Swimming club’s social media performance powering back up to pre-Covid levels


A peak of 640,000 Facebook engagements and 39,000 published posts were two key findings of Shunt’s six-year analysis of 365 swimming clubs around the country. Through 2020, engagement and productivity dipped substantially as was the case for most sports but early 2021 signs suggest this has not only stabilised but is now ramping back up to pre-Covid levels.

A six-year Shunt analysis of swimming clubs nationally has highlighted that the number of posts published are up 54%, while audience engagement climbed 21% as the performance of posts (an engagement to productivity ratio) also improved by a substantial 28% for the period encompassing the start of 2015 to the end of 2020.

Covid disruptions impact 2020

Strong, year-on-year increases in the number of posts published has been the order of the day for swimming clubs nationally as productivity improved by 18% in 2016 then 6% (2017), 2% (2018) and a further 14% in 2019. Totalling 38,600 in 2019, the sport was on-track for an even bigger result in 2020.   

Against an industry backdrop of a dramatic fall in post publishing equivalent to 21%, swimming clubs did relatively well with content publishing down 17% on 2019 levels. This represented a drop of 6,666 (spooky!) posts across the sport.  

Back to 2016

While the internal productivity systems and processes across swimming clubs steadily improved resulting in consistent output increases the outlook for audience engagement (total Facebook reactions, comments and shares) was even better.

2016 engagement levels were up a whopping 57% on the previous year, with 2017 posting a more modest return of 5% boost, then 15% in 2018 and another 22% the following year. 

As with each sport Shunt has assessed to date these results couldn’t be sustained through 2020 with total reactions, comments and shares falling from a 2019 high of over 639,150 to 430,750 last year – representing a 33% drop.

This is in line with the Shunt industry average of -35%.

Bumping along

The real test of how healthy and robust a sports social media presence is, is the performance of posts published. This simple ratio that divides total engagement by the number of posts is a key indicator of how efficient and effective they are.

When engagement growth far exceeds increasing productivity levels the net result is a near continual improvement in swimming club’s post performance from 2015 to ‘19.

With the average number of engagements per post increasing from 10.53 (2015) to 16.56 (2019) it suggests the sports clubland have become more and more efficient in how they manage their time on social media.

Unable to beat the disruptive effects of Covid in 2020, swimming clubs performance fell back to 13.49 representing a 18.5% drop, once again this was in-line with the Shunt grassroots clubland average of 18%.

Steady as she goes

As per other sports Shunt has analysed to date, the productivity profile of swimming clubs nationally reflected the realities of a year impacted by Covid lockdowns. 2020 started well with 3,687 posts in January then 3,976 (February) and 3,756 in March as Covid lockdowns took effect nationally.  

Content published dropped down to its lowest level for the year in June at 1,286 before starting a persistent climb back to near January levels (3,558) by October before holding steady into Christmas and on into the New Year.

Great way to see out a tough year

A recurring social media theme is that engagement typically tracks closely against productivity. As it relates to grassroots clubland at least, the golden rule is that the more you post the better the audience engagement response.

This seems to be the case for the most part with swimming clubs around the country.

The first quarter of 2020 started like it should with engagement tracking closely against productivity then as lockdowns came into effect and productivity plummeted so did engagement.

As productivity bottomed-out and began to climb from June onwards so too did Facebook engagement before levelling off in November and then having a major growth spurt in December.  

SGAC leads a trio of NSW swim centres

As at the end of February 2021, the Sydney Gymnastics and Aquatic Centre remains the only swimming organisation to have an audience in excess of 10,000. A few strokes behind is the Macquarie University Sport & Aquatic Centre then a lap further back again is the Katoomba RSL.

(2021) Canowindra quick off the block

The Canowindra Swimming Club have been quick off the block in 2021 already racking-up 145 posts through January and February.

(2020) St George crack 600 posts milestone

Publishing a post a day is an achievement, posting nearly twice a day (1.75) through a pandemic puts the St George Swim Club amongst an elite handful of the 8,000 plus clubs analysed by Shunt to date.

Looking down the Shunt Top-10, no less than five clubs achieved the 1-post-per-day threshold with the Cannonvale Cannons Club holding down second place with the UQ Swim club the only other organisations to better 500 posts for the year.   

(2021) Silver City chasing more gold

The Silver City Swim Club in Broken Hill have picked-up where the left-off in 2020 as the most engaging club in the country through January and February this year.

(2020) Silver City take gold

The Silver City Swim Club finished a disrupted 2020 several lengths ahead of their nearest competitor when it came to audience engagement. In all, the club attracted a little over 14,000 Facebook reactions, comments and shares in what is a stunning result.

Rounding out the top three is the UQ Swim club from Queensland (9,312) followed by the Macquarie University Sport & Aquatic Centre (8,250).

(2021) St Peters a performance powerhouse

Looking to February 2021, it’s the St Peters Western Swim Club in Queensland who have set an early benchmark for others to follow with more than 60 average engagements per post. Impressive!

(2020) St Peters pushing 90!

Shunt’s performance metric is all about striking the right balance between content quality and quantity with the St Peters Western Swim Club once again nabbing bragging rights as the highest performing club in the country at an average engagements per post of close to 90 (89.69).

Next-up was the Silver City Swim Club with a 57.30 average engagements per post followed by the Northcote Swim Club on 46.53 with the Nudgee College Swimming Club not far behind on 45.07.

Research notes;

365 Swimming clubs from around Australia with a Facebook page were analysed as part of this report. Results are for Facebook only. Annual data from January 2015 to December 2020 inclusive. 2020 results from January 1st to December 31st inclusive. 2021 results from January 1st to February 28th inclusive.  

Uncertain as to what 2021 has in store?
You’re not the only one! Throughout 2020, Shunt doubled-down on its work with our state and national sports clients to proactively expand their situational awareness. If you also want your ‘socials’ to deliver actionable insights that ensure you don’t just survive, but thrive then let’s chat. Get in touch at info@shunt.com.au



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