The fervor on social media that surrounded the start of the 2014 World Cup was just the beginning. Discussion will likely grow as the tournament's denouement nears. Millions will take to social networks to interact with other fans--as well as with companies.
Every World Cup tweet is an opportunity, so it's important for small businesses to jump in and join the conversation. Inc. spoke with Russ Laraway, SMB leader at Twitter, about how your companies can best use the platform to its benefit. "If you think about the typical SMB, they are always going to be smaller and flatter than a typical large company. It's a really unique opportunity for them to outmaneuver larger companies," Laraway says. "They can just be more nimble and take advantage of different breaks and different pieces of the action."
Know the rules
Laraway stresses that first and foremost, businesses should be aware of the rules regarding tweeting about the World Cup. Much like the Super Bowl, there are certain phrases that are protected by the tournament's governing body and other sponsors. Companies that are not official sponsors of the World Cup may face legal repercussions for using the terms listed here. You should be sure to familiarize yourself with these terms before you take to Twitter.
Brainstorm relevant moments
Think about times during the tournament when your company can offer value to soccer fans on Twitter. Ask "what makes sense for my company?" For instance, a local bar or restaurant might tweet about specials that they're offering during games or a retailer could tweet about discounts on merchandise pegged to the World Cup.
Laraway says that while businesses have a real opportunity to plan tweets around events that they know will occur--such as goals, penalties, and specific games--they have to maintain authenticity. "If you participate in a conversation on Twitter you should always add something to the conversation. Don't just spam," he says. "Just check yourself and ask, 'Am I adding value to this conversation and am I presenting an authentic voice that is lined up with what my business is all about?'"
In the same vein as authenticity, Laraway advises being explicit with tweets so they'll be better received within the extensive conversation around the tournament. "If you have a specific call to action, make that very clear. Keep it simple for the users and remember that they are watching the game, so you don't want to overwhelm. I think asking for a simple retweet or to tweet with a hashtag is enough," he says.
Use the momentum
If you do all of these things well throughout the tournament, you will likely gain a number of new followers. It is important to take advantage going forward. "Remember they are explicitly opting in to hear from you in the future and so it’s a real opportunity to carry on the momentum with these new followers after the event," Laraway says.