For about a month a bunch of sportsmen representing their nation have kicked a ball around in Russia. During this time excitement in the UK reached near fever-pitch levels with much talk of “three lions” and things “coming home”. Social media and news apps were awash with names of footballers and strange codes that told you who was playing and why.
I tend to side with former England Rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio when it comes to football: it’s like Andrex toilet paper, soft and overly expensive. Yet in spite of my best efforts, I was forced to “interact” with the competition through workplace competitions and social media.
Social media became something of a wasteland. The regular supply of hashtags for events and twitter chats dried up. My timeline filled with adverts for gambling firms and poor attempts to “connect” with the footballing crowd. People whose posts were usually sources of inspiration and research vanished in favour of commentary on matches and the occasional half-arsed attempt to relate their discipline to someone called Gareth Southgate.
There’s a big lesson to take away from this for marketers. When there’s a major sporting event taking place over a week or more, your social media efforts are going to be affected. You won’t be able to break into the Twitter feeds of your target audience, no matter how many delegates are live tweeting. It doesn’t matter if the national side are playing or not, the sheer volume of social media activity is going to swamp your message unless you get very, very lucky.