By Daniel Hunter

Research from RadiumOne reveals that Everton would top the Premier League if it were based on social media performance, with David Moyes’ new team, 2013 season champions, Manchester United dropping to third place.

Norwich City would finish as runners up in the title race, with Manchester United and Southampton taking the remaining Champions League places. Meanwhile, Sunderland would return to European football for the first time since the 70s in the Europa League.

The rankings were calculated by the number of stories shared about each team on popular sports news websites, combined with how effectively each club has been interacting with its fans in the run up to the start of the season this weekend. It shows that while Aston Villa and Manchester City are working hard to keep their fans up-to-date (making 337 and 287 posts on Facebook in just 30 days respectively) their fans aren’t engaging with the content — with both teams scoring poorly in the engagement categories they find themselves dangerously close to a relegation battle in the social media league.

Everton and Norwich’s social media league successes come from consistent performances across all areas. With dedicated followings, both teams managed to outgun much larger clubs — doing well in engaging their fans across multiple platforms, suggesting that the teams have some of the most loyal and vocal fans in the country.

Meanwhile, Premier League new boys, Crystal Palace punch well above their weight despite having the smallest following on social media. Palace has the most engaged Facebook audience in the Premier League, showing that passion can have a huge impact on a team’s social performance.

At the bottom of the table, Stoke City, Hull City Tigers and Swansea City would find themselves in the relegation positions as the least socially savvy teams in the league.

“David Moyes would be kicking himself if the social performance of teams decided their standings at the end of the season. Despite Manchester United having an enormous following, our research goes to show that, in social at least, size isn’t everything," Abeed Janmohamed, Commercial Director, RadiumOne, commented.

“The results tell us that the clubs that are doing the best are the ones who make the most out of the audience that they have, too much focus in recent years has been on ‘vanity metrics’, collecting as many followers and fans as possible, but in reality a more qualitative approach is the most effective way for brands to relate to their audiences rather than taking part in a simple popularity contest.

"What this shows, I think, is that the clubs that have spent decades cultivating a strong community of real football fans are best placed to take advantage of social media, with passionate fans actively engaging with their clubs. It might be possible to buy success on the pitch, but you can’t buy meaningful engagement.”

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