(WFI) Arsenal’s social media push is reaping benefits. Not only have the north London club become the first UK football team to reach three million followers on Twitter, but they also boast the fifth largest Twitter following of any sports team internationally.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, @Arsenal, the Gunners’ official account launched in 2009, had 3,016,085 followers. The account attracts almost half a million retweets and a further 250,000 mentions of the @Arsenal profile every month.

Chelsea is the second most followed UK and Premier League club on Twitter with 2,979,148. Liverpool’s official feed boasts 2,090,177 followers.

Premier League champions Manchester United only launched their official twitter account in the summer and currently languish behind with 1,309,532 followers. But the site is gaining hundreds of new followers every day.

Arsenal’s north London rivals are well behind in the social media stakes with only 690,830 followers. Manchester City’s Twitter account had 1,278,962 at the last look.

Arsenal’s 3 million-plus followers give it’s the fifth largest Twitter following of any football club or sports team in the world.
But it is dwarfed by Barcelona, whose English Twitter feed had 10,459,544 followers on Tuesday morning at 10.30am CET.

It’s Spanish language version had 5,621,239 at the last count.

Real Madrid also have over 9 million Twitter followers to their Spanish language account, with the English version attracting nearly 2,750,000.

After @FCBarcelona, @RealMadrid, the LA Lakers of the NBA have the next largest Twitter following – @Lakers has 3,449,172 as of Tuesday morning CET. Turkish footballing giants Galatasaray are also big on Twitter with @GalatasaraySK having 3,243,681.

Over the course of the past year, the Gunners have opened local language accounts in Spanish, Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesia) and Vietnamese, and a specific account for fans in the USA , which the club says is “designed to build a closer level of engagement with its supporters in those regions”.

The club has actually gained one million followers in less than 12 months, thanks to a range of innovative campaigns and promotions.

One of the most popular is the regular ‘Twitter Takeover’, which sees members of the first team squad conduct live online question and answer sessions with supporters, using a dedicated player hashtag which regularly trends as the number one topic worldwide – sometimes occupying numerous places in the Top 5.

Managing Editor of the Arsenal Media Group Richard Clarke said: “It is immensely satisfying to become the first Barclays Premier League to reach three million Twitter followers.

“We are working harder than ever to engage with the Club’s fans on social media and they seem to have responded positively to what we are doing. We are putting up more pictures, graphics and audio while most major interviews have a social media element. We’ll be looking to innovate further in the months ahead.”

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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