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CO 373 Analysis

CO 373 Analysis:

Study of the Cleveland Browns’ Twitter Account

Sean Freeman

John Carroll University

CO 373 Analysis 1

Throughout the course of this semester, I was required in my CO 373 class to conduct a

constructed week analysis of the Cleveland Browns’ Twitter account. While engaging in this

process, myself and my peers also learned about the proper ways to analyze posts that are created

through a major organization’s account and relate them back to the overall goal, vision, and

objective of the organization’s social plan. In this paper, I will break down the habits, positives

and pitfalls of the Browns’ social media and offer suggestions for the media team to use moving

forward. In addition, I will map out a content calendar for their upcoming game against the

Carolina Panthers utilizing the tips and strategies I have garnered through my analyzation.

Data Analysis

Data Analysis and Evaluation

Twitter Data and Evaluation of Strategy

Over the course of our constructed week assignment this semester, I have gathered a

large amount of information on the Browns’ twitter account. Through the class’ methodology of

research, myself and my peers have analyzed and recorded 217 total tweets from the Cleveland

Browns account. The tweets were well spread throughout the day, making the information and

engagement easier to digest for their audience. On non-game days, the earliest tweet throughout

the study was sent at 4:59AM on October 1st, and the latest tweet was sent out at 6:06PM on

September 7th. These times were well positioned due to the fact that the earlier tweets were

released at a time when fans could look over them while they are getting ready for work or

commuting. During the day, the consistent engagement continued from the Twitter account, but

with the proper dosage of material. Out of the 217 total tweets in our analysis, 78 of them were

sent out on non-game days, spaced out over a total of approximately 56.6 hours. Therefore,
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when the Browns were not competing, the social media account sent out close to 1.38 tweets

every hour during the workday. The Browns did a terrific job of expertly spacing their material.

When a fan needed a break at work or checked social media, they were not immediately

overwhelmed with or absent from tweets from the Cleveland Browns. The material was easy to

take in and process, while simultaneously continually engaging their audience with the team’s

content throughout the day.

On the other hand, during game days for the Browns, the Cleveland account increases

their social media presence drastically. Out of the two game days I was assigned to cover over

the course of the semester, more than half of the total tweets analyzed came from days when the

Browns were playing a football game. The 139 total tweets from the Browns account on game

days were published over the course of 26.25 hours. Therefore, on average, the Browns would

tweet 5.3 times every hour during a game. The earliest tweet on a game day came at an early

5:05AM on November 11th’s game against the Falcons and the latest tweet was sent at 7:04PM

when the Browns hosted the San Diego Chargers on October 14th. Once again, the Browns

social media team did a great job of giving their audience what they needed and wanted when

they needed and wanted it. Starting at the crack of dawn on a game day, the Browns recognized

that many of their fans are already awake and preparing for the long day ahead. They greet the

tailgaters and early arrivers with essential information regarding traffic, weather, and parking

information. Additionally, they spice it up by breaking up the informational tweets with tweets

hyping up their audience, getting them excited for the day. By sending out an average of more

than five tweets per hour, the Browns team carried their fan base every step of the way to the

stadium in offering promotions, excitement, and information scattered throughout the morning to

make sure that no matter when people got up and began preparing for the game, they were ready
CO 373 Analysis 3

to attend or watch from anywhere. During the game, the social media team kept the tweets

coming, engaging with their fans who were employing the second screen. Offering statistics,

graphics and replays of the game’s biggest plays, the social media was able to continually guide

people through the most informational and entertaining experience the game could offer. Then,

once the game had concluded, the Browns highlighted big plays of the game, main player

impacts, and any historical monuments that were created or broken during the game. This

proved to be a difficult task during and after the Chargers game due to the fact that the Browns

were handed a tough loss. During the Falcons game however, where the Browns had much to be

proud of, the tweets and interactions that were generated favored the Browns immensely.

Between the Chargers game and Falcons matchup, there were 29 more tweets generated from the

Browns’ Twitter account against Atlanta. The Browns, recognizing that their fans and audience

did not like the outcome of the Chargers game considering it was not going well for the team,

opted for short informational tweets with little use of entertaining or interactive material.

