How Brands Can Ensure World Cup Success on Social Media

Social media has left its mark on almost every industry, and major sporting events are no exception. Marketers know that events like the Super Bowl and Olympics receive exceptional amounts of attention from fans across the globe. As such, with the World Cup officially underway today, it’s once again the perfect time for brands to leverage that attention and piggyback on one of the most popular sporting events in the world.

The World Cup 2014 is poised to be one of the most social sporting events ever. Spanning an entire month, the event’s social buzz might event surpass that of the Super Bowl and Olympics combined. In fact, 90 percent of the world has already mentioned the World Cup, compared with 84 percent for the Olympics and 78 percent for the Super Bowl.

Here are some suggestions on how you can find social success during the World Cup.

Plan Ahead, Be Flexible

World Cup South Africa

When it comes to live sporting events, it can be hard to pre-plan social content. But while timely and quick-witted messages can be a huge success, always make sure that your overall message is laid out in advance. Approach the World Cup just as you would with any other media campaign and consider all of the moments where it makes sense for your brand to join the conversation. That said, things can change rather quickly so make sure that your campaign is flexible and adaptable. You can keep your social team prepared for change by utilizing tools like Drafts in Sprout Social.

Two Screens Are Better Than One


For most sports fans, the World Cup will be a TV event and if you haven’t noticed, TV and social media go together quite well. In 2012, more than 80 percent of fans interacted with social sites while watching games on TV. In fact, eight of the biggest moments on Twitter in the UK in 2013 were sports related. Prepare your campaign with mobile in mind. On Twitter, for example, you can utilize tools like TV conversation targeting or keyword targeting to ensure that your tweet is triggered when people are watching.

Think Globally

The World Cup is an international event, meaning people from different cultures speaking dozens of different languages will be tuning in. This sporting event has the potential to be one of the most multilingual events in social media history. If you plan on reaching out to people across borders, make sure that you’re publishing regionally relevant content to create better experiences for local audiences.

Geo-targeting is something that you can do very easily with Sprout, as it’s built right into the Compose functionality. You can select one or multiple regions for each tweet you write before you publish. Thanks to Twitter’s API, each tweet will only appear to the followers in the country you’re reaching out to.

The World Cup ends on July 13th, and you can bet that fans will keep tabs on event-related social activity. Brands including McDonald’s, Adidas, and EA Sports have already launched campaigns for the World Cup. There’s no time like the present to get started on yours.

That said, you should never engage in a social media campaign just for the sake of participating. Integrating content to tie your brand into the conversation shouldn’t feel forced — and believe us, your followers can tell the difference. Before you publish a single tweet, photo, or status update, consider whether the content you’re sharing provides something of value for the audience.

Use the monitoring features in Sprout Social to track the existing conversation and determine the best times and ways you can get involved by responding to what people are already saying, not just interjecting your own idea of what the social conversation should be.

[Image credit: Celso Flores, Al Ibrahim]