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Football Stole the Social Media Cup

Football Stole the Social Media Cup

Football (Soccer) is stealing the global stage when it comes to social media Forbes magazine pronounced this week, Real Madrid CF knocking previous chart-toppers Man Utd off their perch, and Barcelona running in third. On the right of the image below the teams were ranked in order of franchise value and then their combined Facebook and Twitter following. To the left, the size of the bubbles represents their social following. We thought we would dig a little deeper into Real Madrid’s social media strategy.

Social Media and Sport #DigiSport #SMSport

Real Madrid is one of the most recognisable brands in sport, due to their keen embrace of new technologies and communications to increase their profitability. While many UK clubs are just starting to ride the social media wave, see previous article The Future Of Social Media In Sport, Real Madrid have been utilising it for a while now. Since its launch the clubs Facebook page has been a massive success, building up a huge following with over 39m current ‘likes’. The page may have been started as a way for Madrid to test fan interaction, but, it has also developed into a powerful tool to direct traffic to However, Madrid’s strategy focuses on more than just Facebook.

Madrid clearly understands the importance of engagement and providing fans with great content, for one of the player´s birthdays the club produced special video content dedicated to the player itself and alongside this, they ran a 24-hour jersey sale. Social media has also opened up additional ways for Madrid to activate their partnerships with sponsors as now they have the opportunity not only to be in the stadium, on the shirts, and on the website, they can also have their messages pushed across the clubs social media channels. It has also been suggested that some partners value mentions and space on the clubs Facebook and Twitter pages above advertising on the website.

It is resoundingly clear that social media plays a very important part in keeping Madrid in the top position for franchise value, don’t you agree?

Have a Break, Have No-WiFi

Free WiFi is available everywhere. It’s available in bars, restaurants, trains, tubes, airports, supermarkets and even at Mount Everest – here in the digital team we do not see this as a bad thing. However, it does mean that people are constantly online.

Kit Kat saw this as an opportunity to give people a break. Instead of offering Free WiFi like every other brand, they created a Free No-WiFi Zone.

Have a Break, Have No-WiFi

A big sign with a small WiFi jammer that blocked all the signals within a five-meter radius. So people could escape e-mails, updates, tags and even likes. Encouraging people to read a good old newspaper, a real book or have a genuine conversation. Whilst eating a Kit Kat.

Their stunt started a conversation about the need for places where people can disconnect, which was just the sort of attention they were looking for.

Do you think there is a need for places where people can disconnect? We would love to hear your thoughts.

How to Create a Viral Tweet

Last Tuesday, Warren Gatland announced his 37 squad that will be touring Australia, England Captain Chris Robshaw and kicking legend Jonny Wilkinson were left out. There was much contention surrounding Wilkinson’s non-inclusion due to the 24 points he kicked against Saracens the weekend prior. Virgin Holidays were listening to the twitter chatter and seized the opportunity with a spur of the moment tweet.

The tweet did not go viral; they did not gain a significant number of new followers and their Instagram following was not propelled to new found heights. This we thought created the perfect opportunity to discuss how to create a viral tweet. Everyone wants more Facebook traffic, more YouTube views, more YouTube subscribers, more Twitter and Pinterest followers and more social influence.  Why, because if you can get something to go viral on the web, you can get a lot of exposure in a small amount of time.

Here are 4 ways to increase the probability your tweet will receive ReTweets:

Every tweet should be done for a specific reason and should include a call to action. Every time you tweet, you want followers to ReTweet – every time your content is ReTweeted it expands to another network of Twitter users.

You need to experiment to see when you get the best responses from your followers. When you get a ReTweet track it in a spreadsheet and note the day, time and content of the tweet.

As a general rule tweets with links have a higher ReTweet rate, researcher suggest 70% of tweets that include links get ReTweeted.

The more you give, the more you receive.  Tweet useful content such as ‘How to’ information, breaking news, technology warnings and competitions and/or discounts.

This was just a few suggestions, we would love to hear what works for you.


