the olympics and social media

Whether it’s swimming, basketball, or gymnastics, we hope you’ve had a chance to catch your favorite Olympic sports by now. But even in the event that you haven’t, you may find that this year you’re more connected to the Olympic games than ever before. People everywhere, from avid fans to casual viewers to people who don’t even own a television set, have been inundated by the frenetic Tweets, Facebook posts, and Pinterest pages created by Olympic athletes and fans alike.

In fact, social media sites are taking home the gold for making the XXX Summer Olympics the most Tweeted, tagged, and “liked” Olympic games in history. Twitter leads the charge, with a plethora of athletes providing their fans with real-time Tweets about their feelings and experiences during the Summer games. Facebook, too, is witnessing a healthy supply of Olympics-related posts, links, and articles. 

Your Target Audience Will Continue to Rely on an Extensive Social Media Presence

What can we learn from all this, as businesses and entrepreneurs? Well, first of all, there’s the completely unsurprising reminder that social media continues to be on the rise. Consider, for example, that Twitter ranked 23rd among social networking sites during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic games. Pinterest didn’t exist at all, and neither did iPads and certain other mobile devices. Tumblr, which now boasts 64.7 million blogs and 27.5 billion total posts, had only recently been created. If there’s any jarring reminder that our technology, marketing, and consumer habits are moving at the speed of light, we need only look to the utterly unique way in which we’re viewing the Olympics this year.

Thoughtfully Consider Every Word You Post on a Social Media Site

If there’s any jarring reminder that our technology, marketing, and consumer habits are moving at the speed of light, we need only look to the utterly unique way in which we’re viewing the Olympics this year.

Think about the handful of Olympic athletes whose reputations have been marred this year by their own thoughtless Twitter posts. Consider, for example, Swiss soccer player Michael Morganella, who was booted from the Olympics after posting an offensive Tweet about South Koreans. Or Greek triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou, also banned, for a racist Twitter comment. Although these are extreme examples, they are excellent reminders that if you post in a public forum, people can and will take you seriously—even if you purport to be joking. So be thoughtful, stay kind to your competitors, and triple-check every joke to make sure no one will take it the wrong way. Your reputation, and even your entire business, is at stake.

Build Your Social Media Presence as Early as Possible

Be proactive whenever possible. The Olympics began building their social community months before the games started, rather than waiting for people to react to the games before participating in the social community. This applies to your business, too. Even if you’re a fledgling company, a small eCommerce store, or you only work with a handful of clients, build your social media community now. When you grow, so will your community—and your very most loyal customers, the base of your business, will already be there.

Don't Just Talk at Your Customers; Interact With Them

The most popular athletes are the ones who respond to their fans. Listen to feedback and respond in as timely and friendly a way as possible. It’s amazing to consider the number of major companies who start Facebook or Twitter accounts, only to remain silent when customers respond with feedback. The best thing you can do for your social strategy is to let your customers or clients know you’re listening. You may just learn valuable information about your product or service in the process.

So enjoy the Summer games for the sports they extol, but don’t forget to bring back Olympic strategies and lessons to your own company’s social media plan. Here’s to a record-setting year!

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