Four years ago in Beijing, there was no question that social media had its place. But in just four years time, the number of Facebook users has skyrocketed from 100 million to more than 800 million and the number of Twitter users has seen an increased from 6 million to 140 million. These statistics alone should be enough to make you raise an eyebrow at the thought of the role social media will be playing in this year’s games, but they don’t even begin to to tell the story of how. Keep reading for a glimpse at the driving forces behind social media and the Olympics and what we can take away from them.
People matter, not brands.
What matters when it comes to social media is exactly what it sounds like--being social. While you can try to make some big entity like the Olympic Games a social being in itself, it would never have the momentum that it does without the people that surround it. From the athletes competing to the youngsters who dream of the day they will bear their nation’s flag and from the fans in the stands to those of us who watch the games from the comfort of our own homes, we all have something to say about the occasion.
What makes the Olympics such a socially charged event is ultimately the fact that it brings the people of the world together for a unified cause. So often in social media, we hide behind our brand, hoping it will make a name for itself. But the Olympics are here to teach us that if you want to create a brand that people are genuinely interested in connecting with, it’s up to you to be the face of it, not the other way around.
The importance of geo-targeting & local marketing.
When it comes to the Olympic Games, it’s true that the world becomes one in a global event. However, each of us belong to a distinct piece of that pie, a team that we will stand by through triumph and defeat--our nation. And leave it to the big brands and Olympic partners such as Visa and Proctor & Gamble to take advantage of us for it. Log onto Facebook and checkout the Visa page. You might see a post about Michael Phelps or some news on the USA’s beach volleyball team. If you take a hike to Canada and visit that same page, you’d see a completely different set of posts, this time highlighting the Canadian Olympic team.
All of this is possible through Facebook’s new geo-targeting feature. Did you know you can tell Facebook to show certain posts to specific groups of people? Try adding a post to your brand’s Facebook page, but before you hit submit, click on the button that says “Public.” You will then see a dropdown where you can opt to target your post by language or location. As social media continues to expand, your clients and customers are coming to expect personalized experiences with your brand. The resources to deliver that are here; it’s up to you to leverage their power.
Mobile is the future
We used to be satisfied with a wrap-up of the day’s events courtesy of the evening news headlines, but that was before the days of the to-the-minute news discussions that have made Twitter famous. When it comes to the Olympics, it only takes a second for goals to be realized or dreams to be crushed. In a social media world, we have come to demand that news from the moment it happens, no matter where we are. Fortunately, NBC has responded to these demands with a set of media tailored specifically to mobile devices. From mobile formatted web pages to live streaming mobile and tablet applications, NBC has created the channels through which we will be consuming, sharing, and discussing all that happens at the games.
This emphasis on mobile technologies highlights the importance of accessing customers and prospects where they are and making your brand available to them. Not only has NBC provided immediate access to what’s happening in London, but they have also made themselves an integral piece in the distribution of that content across the social media outlets that we occupy.