There are a number of different ways that small and medium-sized businesses can use Twitter to tap into the World Cup buzz happening on the social network.
The World Cup has only just begun, but it has already been cited as the most-talked about sporting event globally on social media, according to recent data by the Adobe Social Index. With 48 percent of the total social buzz coming from the Americas, the Twittersphere is a prime location for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the U.S. to capture and engage potential customers interested in the World Cup.
A common misconception among small businesses is that marketing around big events like the World Cup is only for advertisers with big budgets, "but there are actually a number of different ways SMBs can tap into events like these effectively," says Genevieve Wong, who works in communications at Twitter.
Take, for example, the Spirit of 77, a sports bar in Portland, Oregon. While the bar is typically closed all summer since Portland doesn't have a huge sports presence during those months, Wong says this year, they decided to do something different to capture some of the World Cup buzz and drive people through the door to watch the games.
On Twitter, @Spiritof77Bar will leverage Twitter Ads, specifically keyword targeting, says Wong, "so they can reach users tweeting about the games to connect with people who are visiting Portland for conferences, and who also want to watch the games."
That sort of advertising creativity is just one of many avenues small and medium-sized brands have at their fingertips to get involved in the World Cup this year.
First things first, know the rules of the game, says Laraway. "It's important for SMBs to know that only the official sponsors of the World Cup can reference the games in their tweets, per FIFA's rules. But, with a little creativity, SMBs can use Twitter Ads to take advantage of the huge marketing opportunity the World Cup presents on Twitter."
Who are these World Cup fans that overlap with your audience? "Connect with your existing customers by uploading your email list and following them," Laraway says. "If you're an e-commerce business whose product is relevant to broader range of users, you can use geo-targeting to reach customers at the global or country level. On the flip side, if you're a brick-and-mortar that services your local area, you can use geo-targeting to reach customers at the state, DMA, and even down to the ZIP code level."
"Think about what your audience is talking about, what they're interested in, and what they'll be watching on TV, and then use a combination of targeting tools to identify these users and connect with them at precisely the right moment with a Promoted Tweet or Promoted Account," says Laraway.
He suggests several ways to maximize the visibility of Twitter ad campaigns, such as using keyword targeting to reach users in an area who are tweeting or engaging with tweets that contain World Cup keywords, like the Spirit of 77 is doing.
"For example, if you're a local bar looking to drive users to watch games at your venue, you could target users tweeting/engaging with keywords like 'watch World Cup,' 'World Cup bar,' or 'World Cup drink specials.' A party store could target keywords such as 'World Cup party supplies' or 'buy caxirola' (this year's official World Cup noisemaker!)."
Laraway advises businesses to also be mindful of the relevant World Cup hashtags used to maximize visibility, such as #WorldCup, #Brazil2014, #USMNT, #OneNationOneTeam, #1N1T, #GoUSA, #USAvGHA, #USAvPOR, and #USAvGER.
Username targeting can also help businesses reach engaged World Cup fans. Laraway gives the following resources for Twitter lists:
Finally, businesses can leverage Twitter's TV conversation targeting to "easily promote tweets to users who engage with shows related to the World Cup," says Laraway. "In the ads UI, simply search for terms such as World Cup or FIFA to identify and target shows related to the games. Some examples: 2014 World Cup Preview, 2014 World Cup Countdown, and 2014 FIFA World Cup Pre-match."
"If you want to drive engagement, keep your tweets fun and dynamic," says Laraway. "And, remember that tweets with photos receive on average a 35 percent increase in RTs, and tweets with videos see a 28 percent boost."
And don't forget about Twitter Vine, he adds. "If you're a local restaurant, a Vine showcasing your bartender making a special World Cup cocktail can go a long way, and entice customers to drop in for a visit."
If the goal of your World Cup campaign is focused on direct response, Laraway has a few tips there as well.
"Keep your call to action the main focus of your message. Avoid using hashtags and rich media, which can distract users from taking your desired action. You can also leverage tools like the Lead Generation Card, which allows users to submit leads directly within a tweet. Or, the Website Card can help you drive traffic to any page of your site, like a World Cup blog post or product page."
Your World Cup Twitter campaign should be measurable so you know how it performs against your goals. "When it comes to running any Twitter Ads campaign, our advice is to continually test and iterate," says Laraway.
"Your Twitter Ads dashboard provides tweet-level metrics; use these to determine what content resonates most with users. Additionally, you can implement conversion tracking to see if your campaigns are effectively driving sales, leads, or another action you define for your business."
To stay up-to-date with the 2014 World Cup on Twitter, follow @FIFAWorldCup.
Jessica Lee is the founder of bizbuzzcontent, a boutique content services company that offers quality content creation services and content strategy consulting.
Since 2005, Jessica has been in the business of content and communications, with the past seven years focused on the Web marketing space.
Prior to launching bizbuzzcontent, Jessica was responsible for content strategy, development, and marketing for Bruce Clay Inc. - a global SEO firm, where she served small businesses and Fortune 500 clients.
Jessica has a bachelor's in communications and public relations from San Diego State University.
She contributed to the book Search Engine Optimization All-in-One for Dummies second edition, and her writing is featured in an active college textbook, Reading and Writing About Contemporary Issues.
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