Today sees the beginning of the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship, or Euro 2020. It’s the first international men’s football tournament to involve European nations since the 2018 FIFA World Cup and is especially eagerly awaited because, like just about everything that was due to happen in 2020, it has been delayed for a year.
It may not seem business-like to spend a few weeks chatting about football on social media, but let’s look at some of the impressions previous international football tournaments have made online:
– Euro 2016 was the fourth biggest worldwide Twitter trend of that year (and bear in mind here that this is a competition exclusive to Europe, and also that 2016 was the year of the Brexit vote, Donald Trump winning the US Presidential Election and numerous high-profile celebrity deaths)
– Four years earlier, at Euro 2012, Spain’s fourth goal in the final broke the record at the time for tweets per second
– The 2018 World Cup featured heavily among the most popular content on both Twitter and YouTube that year
– The last Women’s World Cup, in 2019, also had a sizeable impact on social media
Whether you love football or hate it, it seems inevitable that social media will be abuzz with the “beautiful game” over the next month, and it makes sense to get your business involved in football fever, but how? Here are three ways:
1. Make it international
I’m showing my age here, but when I was at school during the 1998 World Cup, I had a popular teacher who told us he was planning his meals around whichever teams were in action that night. When Brazil played Scotland on the opening day, he had haggis with Brazil nuts. Even more tenuously, when Cameroon played, he treated himself to a macaroon for pudding!
What does this have to do with social media marketing? It shows that the Euros are not just about football, but nations too. There are 24 of them competing in this tournament, each with its own culture and heritage. You may not know anything about Finnish or Slovakian football, but you might well know something about Finland or Slovakia – maybe related to your business. An architect could post about the Leaning Tower of Pisa when Italy play, while a restaurant could promote goulash when Hungary are in action. If you work in the travel sector, the possibilities are enormous.
To time your posts and tweets effectively, have a list of the fixtures to hand. It’s best to have one that shows the fixtures by date rather than by group, as you can see at a glance who is playing on what day and schedule your posts accordingly. The BBC’s Scores & Fixtures page is as good as any.
2. Use match hashtags and flag emojis
Every team competing has a three-letter FIFA country code, and these can be found here. When posting about a match on social media, the convention is to use the hashtag #[first team’s code][second teams code]. For example, tweets about tonight’s Turkey (TUR) vs. Italy (ITA) game will use the hashtag #TURITA. Wales’s game against Switzerland tomorrow afternoon will be #WALSUI, and when Belgium and Russia meet in the evening, it will be #BELRUS. Yes, that does mean a meeting between Wales and Russia will see #WALRUS trending!
If your posts are relevant to the game or the countries involved, use these hashtags on the day of the game.
Don’t forget as well that every country participating has its own flag emoji. The more visual a post or tweet is, the more likely it is to get interaction. In email marketing, one study showed that 56% of brands using emojis in email subject lines benefited from higher unique open rates. So, go for it – who needs an excuse to use that awesome North Macedonian flag anyway?
3. Post during games if possible
Scheduling posts ahead is always wise, but some of the best interaction comes from reacting to events as they happen – entirely doable given that some of the games next week will be played during office hours. One of my favourite memories from the last World Cup was England, for once, winning a penalty shootout, and the resultant frenzy on Twitter.
This makes for great, engaging contact on an up-to-the-minute trend. Cheeky bookmaker Paddy Power is one of the masters of this, and once created a hit by reacting to a boring England match with its own Paint Drying Championships.
At Engage Web, our sector is the internet, which is why I wrote a blog with an internet-related fact about every country at the 2018 World Cup just before it began. Just about any industry can get involved in the Euros, so if you’re looking for inspiration, speak to us today.