Meanwhile, during and after the Falcons game, the twitter account seized its opportunity by

creating 84 tweets over the course of the day, 50 of which received more than 800 likes. The

social media took their opportunity to highlight their team’s performance and ran with it, putting

out entertaining as well as informational material until about three hours after the game. In the

future, that might be a little too long to tweet after the game, but considering there were many

highlights and milestones for the team, the twitter account took the most advantage of their

situation as they could.

While the Browns made expert use of their time and worked well to avoid annoyance

amongst their audience, they relied too heavily on professional informational tweets to get their

message to their fans. Out of the 217 total tweets analyzed through the constructed week, 144, or
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66% of those tweets were categorized as professional informational. More than half of the total

informational tweets came on game days and on those days, the Browns Twitter put out 63% of

their tweets as professional informational. Despite being an incredibly creative team with ample

amounts of resources, the Browns twitter continually puts out repetitive material in a framework

that does little to capture the attention of its followers. Generally, a professional informational

post will consist of a caption acting as a headline for an article, a photo of the player, coach, or

group the article discusses, and then a link to the article. In other instances, pieces such as

hashtags and emojis are left out or added in, but for the majority of the time, this is the

stereotypical Browns informational tweet. This is an opportunity the Browns continually miss

because while being the most common category of tweets, very few professional informational

tweets receive decent engagement from fans in the form of likes. Out of the 144 total

professional informational tweets gathered, only 47 of them received more than 800 likes, a

benchmark 132 of the Browns’ tweets were able to reach. Even then, 800 likes on a social media

account with 1.1 million followers only equivalates to 0.07% engagement from their fan base,

demonstrating how low the threshold I created was. While I recognize that not every

informational tweet can grab the attention and action of more than 800 accounts every time, the

Browns seem to make little effort to draw fans in through their most commonly used social

engagement category. To my surprise, however, informational tweets and interactivity tweets

make up 66% of tweets that surpassed the 800 like mark throughout the study. Out of the 132

tweets that received 800 or more likes, 51 of those came on the game day against the Atlanta

Falcons. When considering the success the team had, which I covered above, this displays the

strong correlation that exists between high engagement and high performance. While the

Browns do a great job of maximizing their team’s success over their Twitter platform, the
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organization needs to be able to mobilize and effectively reach more of their fan base when the

team is not playing and not performing well, too.

Strategic Campaign Plan

Formative Research

There are many factors that routinely go into a strategic campaign plan that include a

step-by-step agenda in order for the process to work. This is incredibly important, but I have

also realized through research how before one can even begin to create their plan, a social media

team needs to make sure they have the right people with the right skills on their side. In an

interview with Shannon Gross, the director of content strategy for the Dallas Cowboys, Gashaw

Abeza learned about why the Cowboys switched up their social media staff heading into their

planning: “One, because of the rise of “big data” or the rise of big content with big volume,

velocity, and variety…Two, the need to reach out to the viewership…, Three, to use the data in

some way, somehow, for data analytics and to be informed from that and repurpose our

strategies, when necessary”(Abeza). Gross went on to discuss how they are using their big data

to determine what they need to allocate more or less funds and attention to. “By matching data-

analytics results with a program, we can make decisions on whether we need to look at doing

things in a different way… and putting those resources into a new type of programming,” a

process that is incredibly similar to what myself and my classmates were tasked with this

semester and in this paper for the Cleveland Browns (Abeza).

Once recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the data collected, the Browns have a

unique opportunity to work with a semi-faded brand. In Florea’s research of professional soccer

teams, faded teams are ones that have typically moved locations or suffered traumatic financial
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struggles. These faded teams “that enjoy salient heritage and numerous loyal fans are more

likely to be successfully resurrected” (Florea). While the Browns have not incurred a recent

location switch or to our knowledge undergone bankruptcy, the team has had a difficult stretch of

years with very little success. Nonetheless, the team has a staunch fan base, as evident by their

followers on Twitter and atmosphere around the city of Cleveland. This resurgence of

professional success is something the strategic plan should definitely maximize, as it will factor

in to other aspects of the Browns business. According to Florea’s research, strong brands

“directly influences three components of fan behavior – ticket purchases, media consumption

and endorsement – and has a very strong link with brand relationship” (Florea). Utilizing their

experience as a semi-faded brand that maintains its fan base, the Browns can use their media

campaign to not only connect with their audience but also increase revenues and overall

engagement. A way in which the team can successfully utilize this opportunity is through

intended positioning which is “how a firm desires to be perceived by potential consumers in the

target segments” (Lee). The images, attributes, and language the Browns currently use help

them position themselves with the correct audience they desire.

