL). 

There is a solemn focus on inclusive, shareable content with legendary FA Cup moments across the Premier League in celebration of the Queen’s sporting life.

The tone at club level is reverential with a non-self-promotional policy throughout where hashtags have been muted by adept and sensitive Admins. 

Across the content there are iconic moments like the 1957 photo of the Queen handing over the trophy to Aston Villa’s beaming Johnny Dixon (#12).

The top two most engaging posts originate from Manchester’s top clubs with the Reds sharing the moment Queen Elizabeth II presented the FA Cup to Manchester United captain Noel Cantwell at Wembley in 1963.

The keywords resonating across the 500+ official club posts we analysed were “(deepest) sorrow / condolences / saddened”, “pay tribute to”, “mourning”, “respect” and “reflection”.

The words influence and encourage the sentiment of fans who, despite feelings of disappointment for the pause on league matches, respond for the most part respectfully to a significant moment at the passing of the Queen of Clubs.

#NoHashtags is best Best Practice on solemn occasions

Across the Premier League there was a mute on all Queen-related hashtags.

Hashtags should be inclusive, shareable, and discoverable. If they don’t organically fit, they can lose the intended purpose or repel the target audience. 

EPL club Admins follow best practice and remove hashtags entirely from condolence posts.

Timeliness is a key factor in engagement and it is significant that most clubs posted on the day of the Queen’s death.

Selected clubs removed the comment feature across social media which frustrated some fans but responses in posts where comments were switched on were occasionally colourful.

Top Ten posts Engagements per Post 

1. Manchester United
The most engaging post was framed by an iconic archive photo of Reds captain Noel Cantwell accepting the FA Cup in 1963. Comment feature deactivated.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiQUak7s96-/

2. Manchester City
Regional rivals Manchester City kept the comment feature switched on and despite the haters there was a prolific amount of fan condolence posts. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiQU8VFDAjW/

3. Liverpool FC
Ron Yeats captured here when the Queen remarked ‘You must be exhausted’ to which he replied ‘I’m absolutely knackered.’ The exchange is Anfield folklore.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiQcvk3t42P/

4. Chelsea FC
A simple post with a delighted-looking Queen attracted positive, emotive comments from 3.5k+ fans, on the day the Palace announced her passing.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiQYJ42sqbD/

5. Arsenal
Arsene Wenger’s team famously had tea with the Queen. The post does not allude to this, as it could have done, and is instead respectful and understated.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiQTMMhqXkm/

6. Spurs
The north London club opted for an iconic image of the young Queen and states its aim to join the nation’s state of mourning with a souvenir-style post.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiQSMlwoeAW/

7. West Ham
Video footage from the Europa League game on the day of the official announcement is used to good effect as a fitting and vocal fan tribute.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiQqwXiq7Nl/

8. Nottingham Forest
A post shows Jack Burkitt in 1959 accepting the FA Cup from a 37-year-old Queen Elizabeth II. The nostalgic portrayal is a distinct Club Social trend in condolences.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiQVrLLMpdF/

9. Newcastle United
The post presents a contemporary image of the Queen and is the only club to make a distinction between the club and its owners as some fans pointed out.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiQSdaEqeKR/

10. Wolves
Wolves present an iconic photograph of the Queen in a military context at the West Midlands’ club’s stadium, the only post to feature the Queen on club turf.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiQUeycIZIE/

There is something unfair about comparing Manchester United, who have a natural reach of 60 million fans, to Nottingham Forest who have a natural Instagram reach of 500k fans. Mediacells levels the playing field by placing an engagement per 100k followers metric across the top 20 EPL club posts with significant results.

Nottingham Forest rise from #8 in the All Followers table to #1 in the 100k Followers table. 

Similarly, Leeds United’s post rises to #4 (up 8 places) but the most marked change is Brentford’s post which rises 16 places to #2.

Read the full report here.

Link to web visualisation on Datwrapper.

Research

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