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What did you learn from the Sochi games?

According to Salon, viewership of the Sochi Olympics was down over 10% versus the 2010 games record setting performance. While it may not have been as big a hit as other events (the Super Bowl continues to set viewership records year after year), that does not mean that there was nothing to learn for marketers and social media experts.

On March 6th, Visible Senior Consultant and social media expert Cathy Buena, hosted a webcast that looked at the games through social media’s collective lens. After researching posts from all the large social media outlets and analyzing the underlying trends supporting the key topics from the games, she identified the following learnings that every marketer and social media practitioner should consider:

  1. Bold moves the needle
  2. Personas trump entities
  3. Promos are an enduring strategy
  4. Contrived associations –> fluff
  5. Omission is a sin

While at first glance they may not be surprising, we ran a poll at the beginning of the event that gave us some insight into how the attendees viewed the games. Specifically, we asked, “Why did you tune in to watch the games?”

  • The sports: To know about the medal counts, who was favored, and the performance of the athletes.
  • The personalities: Why we should all be pulling for someone, and what is their story.
  • The site: The focus it put on Russia, the people and the politics.
  • I did not watch the Olympics and have no opinion, but I think there is something I can learn from them.

And the winner was…

1

Now, the interesting thing here is that the results did not align to Cathy’s finding about what drove social media engagement. Cathy determined that it was really the people (the personas) that drove social media engagement. For example, the American skating duo of Davis and White generated three times the social volume as did the skating event on its own. I think the lesson here is that marketers should not assume that the reason they tune into something is also the reason that others tune in or decide to engage on social media. If your goal is to create passion like that for the Olympics, consider the persona, not the entity.

In another poll, we asked the attendees, “How often do you run promotions in your social media campaigns?” and gave the following options:

  • We have not run a promotion as part of our social media strategy.
  • We run approximately 1-2 social promos a year.
  • We run approximately 1-2 social promos a quarter.
  • We run monthly (or more frequently) promotions on social media.

And the winner is……..

2

The even distribution says something about the kind of people that come to our webcasts – they are more sophisticated than the overall market. In our experience, we see less than 10% running promotions in social media campaigns on a monthly basis and about the same amount running them on a quarterly basis (for a total of less than 20%) . In comparison, 53% of the attendees run social promos at least quarterly.

Cathy’s research showed that promotions are key if your goal is to create enduring engagement and social media reach. Cathy dove deep into an example; P&Gs “Thank You Mom” campaign, one of the most popular of the Olympics, amplified their retweets by over 34 times when a promotion was associated with the message.

Sochi may not have generated the numbers that NBC hoped for, but the social media learnings from these Olympics deserve a gold medal!

Tags : social media

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