Whether they're raising awareness, engaging with new audiences, or growing sales, marketers will flock to social media during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Social media traffic for the month-long global soccer tournament is already outpacing the Sochi Olympics, with Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter at the center of the boom.
In fact, Adobe's Digital Index estimates that the World Cup will end up the biggest sporting event yet in terms of total social media mentions. In fact, the report stated that 90 percent of the world has already contributed to the World Cup conversation, which is more than the Olympics (84 percent) and the Super Bowl (78 percent).
For brands that eagerly want to leverage this new social media apex, here are four marketing power plays to use during the World Cup:
1. Be honest and authentic
Earlier this year, Mastercard's PR agency came under fire for trying to bribe a journalist to send promotional tweets. Dishonest behavior is a growing concern because it can tarnish brands' existing relationships with customers. Consumers can see right through a fake review and promotional messaging. Instead they want honest and authentic interactions from the brands with which they do business. Keep that in mind throughout the next month and learn the social rules of engagement and be real with your customer interactions.
2. Remember to engage via multiple screens
This year's event will be a multi-screen event watched on television, desktop computer, tablets and mobile. A survey from YuMe, conducted in partnership with Insant.ly, found that 44 percent said it was important that they could watch or catch up with matches on more than one device.
Furthermore, 54 percent intend to watch video replays of matches online and 59 percent said being able to watch more than one match on multiple devices made the World Cup "and attractive event."
Last fall, the United States Tennis Association transformed the viewing experience of the US Open through an immersive, multi-screen and multi-channel strategy. With the help of IBM, the USTA created a mobile fan experience that featured an interactive iPad app that provides enhanced social features, instant access to live video, and in-depth match analysis and statistics in an effort to bring fans closer to the courts and deliver real-time insights that go beyond basic scores and stats.
In taking a cue from the USTA, marketers must prove thoughtful about their customers' journey during the World Cup and empower them along the way in the channels and screens of their choosing.
3. Staff employees to respond 24/7
Many companies like American Airlines offer 24/7 service and employ dedicated social service teams who can assist customers with service inquiries around the clock.
The World Cup games occur in multiple time zones and require around-the-clock marketing. Form a staff from several departments and assign roles and times to monitor social media. Prepare and train them to respond to customer issues and to mitigate any negative tweets.
4. Don't pre-plan all content.
More businesses are beginning to understand that engaging with their audiences in real conversations will bring them better results and add more value to their social streams. Who can forget Oreo's quick thinking during the Super Bowl two years ago when, during a blackout, the social media marketing creatives and copywriters sprang into action and Tweeted a picture of an Oreo cookie in the dark with the embedded phrase, "You can still dunk in the dark," along with the Tweet "Power out? No problem."
This reiterates the importance for brands not to pre-plan all content and to leave room to have some fun and be reactive during a live match.
With these four power plays, the opportunities for successful World Cup 2014 social media campaigns are boundless.