How to Win Over Sports Fans with Social Media Activations

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Social media plays an increasingly important role uniting the audiences of live broadcast sporting events that may be viewed on everything from a giant LED screen to a smartphone, desktop, or tablet. This can create a headache for brands that want to reach that audience since each platform handles commercials differently. The single unifying factor is social media.

Moreover, social media presents great opportunities for brands to join in on the excitement of sports events without being sponsors or buying TV spots during broadcasts. The organizers of Wimbledon understood this early and became the first UK tournament to incorporate Snapchat’s Live Stories and Twitter Live Streaming into its wider marketing strategy last year. Similarly, the PGA Tour opted to livestream matches to global audiences on Twitter and Facebook Live. This year, the NBA’s dedicated website, Pulse, ranks trending players by real-time Twitter activity — a feature that is sure to be buzzing around the tournament finals in June.

Here are some ideas on how to best leverage social media around live sports:

Split budgets between platforms in order to connect with users in various situations. Allocate 80% to those where your brand has historically performed well and save the remaining 20% for testing new channels to reach fans in different settings.

Start by mapping out your audience and move on to identifying the channels on which they are the most active. Snapchat can be good for serving brand-building and humorous content to millennial sport enthusiasts, whereas Twitter is where those following the events turn for real-time commentary and updates.

Make sure to tell a consistent brand story across screens. 69% of Twitter users admit to using social media while watching TV, enabling marketers to join in on real-time conversations about the competitions as they unfold. Use Twitter TV targeting to promote tweets to users that are already engaged with matches on television.

Sports tournaments are often about more than the actual competitions, as many fans expand on the events with viewing parties and other festivities. For example, Snapchat’s exclusive Live Wimbledon series makes the platform an excellent choice for serving tennis-related ads between users’ Stories to capitalize on the excitement surrounding matches.

Experiment with ads in Instagram Stories in order to connect with users in an authentic, less-curated way. Many fans will use this feature to share in-the-moment snapshots of their own viewing parties so ads of related products sit naturally within the native look and feel of the feed.

Use a combination of interest and keyword targeting on Pinterest as a way to reach sports fans gearing up for the action. This is where users turn to explore new ideas and gather inspiration for parties, making it an excellent platform to showcase relevant items.

Be spontaneous yet strategic

A significant part of sporting events is the unpredictability. While it is important for advertisers to connect with users in real-time, a pre-planned strategy is just as vital for driving real paid social success.

Run ads on Facebook for a few days leading up to the tournaments, switching assets often in order to stave off saturation. Once the competitions begin, use Custom Audiences to re-engage with users who have watched your pre-phase content and encourage them to tune in to the ads you will be serving during the events.

Use Twitter event targeting to focus your activity around wider topics and narrow down on particular conversations as they unfold. This allows you to connect not only with users who are actively tweeting about the tournaments, but also with those who are simply viewing content.

Focus on the bigger picture

Sports competitions allow brands to engage fans and drive sales of related products, but the true return on investment is often a longstanding game.

Extend your strategy to enhance relevancy after tournaments end. 93% of users turn to Pinterest to plan future purchases, so use the platform to reach consumers in the early stages of the funnel.

Ad formats like Facebook and Instagram Carousels will allow you to drive site traffic, build awareness for brand offerings by showcasing various products or stories, and engage customers in the long-run.

Lastly, be sure to tap into Snap Lifestyle Categories to target additional specific sports-related interests such as running, fitness, and more. By taking a longer-term approach, you are sure to keep the momentum going for your brand long after the tournaments have ended.

The original post can be found on MarTech Advisor.