Image courtesy of Bro Jeffery Pioquinto SJ,

The Future of Social Media in Sport

Last week, Saracens Rugby Club launched Wi-Fi throughout the entirety of Allianz Park. Reportedly the first sports club in Europe to attempt to encourage real-time user-generated content (UGC) that could add value to the match-day experience.

The clubs goal was to communicate that they now have a permanent home in London, whilst also creating a fan-based social media buzz around the game. Saracens promoted a selection of hashtags throughout the match-day programme, across their own social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) and featured them on 2 display screens.

They had recognised that one of the biggest requirements to improve the match day experience was information, such as; player statistics, team statistics, etc. To try and combat this, the live game commentary was fed through Twitter along with all major incidences and occasional sports stats. The real-time trial received tremendously positive feedback, the clubs twitter reach increased by 45%, in-game messaging increased by 20%, and picture-based content soared to a staggering 67%.

Times are changing. As sport becomes more tightly integrated with technologies more pressure is put on clubs to find more innovative ways to engage fans and enhance live sporting experiences. Edward Griffiths, CEO of Saracens commented on the new initiative, “not every rugby supporter will appreciate ‘second screen’ activity, but we are pushing the boundaries… and our fans are having fun.” For Saracens this is only the beginning, they will be further looking to drive additional revenue to the bars and restaurants through effective community management.

With the future of social media in sport in mind, here are 5 trends to watch out for:

BRAND MARKETING – Currently most clubs use social media for brand marketing, for example; tickets, merchandise and adverts. Similar to Saracens, most clubs will start focusing on the match-day experience – the statistics, the atmosphere, the music, the pre-match rituals, etc. Instead of telling the fans what they should aspire to want, marketers will start absorbing the emotions and stories fans experience throughout the game.

SOCIAL MEDIA HUBS – European clubs will start taking note of this brilliant invention on the other side of the pond. Social media hubs are allocated areas within the stadium on match-day where pre-selected fans (social media savvy and influential in the digital space) can take control of the clubs social media presence. Simple yet effective, as who knows what the fans want better than the fans themselves?

TWITTER PARTIES – American clubs recognise how powerful and influential their socially active fans can be and one way of rewarding them is a “Fan Night” in which fans are invited to go to the stadium to meet their fellow tweeters and put faces to twitter handles. An excellent way to bring clubs most influential tweeters, Instagrammers and followers closer.

FAN-BASED CONTENT – Some Clubs have already started to include fans in their official content but we predict this to rise. Whether it is getting a fan to write a match report that features in the programme or create a YouTube interview with a player. Fan-based content is a whole lot more engaging.

PINTEREST – Pinterest seems to have been neglected at current but it is an obvious tool for clubs to use to promote their online shops. But boards can also be used as a platform for fans to share their favourite moments, quotes, etc.

Here in the PHA Digital team, we are excited to see the evolution of Social Media in Sport and how effective UK Sports Clubs are at utilizing their own Social Media Marketing Strategies.

The New Face of Product Placement

Arguably one of Google+’s standout features, Hangouts have been used by marketers and brands in a variety of ways. From live-streaming fashion shows to personalized interviews with CEOs, the video-chat feature has become a valuable tool to engage readers and attract new followers. Now after 2 years of experimentation, Google is helping publishers monetize their efforts through a mix of social advertising, content marketing and traditional ad-buy.

On Monday, Glamour magazine launched a month-long series of Hangouts featuring publication staff, online personalities, and products. Between April 10 and May 8 Glamour will roll out nine Hangouts that will include a total of eight advertising partners whose products will be placed in central spots encouraging users to interact with the brands. For example, a L’Oréal sponsored hangout with Glamour stylist Annabel Tollman will teach viewers how to wear ombré using L’Oréal products. Other sponsors include Unilever, L’Oréal, Pantene and SlimFast.

Bill Wackermann, vice president and publishing director at Condé Nast (who manages the sales, brand strategy and marketing for Glamour), told Mashable “[the collaboration is] a way to put advertisers’ products in front of Glamour‘s 1.5 million Google+ followers in a format that’s both compelling (in an editorial sense) and makes those products part of a story”.