Many of these images are focused around the star players, who are known to draw a lot of

attention and revenue for the organization as a whole. In Puente-Diaz’s research paper looking

into the relationship Barcelona FC has with their fans due to Lionel Messi, the research found

“that the perceived qualities [how good the team is, how spectacular the style of play is, and how

enjoyable it is] of Barcelona FC become more positive when Lionel Messi is brought to mind”

(Puente-Diaz, p. 328). For the Cleveland Browns this year, Baker Mayfield has been that star-

studded athlete the broadcast announcers, fans, and national sports media all love to watch and

admire. While this has resulted in a large amount of positive press for the team, translating into
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large financial gains, having a face of an organization can sometimes be a pitfall for teams.

Puente-Diaz’s study also covered the U.S. political system. In the study, they analyze the

Republican Party and found that putting Colin Powell as the face of the organization, while

greatly benefitting the party and Powell, hurt the surveyor’s evaluations of one of Powell’s

colleagues (Puente-Diaz, p. 329). So, while utilizing Baker has been and will continue to be a

positive for the organization, the Browns, especially in their media, must be careful that they do

not over use Mayfield. They must have him share the spotlight with his teammates so that they

do not eventually become to be seen as lesser than Mayfield in their audience’s eyes. Another

caveat the Browns’ social media team needs to be aware of before creating their social media

campaign is the rise of antibrand communities, groups who strongly oppose sports teams with a

solid following of people. These communities “negatively affect the team and its brand,

especially by promoting brand meaning that is completely different from or even contradictory to

the team’s (intended) brand communication” (Popp, p. 340). While the Browns do not have this

concern at the moment, they must be wary. They have received a lot of positive attention and

support through the sports world, but there are many influencers who work to undermine and

laugh at the organization. Colin Cowherd is an example of someone who repeatedly attempts to

undermine Mayfield. While Colin has had little success thus far, the Browns’ social media team

must be prepared if a significant antibrand community were to form so that they can swiftly and

effectively maintain the Browns’ image amongst their audience and in the vast Twitter


SWOT Analysis

In terms of the social media team’s strengths, the Cleveland Browns have many fun,

engaging players who create excitement and exert influence over their fans. Whether it is
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through their personal accounts or the main team’s social media, players like Myles Garrett,

Jarvis Landry, and Baker Mayfield draw positive attention to a team that is on the rise. Several

times throughout the constructed week, the Browns’ account retweeted posts from Landry.

These actions, though on the surface may seem incredibly insignificant, demonstrate a lot about

the team. Landry using his social media to hype up his audience and applaud his teammates

shows the cohesion that exists amongst his teammates, whether they are on the offensive or

defensive side. The retweet from the main team account illustrates how the organization is

backing up and supporting the words and actions of the player. The video of Baker Mayfield

saying how he felt dangerous the game of the Falcon’s win was the most liked tweet we analyzed

in our study. He has constantly been a positive feature for the Browns twitter, an easy character

that can draw in hundreds, sometimes thousands of retweets and likes for the Browns’ account.

Influencers like Joe Thomas, local celebrities and other Cleveland sports teams also help draw

attention to the team’s twitter page, increasing traffic and showing a common bond and

appreciation the city of Cleveland has for the Browns.

Along with having star athletes to personally promote the team with their own individual

brands, the Browns have terrific community partners that help expand the Browns’ social reach

and connect more fans. Companies and accounts like Waze, First Energy, Browns Give Back,

and many more help bring a more personal and interactive side to the team that is not often

shown on the field. These partners provide valuable information and connections for the Browns

organization and their fans while receiving attention, monetary assistance, and promotions from

the Browns, ensuring that both sides win in the relationship. The groups the Cleveland Browns

are paired with not only better the team’s overall image in the city and amongst their fans, but

also generated funds for local groups and helps fans inside and outside of the stadium. Finally,
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the loyal fan base of the Browns is a huge strength they have been able to maintain and capitalize

on. Through several rough years with disappointing endings, the 1.1 million twitter followers

have stuck with the team, demonstrating their allegiance and desire for the social media account

to maximize the successful team the Browns have recently created. The audience’s constant

support and engagement with the social media account creates a welcoming and positive culture

with the team’s online presence.

