The 2012 Summer Olympics have really highlighted the rapid rise of social media over the past four years. The social network, Twitter, is now at the fingertips of 140 million users, up from only a few million when the Olympics were held in Beijing in 2008.
With an estimated 11,000 athletes competing from 205 countries around the world, all eyes are on London and the Olympics this summer. The Olympics event organizers invest years of careful planning into the exact execution and delivery of this historic event, attracting millions of viewers from across the globe. But no amount of event planning could have prepared the 2012 event organizers for the impact social media has had on this year’s games. With controversy surrounding racist tweets from athletes, fan arrests for threatening tweets, and lash-back campaigns by athletes against the organizing committee, the media is awash with social media coverage.
International Olympic Committee spokesman, Mark Adams, commented on Yahoo News about social media at the Games
“I don’t think we would seek to control it, nor could we, more than 15 million fans are following and participating in the Olympic experience via Twitter and other social media platforms, not to mention a good proportion of the 10,800 athletes. Used the right way, we embrace social media, and if you look at the guidelines, we positively encourage it.”
The 2012 Olympic Games is a prime example of the rise of social media, and highlights the power and impact of this powerful medium, not to mention the speed at which it is growing. For organizations and event organizers that have yet to embrace social media as an integral part of their marketing strategy, now is the time to take the plunge. It’s time to harness this powerful platform to drive more engagement with your audience, and extend that engagement beyond a single meeting or event opportunity each year.
Justin Ramers, Director of Online Marketing at ACTIVE Network Business Solutions explains how social media can be detrimental if not understood or used effectively.
“The number one mistake in social media is putting tactics before the strategy, and by tactics I mean setting up a Facebook page, starting a Twitter account, or starting to publish content without asking the question ‘why am I doing this?’ Take a step back and look at your entire business, organization or your event and ask yourself what is the purpose of this event or what am I trying to accomplish with my marketing efforts? Once you answer that question you can start to look at ‘how can I start to leverage social media as a medium to execute on those goals?’”
For more on social media strategy, and effective ways to implement it, click here. Check out the latest event technology podcast in the series from ACTIVE Network Business Solutions. In this latest podcast we talk to our contributors about the increasingly important role of social media and communities to help drive deeper engagement and advocacy, and how these channels are empowering attendees to drive organizers to deliver the content they really want.