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Social Media Managers: The Real Winners of the World Cup

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I don’t know about you, but when a live event is going down (be it Bake Off, Game of Thrones or football), I cannot resist the urge to open Twitter and let the hilarity of sarcastic commentary, relevant GIFs and witty one-liners accompany my experience.

As well as being an entertaining side-dish to the main event – it makes you feel part of a wider community, all simultaneously experiencing the same thing, at the same time. As such, whilst watching the World Cup this summer, it was clear just how successfully some brands are capitalising on this online congregation of nicely defined target markets. Where else can you find an already actively engaged, pre-sorted target market group, ripe for communications audience – and an easy way to get your brand and message in front of them. According to a recent study by NeuroInsight, Twitter ads during live events are 11% more effective at stimulating mental engagement and 9% more effective at memory encoding than TV ads. Not only that, but people spend nearly 4% more time on Twitter during a live event than normal.

From BBC Earth’s Goal Polar bear GIF, and Paddy Power’s savage commentary, to Innocent Smoothies’ (as always) brilliant stream of reactions/consciousness – a number of brands have been on point with their social live tweeting of events this summer. So, what’s the key for brands to capitalise on this #trend (pun intended)? Here are a few thoughts for the next big event:

Before the Event

Identify what your target audience is watching and be there!

The most important aspect of live tweeting is to know your target audience, and what they’ll be watching/participating in. A great example of this is Yorkshire Tea – who came out with some brilliantly funny and on-brand live tweets during episodes of The Great British Bake Off – including puns, relevant tea-related information, and of course, prompts to put on the kettle during the ad breaks. With many of Yorkshire Tea’s #GBBO tweets accumulating significant engagement, they reinforced their positive and ‘down to earth’ brand image and got significant brand exposure in front of their target demographics.

Pre-prepare content where you can

While the essence of live tweeting is just that – live – there is plenty that can be prepared in advance to ensure content is still always high quality and on-brand. Using pre-made graphic templates, where photographs, GIFs or relevant live information can be slotted in to, ensures that content remains consistent and recognisable to your brand. After all, as the tweet is retweeted and shared externally, it needs to still be instantly familiar to audiences as coming from your brand. Equally, creating bespoke visual content, such as relevant illustrations in your brand style can be a great asset to have, to capitalise on the guaranteed audience, and is more likely to garner engagement when shared at opportune moments during the live event.

For companies with video content, why not have pre-prepared short reaction GIFs using your own content and brand image. A great example of this during the World Cup was from BBC Earth – who had prepped GIFs of wildlife from their productions, that could be used to respond humorously to live updates.

Do your research

It sounds like a given, but it’s very important to make sure you’re using the right hashtag. It can be a minefield, with some events gathering several different hashtags – so you need to make sure you’re using the official and most popular tags. Top tip – check the hashtag is spelt right, probably best to avoid another #WaistcoastWednesday fiasco (unless you are quick enough to turn it into a positive – like BBC Comedy’s #WaistcoastWednesday tweet – ‘Is spelling coming home at all?’).

During

Employ user-generated content wisely

It can be hard to find enough content to be consistent and high quality throughout a live event (especially when football matches go all the way to penalties!), so make sure you’re making the most of user-generated content. Retweeting is a good option, but make sure you always check out who you’re re-tweeting first, you need to know who you’re associating your brand with. Keep an eye out for questions directed at your brand and mentions of your handle, and make sure you can go back with informed information and an on-brand tone of voice.

Timing is everything

Don’t rush content out with potential mistakes, but make sure you don’t lag behind the event either, you don’t want to be old news. Pre-prepared content you have put together will make sure that you maintain a level of quality when you’re in a hurry to respond, and ensure you keep visuals in-line with your brand image. Of course, try to avoid anything that might be a major spoiler if followers may be watching it later.

After

Make the most of the assets post-event.

This is a trick that a lot of brands miss out on – just because the event is over, it doesn’t mean your content and hard work is now invalid. After an event has finished there will be an inevitable spike on search requests for the event for those catching up and looking for an overview. Aggregating your content created for the event, along with any user-generated content (tweets, competition submissions, funny replies etc.) is a great way to put your brand in front of further audiences and increase traffic to your website. Plus, it gives you relevant content on your website/blog, keeping up your brand’s status as being current and on the ball.

There you have it – some top tips to help your brand make the most of live events. Keep your audience entertained whilst being authentic to your brand voice, and you’ll see positive results in engagement and brand loyalty. Happy tweeting!