The Hangout series includes content that ranges from beauty how-tos and shopping inspiration to live music and insider tips. The Hangouts will be uploaded to Glamour’s YouTube channel, as well as the advertisers’ websites and social media outlets. Some of the Hangouts are live, enabling readers to log on and participate using the hashtag #GLAMOURHangouts, while others will be pre-recorded, allowing readers to watch and comment via Google+.

“A lot of our advertisers were asking for custom content-things they could use across their websites and socially,” says Jenny Bowman, executive creative services director for the publisher. “This is part of their commitment to running in the May issue. We produce the Hangouts, bring in talent and film it-it’s something that we’re doing as added value.”

Here in the PHA Digital Team, we are excited to see the results – for both Glamour and the participating advertiser partners – if successful it could be a great case study that will surely be replicated by others.

The Future Of The Fashion Show

The London Fashion Week, the hottest ticket in town, is normally only experienced by a privileged few. However, it’s 2013 and Topshop has partnered with Google to launch the first interactive live streamed fashion show.

Catwalk fashion show runway london fashion week

Courtesy of Ines Hegedus-Garcia,

A customised YouTube feed will allow live-streamed content from the red carpet and behind the scenes. Google+ will host a digital diary fronted by the models and access to stylists behind the scenes. Google Hang Outs will allow people to speak directly with the design team at Topshop HQ. The “Be the Buyer App” will enable users to get tips from buyers on how to put catwalk looks together. HD micro-cameras, worn by the likes of Cara Delevigne, will allow viewers a models eye of the catwalk. The London Oxford Street store will allow shoppers to take photos and upload images to an interactive window display. There will also be a live ‘tweet off’ where followers of @Topshop will be challenged to review the show in 140 characters or less to win VIP tickets to the next show.

Burberry set the trend in 2011 of offering fashion fans access to aspects of the shows that had not been previously available (putting live clips on YouTube and displaying backstage images via Instagram and Twitter) and it is no coincidence that the man leading the innovative runway experience, Topshop CMO Justin Cooke, is the former vice president of global communications at Burberry.

Could this collaboration change the way designers think about catwalk shows forever?! Let us know what you think.


The Ad That Stole The Superbowl

After Super Sunday, a lot of what people are talking about is a tweet.

“How Oreo ‘Culture-Jacked’ the Super Bowl” – The Wall Street Journal

On Sunday the power went out at the Superdome whilst the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens battled for the right to lift the Lombardi Trophy. Oreo, as one of the Superbowl Advertisers, were listening to the twitter chatter and seized the opportunity with a spur of the moment tweet.

The tweet went viral… retweeted 10,000 times in one hour, helping them to gain nearly 8,000 followers. Their actual ad the ‘Whisper Fight‘ depicts a Cookie vs. Crème argument with two men in a library. Propelling their Instagram following to over 50,000 whilst clearly demonstrating the power of combining TV and social media marketing.

We believe the success of the tweet was due to the months prior where Oreo cultivated a following through tweeting and posting culturally relevant ads daily as well as the use of real-time advertising during the event. The reaction from the audience has left us wondering whether the tweet had an even greater pay off than Oreo’s actual Super Bowl ad, which cost $3.8 million to create, and marked the launch of their Cookie vs. Crème campaign.

We would love to hear your thoughts.

Social Media Campaigns

It is no understatement to suggest that the Internet, and in particular social media, dominates our daily life. Not an hour can go by where we don’t check Facebook and Twitter to see how our friends are doing or to catch the latest status updates from people you barely know. Surprisingly, bearing in mind how much of our time we dedicate to social media, it seems that too many brands are failing to understand the potential that these sites offer their brand.

Of all the many hours internet users spend updating their Facebook profile, adding to their photo albums and such, only a very tiny 0.5% of that time is spent interacting with the brands they like. This is hardly surprising news. Back in the day, before Facebook became a walking advertising source, I used to ‘like’ the pages of our favourite films, books and sporting teams just to let others know my interests. Now, these pages are used by many brands to target their audience in a generic and uninteresting way. Users will liken these posts to spam and therefore overlook what the brand has to offer.

