Four years ago, two billion of us tuned into our TVs to watch the last World Cup in South Africa. Today, it's a different, and arguably more connected, story.
Internet use has increased by 53%. We've gone from 100 million active Twitter accounts in 2010 to more than 600 million today. And the number of Facebook users has vaulted from 300 million to 1.28 billion worldwide, with 1 billion active users on mobile devices too.
This year the drama of the World Cup is expected to dominate 60% of the Twitter conversation for a month, making it the most connected World Cup yet. So, how can brands make sure they're heard through the social media noise during the tournament and beyond?
It's one thing creating a really great piece of content. And it's another making sure it lands with your audience in the vast space of the social media world. The key? Spend time listening to consumers. Observe how they are interacting with your brand on social media and what they are saying about it.
Sony is doing this brilliantly by inviting all mobile users to share their conversations around the World Cup on a single platform - One Stadium Live. Integrating Twitter, Facebook and Google+, the mobile-first platform aims to be at the heart of how the world is feeling about the tournament and even has a 24 hour newsroom with up to the minute results and commentary.
It's not all about you
Social media channels are personal spaces - a digital extension of our personalities. Before hitting the go button on any kind of social media activity, brands need to ask themselves "would anyone care about this? Would anyone want to share this?" Coca Cola has tackled the issue by collaborating with a social media channel to promote its brand during the tournament.
In partnership with Tumblr, Coke has created an account on the channel dedicated to a countdown to the World Cup. The brand plans to use the channel to create a mosaic of fans' faces in the form of a flag that will be revealed at the opening match.
Create value outside your world
The best social media campaigns engage with people, rather than broadcast to them. Interaction is a key performance indicator for how consumers are receiving your brand virally, and the best way to make this happen is to step into their worlds. Go beyond the mind-set of just inviting consumers into your world and offer them something of value.
McDonald's is doing just that by replacing its iconic red carton french-fry packaging with World Cup themed street art designs that activate the 'McDonald's Gol' app through their phones. Customers are launched into an augmented reality scenario where they are challenged to score goals for their country and can share their results on social media too.
Not only is the brand bridging the gap between reality and the digital world, but also creating a space where people can interact with the brand beyond their usual world of fast food. The very best brands use social media to play an active role in our lives, making us want to spend more time interacting with them.
Quick you missed it
Big events are key opportunities for brands to interact with the world in real-time on social media channels. Last year it was all about Oreo's famous Super Bowl blackout tweet, which reacted to the action in real-time as it unfolded - its perfect timing racking up the retweets to over 10,000 in under an hour. And this year, Ellen DeGeneres and her Hollywood friends managed to crash Twitter with their Oscars selfie, retweeted more than 2.5 million times.
NASA also used the Oscars as an opportunity to engage, piggybacking on the success of Gravity to tweet clever facts and images about #RealGravity, getting more than 8100 retweets. The passion and support surrounding football means this year's World Cup is a prime opportunity for brands to spontaneously tap into real life moments and emotions. What will be the social media moment of the World Cup?
Social media is not just another channel to broadcast your brand message. It's a chance to emotionally connect with people and build advocacy. The backdrop of the most connected World Cup tournament yet is the perfect opportunity to creatively engage with people in real-time and ways relevant to them that, if right, will score the winning goal.
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