The 2014 World Cup is making headlines for a variety of reasons; from the awe and the spectacle that a global sporting event creates to the support from the fans, the World Cup in Brazil is as hot as Brazil’s climate itself. It’s also a very important World Cup due to the fact that it’s the first one to take place in a world where social media and mobile phone usage is as important to the World Cup viewing experience as the players on the pitch themselves. For sports fans all around, it’s a truly great time but for marketers the next four weeks are positively pregnant with opportunity to get the word out about your brand – if you do it right.
While recent sporting events (such as the Champions League final) have produced more tweets than the entirety of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a statistic that Twitter isn’t likely to compare to the past, what the social media company is keen to tout and bring back is its ‘hashflags’. Each of the 36 countries at the World Cup have designated country codes (#ENG for England, #BRA for Brazil and #GER for Germany etc.) and including these in a tweet will not just put it into the search results for that hashtag but it will also bring up the corresponding flag next to it! Not only will that show potential consumers your World Cup spirit but it also adds a little illustration to break up the large blocks of text that we are sometimes faced with on our feeds. Hashflags don’t show up in embedded tweets though, so you might want to keep that in mind.
There are 36 countries from a variety of continents, each with their different dialects and traditions and so each must be marketed to differently. If you’re an international business there are so many opportunities for you with the correct use of Social Media. Languages and the make up of teach update is especially key, for example, a match between the USA and England doesn’t always dictate that your tweets must be in English as there are large populations of Spanish and German speakers within those countries and it’s important that you do your research ahead of time in order to cast a wider net. Furthermore, the word for football in these countries is different so while tweeting about ‘football’ in English is going to make technical sense, for consumers in the USA and Australia this term refers to a totally different sport, so depending on who you’re targeting make sure to know whether to use, soccer, futbol and so on too.
3. Real Time
In 2010, as explained, people weren’t so smartphone savvy. So smartphone un-savvy were 2010 World Cup viewers that most of them wouldn’t bother to search for something in the middle of a game if it meant that they had to tear themselves away from the big screen. As a result, all of the money that advertisers spent on advertising during the games went to waste because it wouldn’t be viewed until after the game where everybody suddenly flocked online to search for the things that had been bothering them for 90 minutes. It also meant that there was a very small window for marketers to vie for time in but now, in this era of heavy smartphone usage you’ll need to accommodate their new smarts. This includes when they take bathroom breaks – injury time, extra time, half time – any pause in a game must be accounted for, preferably in real time in order to get the best results on when they’ll see your tweets or Facebook posts. Our audience are amazing at multi-tasking when it comes to social media, so never assume they’ll be engrossed in the game for the whole 90 minutes!
4. Passion and Humour
The time isn’t the only thing that needs to be considered as the actual message of the marketing is just as important. Sports brand Adidas may be the official sponsor of the World Cup (they supply the official balls, for instance) but Nike is a big player too despite not being an official sponsor, with their animated shorts (in which real life players take on their clones and inject passion back into the game) garnering over 60 million views in just two days online. Humour has also proved to be effective with even the average Joe getting thousands of retweets on aptly timed japes at a player’s expense. That’s how people can take initial interest but as with anything, you won’t want to offend, so take an apt amount of caution in your stride, unless you’re going for controversy of course!
5. On Message
Speaking of sports brands; they have a huge advantage on their side in that when it comes to sporting events, they are always on message. If your company’s services are, for example, ones that offer house insurance then you’ll have a harder time marketing appropriately. However, a bit of creative thinking and you can suddenly say ‘out for the evening watching the World Cup? Make sure your home is protected while you’re out enjoying yourself’ to make it appropriate. Even if you can’t implement a hilarious or passionate marketing effort, staying on message is the best way after that to achieve promotional success.