3 Things We Learned from Olympic Social Media Engagement
It’s over. After 16 days, 962 Medals, 31 world records and over 150 million tweets, the Olympic games drew to a close last night. Even before it started, the games had been dubbed the social media Olympics and it lived up to that name with unprecedented levels of social media engagement over the two weeks.
So after the controversies, the records, the triumph and the despair, what did it all mean? Was it just two weeks of sporting achievement? Or was there more to it? For marketers, there’s a lot we can take from the social media engagement around the London games.
1. Second Screen can’t be ignored
If it wasn’t clear enough already, the Olympics once again demonstrated how important second screen is going to be for social media engagement. There were nearly 10 million Olympics related tweets per day during the games. The majority of these occurred during the biggest events, Usain Bolt’s victory in the 200m sprint for example, racked up 80,000 tweets per minute. The majority of these would have come from people watching the games on TV.
Second screen isn’t just a clever buzzword anymore; it’s a natural, every day occurrence. Getting your brand onto that second screen is a target every marketer will need to consider when planning their social media engagement.
2. Brand Awareness can be the Difference
There was an overwhelming level of advertising and brand promotion during the games, but we’ll come to actual business brands in a moment. Lets look at the other brands on show during the games, the athletes and their sports.
Usain Bolt was the most talked about athlete at the games, according to Twitter. No surprise considering he won gold in two of the most popular events. But there would be many who would argue that British athlete Mo Farah’s achievement of winning both the five and ten thousand metres, only the seventh man in history to do that, was up there with Bolt. Yet Bolt leads the table of most talked about athletes, while Mo Farah is nowhere to be seen. The difference is branding. Usain Bolt is an international brand, he’s heavily involved in his own promotion and social media engagement, so he was always likely to get more mentions.
3. Official Partners Vs. Unofficial Guerillas
One of the key talking points before the games were the incredibly strict rules imposed by the organizers to protect their official sponsors. These rules saw policemen eating chocolate bars out of clear plastic bags and a butcher’s Olympic rings shaped sausages removed from their window and suggestions that mobile phone’s used as mobile hotspots would be confiscated. It also meant the organizers got a lot of bad press, and provided an opportunity for rival brands to exploit.
Companies like Nike and Paddy Power didn’t just dodge the Olympic advertising rules, they actively used them to promote their own brands. Paddy Power continue their trend of guerilla marketing at big sporting events with a billboard inspired by a question on their Facebook page. Meanwhile Nike had some success with their ‘Find Your Greatness’ campaign generating plenty of media interest and social media engagement.
In the meantime, the official sponsors got to place billboards and got their ads into the official TV commercial breaks. But for the most part they faded into the background. The guerillas were the clear winners in social media engagement and sentiment.
It’s been an amazing 16 days of television, a great two weeks for sport and an unprecedented fortnight of social media engagement. The spectacular moments will live long in the memories of fans, while these social media lessons should live on for marketers too.
Social Media Today