While the twitter account has many strengths that advance the overall organization’s

agenda, they do have some weaknesses they will need to address moving forward. As I

mentioned in my data analysis, the organization’s repetitive and dry use of professional

informational tweets hinders their ability to draw in their audience with their most used tweet

format. Considering that the informational tweet is the account’s most frequented category of

engagement and there is little to no adjustments made between different posts, there is little

motivation or desire created for their audience to engage with these published materials. This

weakness leads directly into another shortcoming of the organizations’ twitter account: aside

from the information being incredibly interesting, a fun video or picture, there is little variety or

creativity in the content creation via the Browns’ platform. With all of the materials and

intelligent minds at their disposal, the social media team cannot seem to create any form of

graphics or differing twitter content than real life pictures, videos, and the occasional gif. Even

when a gif is used, however, it is from the main gif keyboard all smartphone users have access to

or they use cookie-cutter gifs recycled for different players and games. In a digital age that

craves innovation and creativity to stand out from the mess, the Browns have yet to channel their

full imagination of what they could create for their team, fans, and audience. Once they

accomplish this, they can immediately boost their engagement across all posts, primarily their
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professional information posts. Along with these weaknesses, the Browns, like other sports

accounts, have a difficult time keeping their audiences engaged in games they are not performing

well in games. This is a struggle for all teams, but is something that they can try to change in the

future to benefit second screen users in a difficult game to watch. Finally, the main beat twitter

reporter for the Browns, Andrew Gribble, lacks entertainment and creativity in his tweets,

making it harder for fans to engage with his posts. Compared to a Tom Withers, who actively

engages with fans, players, and puts out entertaining content that is also informational, Andrew

Gribble uses his influencer abilities in a one-way communication form instead of maximizing the

two-way potential he has.

Considering the year the Browns are having, there are many opportunities the team’s

social media account has at its fingertips. The team could easily combine their strengths with

their weaknesses in order to create a product that will draw in their audience and outside support.

Creating photoshopped graphics and wallpapers of the team’s key players during off days and

even during games would set the team apart from other NFL teams and give players, coaches,

former players, and their fans content that they can promote when it is created and posted and

then continually use it into the future to show their support. For instance, creating an eye-

popping graphic of Baker Mayfield and posting it to the Brown’s twitter account allows for

Baker to hype it up and appreciate it over social media, thereby drawing more attention to the art.

Also, posting it allows for fans to save it to their photos, share it, or even use it as the wallpaper

for their phones, demonstrating full fanship for their favorite player in an artistically beautiful

form. This is easy to accomplish considering the star-studded cast the Browns have been graced

with. Utilizing the players’ personalities, interests, and skills will be something the social media

team continues to benefit from. Also, they have an opportunity to market the Browns
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organization in a new light. For many years, the Browns have been counted out or chalked up as

an easy win on the schedule, but now, with the media accounts help, the Browns can change that

dialogue, reenergizing their fans and surprising the league. Finally, the Browns have the

opportunity of expanding their followers and engaging more with their audience. Twitter has

become one of the largest social media platforms that allow for people to directly contact each

other no matter who they are and where they are. If the team can effectively utilize this valuable

resource with the assistance of their newfound name brand athletes, they can revolutionize how

teams use their twitter accounts and engage with fans while appealing to a very active fan base.

Another opportunity the Browns social media can maximize is their perception around

the league, particularly in the sports news media. The atmosphere has changed since the team

has won more than a few games, but the pregame, in-game and postgame graphics and

conversation on the major networks revolves around placing the Browns at the butt of every

joke. The networks will bring up statistics that put the team in the worst light no matter how

they are performing on the field and the conversations amongst national analysts in the television

breaks rarely cover the Browns as a threat to whomever they are playing, placing them more in a

sympathetic light than as an actual contender. While the team continues to perform well and

prove different personalities and teams wrong, Cleveland has a unique opportunity to hype up its

fan base while decrying the people who have doubted them. A video, graphic, photo, gif are all

ways the Browns can demonstrate that what is being said about them is not correlated to how

they are performing. This must be handled carefully, because the last thing the organization

wants to do is have to eat its words if tweets or posts do not age well. Nonetheless, sticking up

for their audience and fans by calling out those who once mocked them could energize their fan

base like nothing else could, propelling them into future games and seasons.
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The Cleveland Browns twitter account faces many of the same threats that other official

