With one of the biggest social events of the year currently underway in the form of the European football championships, it’s the perfect opportunity to get your brand involved with the big event and build a buzz around your social media accounts. While it can be tempting to jump right in and broadcast your support for the national team, there are a few things to consider if you want to make a success of focusing your social posts around a large event.
Here’s how to take advantage of large events with social media marketing:
React in Real Time
Of course, large events are usually fluid and changing minute by minute. So make sure that you are ready and willing to respond to events as they happen. In this sense, there’s only a certain amount of planning you can do when reacting to big events. The trick to success is often being able to respond on the fly, while still keeping your posts engaging and coherent.
You could try planning for the possible eventualities beforehand, depending on the event. For example, if you are responding to a football match, there are only 3 possible outcomes, so prepare social posts for all three and publish whichever is relevant. While it’s easy to put together post copy on the fly, sourcing or producing artwork in advance is important for encouraging users to engage with your posts.
The most effective campaigns, however, often respond well to those unexpected events. This tweet from Oreo is the perfect example, posted during a blackout at the Superbowl a few years ago, it quickly gained over 15,000 re-tweets.
Stay True to Your Brand
You’ve spent a lot of time building up a brand that really resonates with your target market, so make sure that any events you get involved with match your brand values and ethos as closely as possible. The more of a stretch it seems to relate your brand to the event you are taking advantage of, the more forced it will look to your followers. You want to make sure that any posts you make seem organic and in keeping with your brand.
This post from Nissan in response to the birth of the royal baby really seems a bit of a stretch and doesn’t fit their brand at all.
You also want to make sure that anything you do doesn’t detract from your existing brand image and that it doesn’t in any way alienate your existing customers. Your customers will have grown to expect certain content from your social media accounts, so don’t go overboard and forgo your usual content completely. Think of using events as being something that complements your existing social activity rather than replaces it.
Another key to making sure that your posts don’t appear forced is being creative. You don’t want to look like you are simply taking advantage of the event for social attention. You want to provide something that your followers see as engaging, and gets across your shared passion and enjoyment for the event, rather than being exploitative.
Think of a unique angle that relates to your business. For example, if you run a coffee shop, offering a special edition, event-themed drink to your customers and promoting it on social media offers something interesting and fun to your customers that also fits with your brand and creates a sense of shared engagement in the event.
This example of a campaign from Iceland Foods being run during the European Football Championships is a great example of finding a unique angle that really stands out amongst the huge crowd of social traffic that is bound to surround a large event. Iceland have attached themselves to the Iceland football team, following their journey through the tournament and using each match as an opportunity to promote their brand in a humorous and engaging way, that also encourages interaction and sharing.
You’ll want to get involved in the conversion surrounding a big event. As with anything else, the best way to do this is through hashtags. Look up hashtags before the event. Large events will usually have official ones in use, such as #Euro2016. Make a note of these, ready to use them during the event.
Some other hashtags may evolve or come into use more organically during the event, so keep a look out for what’s trending and work these into your posts as well, to ensure that you keep on top of the most popular hashtags and make your posts accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
Don’t be afraid to interact with your followers and the wider conversation as well. Just so long as you remain professional and on brand with your comments. Users want to see a human voice behind your social media accounts.
Think about the Event's Target Market
Finally, when posting on your social media accounts, you need to have the target market of the event in mind as well as your own. Think about who is likely to be looking for posts related to that particular event and what tone and posts content would they be looking for from your posts. Would they be interested in your posts at all? If not, the event may not be a good fit for your brand.
For example, the above tweet from Gillette is aimed towards the sense of national pride surrounding the Olympic games in London back in 2012. It makes sure to set the right tone and get behind the athletes.
Events are a great opportunity for any business to boost their following and reach on social media. So long as you think about your brand’s target audience and how interacting with an event fits with this existing market, you can create campaigns that increase interaction among your existing followers, as well as attracting new ones.
Have you been getting involved with the European Championships on social media? Or have you gotten involved with other events in the past? Get in touch with us on or and let us know.