4 Tips to Expand Your Brand During the FIFA World Cup

(Originally posted in Memeburn)

Major world events like the World Cup are also major social media events.

Major world events like the World Cup are also major social media events.

1.73 billion — that’s how many people use social networks around the globe. And when consumers take an interest in major world events, those events become social as well.

With almost 1-billion viewers in 2010, the FIFA World Cup is the perfect opportunity for companies to break into the market of global social marketing campaigns in a cost-effective way.

But for some reason, many companies still seem hesitant to jump into the conversation.

Without experience in the global advertising market, the noise of hundreds of thousands of users on a given topic might seem confusing at first. But don’t let the noise distract you from the benefits.

It’s going to be tough, and it’s going to be noisy, but if your company wants to expand its reach internationally, the 2014 World Cup is the place to do it.

Start small to build big

It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. The trick is to start small and build big to create a digestible international marketing campaign. Here’s how to use your company’s assets to build a big online presence for the World Cup:

1. Dust off your brand personas
If you try to hit all your users with the same message in the same format, no one will respond. Social media is about personalised communication. Target the specific brand personas that work for your brand.

Who are they? What motivates them to click? Identify which of these personas are likely to follow soccer, and speak to them in a way that will resonate.

2. Hit them where they hang out
Forget CNN, Mashable, and the Huffington Post. For large events like the World Cup, top media outlets and publishers will be out of your budget.

Look to your brand personas to discover where your audience is likely to hang out online. Uncover those fringe networks of bloggers, sports pubs, or forums. These outlets will be far less expensive and much more eager to take your marketing dollars. For example, look at the unique media for @FIFAWorldCup:

Unique Media for @FIFAWorldCup include the sports blog Grantland.

Unique Media for @FIFAWorldCup include the sports blog Grantland.

This information reveals a key data point: your target persona who engages with FIFA reads the sports blog Grantland more than others. Using this approach for other Twitter handles can help you discover opportunities.

3. Take a risk with fine-tuned content
Personal interests drive social media user engagement. People only click links that speak to their interests — everything else is tuned out.

Once you’ve identified your prospective audience’s preferred media publishers and celebrities, join in with genuine conversation.

Don’t throw out context-less product or service offers. Use what you know to engage with users in news and updates about the World Cup in a way they’ll enjoy. Are your target users interested in topical discounts or thoughtful blog posts? Will they respond to calls to action or be repelled by them?

To make an impression, your content needs to take a calculated stand on topics that appeal to your target personas.

4. Expand beyond your followers
When you’re creating original content, don’t just focus on the followers you already have or you’ll miss out. There are probably people out there who’d be interested in reading or sharing your tweet but don’t follow you. Use pertinent hashtags to reach users by topic.

To focus your promotions, research popular hashtags and write to them. You may be surprised by what you find.

Use your audience's favorite hashtags to promote your content.

Use your audience’s favorite hashtags to promote your content.

In this example, #MUFC, or Manchester United Football Club, is the top hashtag used by FIFA’s most-engaged persona. Using this information, you can write content relevant to Manchester United or engage with #MUFC hashtags that have a tertiary interest in the World Cup.

Breaking into the global social media demographic with this year’s FIFA World Cup can help your brand reach a whole new audience. By approaching the small, personalized details with a sense of the larger picture, you can leverage this event to gain worldwide exposure.

Once you’ve tested this approach, you don’t have to stop there. Build marketing campaigns around the Olympics, Formula 1 racing, the Tour de France, and the Rugby World Cup. Each of these events attracts millions of viewers and will help your company dominate the Twitterverse.

How will your company leverage the World Cup to expand its brand?

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