media accounts face. The team must be careful when players, coaches, staff administrators, or

any members of their organization make controversial or sometimes criminal decisions. The

social media team must create the proper reaction that can address the situation without drawing

more negative attention to the Cleveland Browns. In addition, the Browns must be willing to

defend their brand while avoiding discrediting themselves. As we discussed in class, there will

always be trolls for organizations to ignore or attack. There are times when a direct response is

encouraged and beneficial for the team, but there are also instances when an organization’s

reaction might add fuel to the troll’s fire and encourage others to take on the team in order to

receive a response and attention. Therefore, the Browns must be sure that they continually retain

their audience and audience perception. Avoiding posts that do not fit their voice, neglecting

attackers and only rarely responding in quick and accurate ways to loud, influential trolls is the

path the Browns need to continue to follow. A social media account could do a thousand things

right, but all it takes is one mistake for it to lose all credibility. Ensuring that they keep their

facts straight, portray accurate information, hold control over the content of their posts, and

maintain their voice, the Browns will be able to avoid threats that concern not only their account,

but all accounts across the internet.

Strategic Plan

My goal for this twitter content calendar is to increase engagement amongst our audience

by posting informational, entertaining, and interactive material in a creative and unique manner.

Due to the fact that the focus of the content calendar is on tweets that would be posted before the

Browns game against the Panthers, the information must be helpful for the fans. That assistance
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can come in the form of informing them of ways to get to the game, enjoy the game, or become

excited for the game among many other potential avenues.

My twitter vision statement is to draw the attention of and entertain an audience that

largely consists of men ranging in age from 18 to men in their 30s. Posting informational

content paired with hype videos, eye-catching graphics and other materials that the fans can then

use for themselves will help reinforce my overall goal for the Browns’ social media.

SMART Objective #1: Receive 10% more likes than the previous game day averages for

all pregame tweets posted before the Panthers game by Wednesday, December 5th. Tracking this

level of engagement will allow me to visualize if I am achieving my goal of overall greater

reception for the team’s posts by its audience.

SMART Objective #2: Receive 15% more likes than previous game day averages for

tweets categorized as professional informational and posted prior to the Panthers game by

Wednesday, December 5th. Due to the fact this is the most used category by the Browns

organization, I want this particular category and subcategory to improve its engagement. I

believe allowing three days for the tweets to spread and receive likes is enough time to allow

them to reach as many people as possible and therefore garner the maximum amount of likes

they can.
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Once all of the tweets have been published, I will wait approximately three days to ensure

that the posts receive the most amount of retweets and tweets that they could have received. I

decided on this time frame because this has typically been the timeframe we have been given in

the class when using the constructed week and also because in my own personal use of Twitter,

there have been very few instances when I have seen tweets that are more than two days old on

my timeline. Once the three-day period ends, I will categorize the tweets based on the Alabama

study of categories or tweak any categories if I decide they fall underneath a different association
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in a better way. Then, as we have done throughout the semester, I will track the times posted,

likes, replies, and retweets received for each tweet and record them into a sheet. Once all of the

tweets posted are categorized and recorded, then I will tally up the likes from each of the tweets,

sum them together, and divide them by the total amount of tweets. I will follow the same

process for just the professional informational tweets to find the average likes per tweet. Then I

will compare that to the averages for the two game days we covered over the course’s study.

Therefore, my objectives are to achieve an average of at least 233.52 likes per pregame

post for the overall twitter campaign and an average of at least 588 likes for every professional

informational post on the game day before the game begins. I believe likes are the best metric

for this study because it is the most consistent form of engagement users have with social media,

particularly in Twitter. Some posts receive more replies because they are controversial or

because they ask for responses. Similarly, heavily retweeted posts are often due to full forced

agreement or a call to retweet the posts. Therefore, in my view, the most common denominator

is the amount of likes a post receives, making it the best metric to average the posts’ efficiencies

out. In addition, I believe I will be able to achieve my goal due to the adjustments I made based

on my analysis of the Browns’ posting habits in prior instances. Changing the monotonous

format and sheer amount of professional informational tweets will catch the eyes of social media

scrollers in a new way. Continuing to utilize the key players and organizations the Browns

already use will be a way to effectively spread information and create a strong communal

atmosphere for the posts, right before the Browns embark on their business.
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