The Digital Collide: #Sochi Social: Lessons to Learn from Digital Strategy at the 2014 Winter Olympics

Posted on February 07, 2014 | Karen Moores | 0 Comments

The digital and social media world moves tremendously fast – definitely faster than the four year cycle of a Winter Olympics.

New applications and layers are added to the most powerful and potentially most impactful emerging digital marketing tools all the time, especially as Twitter for Business, Pinterest for Business and new Facebook options for business customers are made available to Canadians.

This Olympic Games will include many firsts for athletes, consumers, marketers and brands combined. There are strategy lessons to be learned, for brands and business anywhere in Canada, including at home in Atlantic Canada.

The Olympics is a chance to watch global brands, the world’s athletes (we’ll be cheering for the Canadians, of course) and social media tools interplay – this will be one of the most ‘live’ games from a social media perspective, ever. While the Sochi Games are a chance to watch your favourite athletes and wave your Canadian flag, they are also a chance to see the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of Olympic social and digital marketing campaigns.

Social media has changed much of the marketing landscape and corporate sponsorship is part of that aspect. (I recently read a sales deck for a sponsorship strategy that included, ‘Rights to live tweet event as it unfolds with Chairman in your visitor’s box!’ as a major selling feature of the package.)

Promoted pins, tweets and boosted Facebook posts will abound with messaging for big brands, government, athletes and more – the days of waiting for the commercials during Gold Medal Hockey Games or the Women’s Figure Skating final are over.

We’ve cultivated this helpful list of who to watch, follow and what to hashtag in the days and weeks ahead as Olympic marketing enters a fully 24/7 live experience that thrives on the power of the connection.

Brands to Watch:

They may be some of the biggest brands in Canada but small – midsize business of all kinds can draw lessons from the topical curation of these companies,

Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company has been active in pinning images via Pinterest of the Canadian stripes in the lead up to the games and taking advantage of their mitten campaign with e-commerce strategy abound in the weeks since Christmas.

Coca Cola is as part of the Olympics as those 5 rings – watch for their old-school television ads, promoted tweets and nostalgia infused Pinterest pages beginning right about now.

Media and Social Media Leaders to Follow:

@kirstinestewart, the Managing Director of Twittter Canada. Her frequent tweets show the live, as-it-happens power of Twitter with visuals and commentary. (Plus who else knows Twitter well – take notes.)

@MonikaPlatek, the Social Media lead for @CBCOlympics, @CBCSports always has topical, timely and up close tweets of all the main events plus all kinds of extras off the beaten path. She has covered Canada’s athletes from a multi-platform story-focused perspective for a decade.

Athletes to Follow:

This is one of the first Olympics where almost every prominent Canadian athlete and team profile page has a link for Facebook, Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn.

Flag carrier Hayley Wickenheiser has a powerful multi-tool presence – many marketers are curious to see how she integrates LinkedIn and G+ into a social media experience expected to heavily utilize Twitter, particularly as she leads Canadians into the Opening Ceremonies at Sochi.

Social media is about the connection and that connection is about personality – snowboarder Mark McMorris makes the connection with his well-crafted tweets. (The red mitten picture atop the mountain is an ode to the good work of Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company – a perfect blend of patriotism and corporate sponsorship from one of Canada’s best known athletes.)

Hashtags Of Note (Or Not):

#WeAreWinter is the official hashtag for Canada’s Olympic team. You will also notice use of the promoted Twitter functionality with tweeted ads for #WeAreWinter.

#Cheerstosochi was originally a hashtag of the Olympics but McDonalds has withdrawn this messaging after complaints from customers that the brand was supporting a games in a country which isnt LBGT friendly.

More from The Digital Collide…
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