By: Ellen Barnes
Unless you actually live under a rock, you simply can’t escape the World Cup. According to Media Bistro, 3.6 billion people are expected to watch the global sporting event this year— around half of the world.
As a generation who enjoys posting everything we do onto social media, this massive number of viewers is also bringing an enormous uptick to social media. In the United States vs. Ghana game alone, there were 4.9 million tweets— that’s over 54,000 tweets a minute for a 90-minute game.
Adobe even claims that the World Cup has made bigger social media waves around the world than both the 2014 Super Bowl and the Sochi Olympics. Soccer fan or not, unless you opt for deactivating all social media accounts until July 13th, you can’t hide.
Facebook estimates that 500 million of its 1.28 billion users, or 40%, are soccer fans. Adobe also found that “59% of the social buzz for World Cup relates to Admiration, Joy, or Anticipation for the event.”
With all of this soccer ball-filled joy in the air, many companies are taking advantage of the World Cup’s social hype by upping their marketing game. One of the most notable marketing showdowns is Adidas’ “All in or Nothing” campaign versus Nike’s “Risk Everything” effort.
Even if your company isn’t as big as Adidas or Nike, there are ways that you can (and should) be taking advantage of this rise in social media to boost your own business. Here are seven ways you can kick up your winning World Cup marketing strategy.
1. All Hail the Hashtag
Brand consistency is everything, and branded hashtags are a great promotional tool. Utilize a World Cup themed hashtag that people will remember, and stick to it. Examples of this include Marriott’s #TravelVictories (where you can play games such as the “Penalty Kick Challenge” to win prizes) and Listerine’s #PowerToYourMouth, which has gained a large popularity partly due to the amusing irony of Uruguay’s Luis Suarez’s biting incident with Italian player Giorgio Chiellini. In addition to a branded hashtag, it’s also smart to add the game’s hashtag (“#GHAvUSA”, for instance) for each game you post about. Use these hashtags across all social media platforms for best results.
2. Make a Schedule and Stay Committed
It’s hard to keep viewers interested in your marketing campaign during the World Cup if you post infrequently or sporadically. It’s important to keep a consistent posting schedule, and the World Cup calls for temporarily upping the frequency of posting. The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola, for example, has been posting several times each day with engaging content and photos. A good rule of thumb is to post about at least one game each day.
3. Do Well on a Few Platforms
Since Facebook and Twitter have the most users (Twitter seems to be the most popular for the World Cup), it’s best to focus on these two platforms as a base. Wait until you’re comfortable with these before moving onto other platforms.
4. Track Your Data
You won’t know the success of your social media marketing efforts unless you take the time to actually track the data. Services like SumAll allow you to easily keep track of site traffic from social media, social media conversations about your brand, and most importantly, sales. This would be especially useful during the World Cup if you sell sports or soccer-related products, such as jerseys, spirit wear, cleats, and so on.
5. Make Games
Consider creating a fun, interactive World Cup game users can participate in, and offer actual prizes to the winners. Interaction, personalization and rewards both go a long way for customer loyalty. One of the most successful examples of this is the New York Times’ Spot the Ball, in which action shots from each game are compiled and the actual soccer ball removed from the photo. The player must then guess where they think the ball was. People love feeling engaged and are likely to better remember your brand because of it.
6. Be Unique and Shareworthy
Users appreciate informative content that they can share with others, and they’re more likely to remember your brand if they actually enjoy and learn something from your content. The World Cup is a great time to try out the concept of newsjacking, or boosting marketing efforts to cater to newsworthy events and taking advantage of their popularity.
Since essentially every World Cup occurrence is newsworthy, this is a prime time to test this tactic. It’s a good idea to have a member of your marketing team always on the lookout for the most newsworthy events in the World Cup, such as Suarez’s bite mentioned above, so that you can feed off your audience’s present interest in the subject and have a faster turnaround than your competitors. Companies such as Pagemodo offer social media post designing services if creating visually appealing posts isn’t your forte.
7. Stay Positive
Focus on staying positive in all your World Cup-related posts, because people can be easily turned off by rude and negative sports-related comments. Avoid bashing teams that don’t do well, and don’t make any negative comments about any one country in particular, unless you want to anger a large potential customer base. Royal Dutch Airlines’ offensive tweet about Mexico’s loss to the Netherlands was a perfect example of what not to do.
No matter what your company sells, you’d be smart to take advantage of the World Cup’s heightened online presence by getting in the social media game.
Meet Guest: Ellen Barnes
Ellen Barnes is a journalist, communication specialist, and Atlanta native with more than five years of writing experience, both for magazines and blogs. She has a bachelor’s of arts in journalism and a bachelor’s of science in psychology from the University of Georgia, and has been published in Atlanta Magazine and Music Row Magazine in Nashville. This article was prepared for SumAll.
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