Brazil 2014 World Cup – How to get your piece of the social media pie


With 300 million viewers tuning in just to watch the draw of the groups, the 2014 Brazil World Cup will be a true feast for fans and advertisers. Yes, big companies paying the big bucks will get the airtime during the most important games, but don’t worry, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone on and off the screen. Since the last World Cup in South Africa 4 years ago, smart mobile device penetration has increased dramatically (from 9% to almost 40%, with some markets like Brazil and Peru showing an increase in smartphone sales of over 90% in 2013), and considerably evened out the gap between the US- Europe markets, and those in many countries in Latin America and Asia, where soccer (football) is undoubtedly the biggest sport. Brazil 2014 will be the first – or at least the biggest - TV/Web/Social/Mobile sporting event on a truly global scale, with fans interacting with games in real time, and through multiple screens. “Fans are no longer mere spectators who just want to see what happens in the game. Their behavior has changed, and reacting to the action and the opinions of other fans through social media has become a vital part of the sporting event experience”, says Kelvin Loyola, Account Executive at Sport-specialized digital marketing agency, Sports Oh! Sports. “Opportunities for advertisers, athletes, and brands are no longer restricted to halftime commercials. In fact, brands that can truly understand the fans and have the ability to turn themselves into valuable assets to the conversation surrounding the event, stand to get more out of their investment than some of the companies paying for the most expensive TV slots, if they do it right.” From the development of Apps strictly for the World Cup, to the creation of targeted content and social media campaigns, everything should ideally be linked somehow to what will be the phenomenon of this world cup, Social TV. Far from being enemies that fight each other, the usage trend seems to be creating a scenario where TV will save social media, and social media will save TV. The way users are increasingly incorporating more complex, multi-platform interaction is making these two channels increasingly dependent on each other   The success of a tailored strategy is ultimately based on four pillars according to Loyola: Timing – There is no way around it, when it comes to advertising in a spontaneous, real-time environment, you have to be there and ready to recognize the right time to jump in. You can have different approaches as long as you follow these golden rules: 1-      Jump into conversations in real time. Joining a popular conversation is useless if it was “happening” two hours ago. 2-      Generate valuable contents for that moment and situation so others will share them. (Ex: Ellen’s selfie at the Academy Awards and all the derivatives it had) Technology - especially when trying to integrate a cross-platform audience, knowing your tech is key. Whether you will have to use it directly or not depends on your strategy. Take the time to do some research and see what outlets your target audience will be watching the games on, what related apps are popular in your target markets, and how you can use the tech features to your advantage. Be creative! Engagement – if all you are going to do is throw a selling line with the trending hashtag and hope the fans are going to love it, you’re in trouble. These fans are passionate about the game and meaningless attempts of self-promotion will likely generate a negative effect. Get into their state of mind and become a part of the community before attempting to promote your brand. It is essential to analyze your audience and what their mood will be to get an idea in advance of the contents that will work. Commitment – one of the keys for social media success, not just in sports, is to be truly committed to making the priceless connection that is going to make the fan associate you with the experience of doing things they love. Stay on top of what’s happening. Monitor trends by the minute and follow up. Always follow up! If users interact with your content and you don’t take action, you are not making the most out of your content and the hours of work behind it. The difference between following up or not may be having a popular conversation built around you, or having those valuable users moving on. You’ll get a SuperBowl every year, Champions League every year, Euros every 2 years, Olympic Games in a couple of years, and yes, you will have more World Cups, but they will not be in Brazil, the land of “Jogo Bonito” (beautiful play), and they will definitely not give you the opportunity to be a trendsetter that combines technology, audience knowledge, and creativity to make a killing in the first  World Cup 3.0. “The big winners of the social media game played on the sidelines will be those who are willing to innovate and become true players, among the spectators”, Loyola concludes.

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