Twitter has been aflutter the past few weeks as the World Cup football tournament played out in Brazil. There were plenty of official sponsors to fund the games, as well as a large group of brands that simply tried to jump on the attention bandwagon.
When these big world events happen, brands are always trying to get a piece of the action, but does bandwagon jumping work? Sometimes — as seen with Nike, a non-sponsor that beat out official sponsor Adidas for World Cup-related video views.
Taking a closer look, social media analytics firm Encore Alert conducted a study to answer once and for all whether Twitter bandwagon jumping is a helpful tactic. The firm analyzed 18 different companies of varying sizes, social media presence, and customer bases with one key metric in common: They used the hashtag #WorldCup.
The results were skewed. Only eight of the 18 brands study saw a positive lift from joining the bandwagon. Among those that did see a lift, some were off the charts, as with Castrol’s insane 21,960% increase in engagement.
So what set those brands apart? Encore Alert identified two truths that each successful brand followed.
Truth #1: “Go Big or Go Home”
The brands that were successful in increasing engagement by tweeting about the World Cup had obviously utilized well-timed, well-written, though-provoking tweets about the World Cup. It was obvious that the tweets were meant to offer something interesting and valuable to football fans rather than just jumping into the conversation. For example, this tweet from Castrol was timely, mentioned big football stars, and was part of a give-away promotion. It was retweeted nearly 800 times.
On the flip side, brands that didn’t benefit from using the #WorldCup hashtag seemed to give less effort. Take McDonald's for example. The brand had many tweets using the #WorldCup hashtag, but none of them increased engagement. This is likely because the tweets were obviously self-serving and weren’t offering fans any interesting information about the games. The tweet below was only highlighting a World Cup related contest — no stats, no excitement, no value. In fact, the tweets using the hashtag decreased in engagement by 47%.
Truth #2: “Give ‘em what they want and you’ll get what you need.”
The tweets that really knocked it out of the park were specific, timely, and really gave World Cup fans what they wanted. Budweiser, which ranked second in engagement on the list, set up a specific handle (BudweiserFC) to tweet about the tournament. That handle tweeted out up-to-date information about top teams and players, delivering tangible value to followers. A shining example is this tweet about Argentina’s Sergio Romero that was retweeted over 2,000 times and favorited over 3,000.