In short, social media campaigns need to be revamped and taken more seriously. There are several ways in which businesses can utilise social media to their gain. Firstly, they need to adopt a social mindset. Brands need to evaluate their target audience and judge what content will garner the best response. Interaction is key; the more your audience responds to your content, the greater their interest and the more likely your business will spread via word of mouth.

Social media campaigns could prove more lucrative nowadays than conventional and traditional campaigns. However, too little money, time and effort is put into these campaigns. Big input equals big results. The sooner businesses start to look up and see the potential of social media campaigns, the sooner they will begin to notice the difference in their supporter base and public awareness.

Natwest Social Media Crisis – The Importance of Immediacy in a Social Media Crisis

In the digital age we live in, when we are not happy with the service a company has provided us, more often than not we turn to Facebook and Twitter to seek immediate support.  But what happens when the right information isn’t readily available to us?

natwest-5 A new report from Birdsong:  Social Media Reconnaissance reveals a number of failings by Natwest in actively supporting its customers via Twitter during the IT collapse in late June.  Despite the surge in followers and influx of mentions of @natwest_help, extended branch hours and weekend openings, the bank’s Twitter account did not actively extend its social media presence or increase replies until very late on in the crisis, choosing a ‘business as usual approach’.

The new report from Bird Song: Social Media Reconnaissance showed numerous elements which shows that Natwest failed to increase its Twitter support to match the measures taken by branch staff and call centres.

As the problems unfolded, the followers of @Natwest_Help escalated at a rapid rate, growing by over 200% during the crisis, taking the bank from one of the least followed to one of the most followed UK bank accounts.  During this time the number of mention @natwest_help grew 8 times more than its original amount.

The report also reveals the slow reaction time from the bank.  Despite the influx in followers and mentions, the bank maintained standard tweeting hours of 9-5 at a time when branches were being opened later.  It took a week for the bank to start maintaining a later presence on Twitter, until 7p.m.

In addition to this, for the weekend that the bank opened, the Twitter account was left to broadcast automated messages, offering no active support, only a link to direct followers to online help.  The tweet alone generated 800 links ( of people seeking support.

This has also been the case for both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways in December 2010 and was the case for O2 last week.  Since the start of the national coverage disruption, the @O2 account has grown by 50%.

National crises such as the Natwest fiasco, demonstrate just how dependent we are on the web and computer networks, and the ability to adapt to the consequences of a major systems breakdown.  Therefore it is imperative that companies such as Natwest act immediately, enforcing a social media strategy that would see to support those who have been affected.  Putting social media on the back burner could have a detrimental effect on the reputation of the brand, resulting in a leap of unwanted negative comments, which ultimately could lead to customers taking their business elsewhere.


Cover image courtesy of lamoix,


 The social pin-boarding site has only been on the social scene for two years (not even a year yet in the UK), and already it’s taking the digital world by storm – doubling its number of unique visitors to 4 million since January.

In case you’re not familiar with the site, Pinterest is a place to organise and share online images that you may find interesting or inspiring.  Once uploaded or shared on Pinterest, these images become known as ‘pins’, which the user can place on customised themed boards.

Some people use the site to share images they find on the web, while others use the site from a more creative perspective. For example, many artists use Pinterest to arrange inspiring images for their work. While bakers may use the social networking site to showcase images of their creative cake collection and interior designers could use it as a platform for different design themes.

Brands, on the other hand, are using it to communicate to their audience through the use of images that best reflect what the brand is currently up to.  An example of a brand that is using Pinterest particularly well is Ikea.

The Swedish furniture store has 15 pin boards, including product ideas and ‘pin it to win it’ competitions hosted weekly – a great way to get people engaged and grow their existing community.

The site uses striking images to represent theme ideas for different rooms.  Some of the images also include price information for each product, so it essentially acts as an extension of its catalogue.

One of its more eye-catching boards for its ‘True Blue’ product range is inspired by Indian Culture, this however, doesn’t seem to be linked to its homepage which could minimise their efforts.