Social Media Marketing Lessons From FIFA World Cup

Consider the following numbers:

  • Over 1 billion people engaged with World Cup content through FIFA’s website, social media accounts and mobile app
  • There were 672 million tweets relating to the 2014 World Cup as per twitter
  • On Facebook 350 million people posted more than 3 billion interactions (posts, comments, and likes) related to the games

FIFA world cup has been one of the biggest events ever on social media and brands were vying with each other to utilize this opportunity. Some succeeded, a lot failed. There are some key lessons marketers could derive out of this:

Generate creative and relevant content

An enormous amount of information was available across all social media channels every second of the tournament. FIFA had a field day trying to enforce copyright related penalties. Just posting video and pictures isn’t the best way to go. Create original relevant content that will help you stand out. A brand that managed to do this perfectly is Google. Their daily doodles on the site homepage were relevant, creative and managed to draw a lot of attention.

 Social Media Marketing Lessons From World Cup

Have a marketing plan in place to react real time

Companies should develop their social media strategy long before the event with a good deal of emphasis on real time reactions. The reason why social media exists in the first place is because of the need felt by people to share experiences as they happen. Real time interactions help your brand build an immediate connection with fans along with emphasizing your brand personality.

As an example consider one of the most controversial events of the world cup. Luis Suarez bit Italy’s Chiellini. Brands with good emphasis on real time marketing were able to leverage it brilliantly. Snickers posted the following around 7 minutes after the incident.

Social Media Marketing Lessons From World Cup

Now consider this from MoyParkChicken.

Social Media Marketing Lessons From the FIFA World Cup

No wonder MoyParkChicken was one of the most positively received brands throughout the world cup with over 31% of all brand mentions showing positive intent. The company tweeted in real time intermingling happenings on field with its products.

Celebrities do matter

HootSuite found that out of the out of the five most re-tweeted posts only one was for a brand. The rest were tweets from Rihanna and Tim Howard along with a regarding the Empire State Building. Having a celebrity tweet for you can help you leverage your brand further during such events.

Social Media Marketing Lessons From the FIFA World Cup

On a side note the one brand which managed to shine out (as mentioned above) was Specsavers and guess their tweet.

Social Media Marketing Lessons From the FIFA World Cup

Listen to your fans

Guess which was the best day for Adidas, social media wise? It was the official sponsor of the cup and had spent a lot on its SMM efforts. However their most interactive day was 27 June when they announced the removing of their advert of Luis Suarez from a nearby beach. Queues of people had formed around it to take pictures with the image pretending to have been bit by Suarez.

Social Media Marketing Lessons From the FIFA World Cup

Further consider the opportunity given to Brazilian fans to name the official ball.  Brazuca was the crowd selected name and it lead to an awesome twitter account with over 3 million followers!

Social Media Marketing Lessons From the FIFA World Cup

Leverage the momentum

The world cup might have ended but brands can leverage the momentum gained as a result of it. So how do you do it? Consider what Orlando City Football Club has done. They recently acquired a superstar of yesterday’s Kaka for the current season. They have now launched a social media campaign using the hashtag #KomingSoon

Social Media Marketing Lessons From the FIFA World Cup

Paid advertising still works

Which was the most talked about brand during the world cup? It was McDonald’s with over 2.8 million mentions! So what did they do? They created brilliant content in the form of videos that involved enactment of key match moments using chips. The reason their content was able to reach a huge audience was they ran paid campaigns for each of their videos across Facebook and Twitter.

Social Media Marketing Lessons From the FIFA World Cup

Focus on a few key channels

Consider this article; we have focused predominantly on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for our analysis. Why so? Because these were the three most utilized social media channels during the world cup. Remember content produced on wrong platforms will never create the expected impact. Thus there was no point for a brand wasting valuable resources posting content on Pinterest. There was no traction. In fact a recent study found that most people either used Facebook or Twitter while watching TV!

Social media and the world cup 

  • The biggest sporting event ever for Facebook was the final game of the 2014 FIFA world cup. 88 million people had over 280 million interactions.
  • For twitter the biggest ever sporting event was not the final! It was the Brazil – Germany semi final game which had more than 35 million tweets.


Key Question

Why wasn’t the same match most popular on both the leading social media networks?

So what about players?

Well according to consolidated reports the most mentioned player on social media was Neymar. Next was Lionel Messi. The third position is where things get interesting. On twitter the third place went to Luis Suarez and on Facebook it belonged to Cristiano Ronaldo.

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