Six Tips for Gold Medal Live-Tweeting

Nary a modern sporting event occurs without fans (and detractors) posting real-time opinions and analysis online. Forget Monday Morning Quarterbacking, social media has ushered in an age of In-Game Couch Coaching.

Brands can use major sporting events to engage with fans who demonstrate loyalty to their team and passion about a sport. Major events are a perfect time to attempt to “trendjack” on social media. (Trendjacking is when you latch onto a popular trend to insert your brand or message.) The guidelines below will help you kick off your sports social engagement. With practice, your brand might even become the GOAT*.

Focus on Twitter for live commentary. While athletes and fans share their thoughts across many social media networks, the easiest way to connect with fans is to engage with them on Twitter. Because of the fast-paced nature of the Twitter timeline, fans post real-time updates and commentary in a way that isn’t as easy to follow on other social networks.

Use official or popular hashtags. Sporting events usually have an official hashtag, or at least one that is most popular. Twitter may add an emoji to the end of the hashtag to encourage people to use it, and the network airing the event will often display a hashtag on-screen. Using official hashtags makes it easier for people to find your tweets. For big events, Twitter will integrate tweets using the official hashtag into its “Moments” feature, which highlights noteworthy tweets.

Develop a witty voice. Being funny is the name of the game for live-tweeting. Sports fans on Twitter are notoriously spirited and sarcastic. If you’re promoting a brand, however, you walk a fine line when it comes to jokes at a particular athlete’s or team’s expense. Congratulate and promote good work in a witty way and avoid inflaming fans (unless they’re from a rival fandom) at all costs.

Research popular personalities who post about the sport. In addition to following official accounts, take time to research the people who post about a team or sport. Popular personalities can see hundreds of retweets and can provide inspiration for popular themes and inside jokes among fans. Take care in retweeting. Avoid accounts that routinely post profanity or offensive content.

Don’t get a person’s fandom wrong. Sports fans take their teams very seriously, so proceed with caution. If you tweet a pro-Atlanta Falcons message to a New Orleans Saints fan, you’ve lost a customer for life. (Not to mention, you look inobservant.)

Post tweets that have context. A lot of in-game tweets can be short exclamations about the ins and outs of the event. (i.e. “NOOOOOOOOOOOO” or “AMAZING!”) While these can be fun to post, they might not get legs on Twitter if they don’t have relevance later in the game. Consider including context in the tweet. For example, reference a gymnast’s high-scoring routine or a player’s impressive touchdown.

When you “watch” a sporting event on Twitter, you never watch alone. Get in the game to reap the rewards of fan-based engagement for your brand.

*GOAT = Greatest Of All Time, which you will see A LOT on sports twitter, usually paired with a goat emoji or GIF.

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