It used to be that if sports fans missed the big game and wanted to know the results, they’d have to wait for the next morning’s newspaper to come out. Then came the days of the VCR, where some die-hard fans would record games to watch after they returned home from work. Then came the days of instant gratification and social media, which turned the world of media consumption on its head.
Now, viewers don’t even need to have a cable subscription in order to find out the immediate results of a big game. Now, users can go on Twitter and find live tweets from virtually any event around the world. Now, the highlights from a big play are immediately spliced and put online for consumption within seconds. Now, users no longer have to wait and are instead bombarded with results, highlights, and stats nearly as soon as they happen.
What can marketers in other industries learn from this instant highlight approach? One of the best things that sports marketers and social media teams do is provide environments for fans to engage with each other.
Now yes, one of the challenges that other brands experience when it comes to user engagement is the fact that these users aren’t necessarily already following the event or that brand online. For example, a brand that promotes direct-to-consumer furniture sales may have a tougher time achieving that level of viral engagement that their colleagues in sports do.
But this by no means indicates a lack of opportunity for brands to learn from the example of the sports industry. After all, sports are one of the only mass events that bring people together, either over a shared love of a team or an age-old rivalry. What all of these people have in common is an overall love of a game, a sport, a team, or a player.
What lessons are there to be learned here? For starters, the ability to provide valuable information quickly is something that can be taken away into any other industry. Sports marketing is an avenue for teams and organizations to promote their sport to other users. Using the instant gratification idea of social media, brands can create campaigns designed to promote user engagement and spur conversation online about the brand.
Let’s say that the aforementioned direct-to-consumer furniture company wants to start a conversation on social media about the difficulty of furniture shopping and how consumers are so busy these days that the time spent in a labyrinth-like furniture store may be less than appealing.
Just as a sports team may spur conversation in the game hashtag for that evening, this brand could start its own hashtag and join in on user conversation about the value of time and convenience. By contributing meaningful content — posts that bring entertainment to the conversation or that provide a realistic solution to the problem discussed — the brand can insert themselves right into the middle of a user conversation. This accomplishes brand visibility and is a great way for a brand to attract users, and one of the best examples of brands that consistently accomplish this can be found in sports marketing.