The Social Media Seven: 7/31 - 8/6

By Parth Shah, @shah_parth_

Welcome to another week of the Social Media Seven, your weekly home for notable tweets, posts, facts, articles, and social media strategies in the world of sports. Thanks for joining us!

1. NASCAR

NASCAR finally broke its glass ceiling this week, hiring its first female CMO (which you can read about here). The organization carried the momentum on social media, as it continues to work hard to grow its audience across the United States. NASCAR has lost some of its appeal with the younger generation of Americans, falling out of favor compared to soccer, football, and basketball. While there is still a long way to go, the organization hopes to grow in popularity once again. The social media team at NASCAR created a wonderful GIF simply highlighting this weekend's upcoming race, while simultaneously cross-promoting the network it will be televised on. Too often, teams and leagues try too hard to create flashy, bold content that doesn't even serve its purpose. NASCAR is recognized this week for its simple yet successful posting, a refreshing change of pace juxtaposed next to its other pictures and videos. There is true value in doing something different from the norm; if you do it right, you can capture the attention of many of your followers just by doing something unique. Not to mention, that simple GIF is super shareable. 

2. 2016 Summer Olympics - Rio de Janeiro

The 2016 Olympics are underway in full force, with social media leading the charge. Some statistics (as of 8/6/16, 11:30pm EST):

#Olympics - 8,960,719 impressions

#OpeningCeremony - 61,433,415 impressions

#Rio2016 - 91,379,017 impressions

Interestingly enough, #Olympics (56%) and #Rio2016 (59.4%) were used more by males, whereas #OpeningCeremony (53.4%) was shifted towards females. 

These hashtags alone reached an extraordinary number of Twitter users - without even taking into account tweets referencing these topics, without the hashtag. Twitter does a great job in curating hashtags and adding virtual emojis after them, which can be a draw for users to utilize them in tweets. It should also be noted that these statistics do not take into account Facebook and Instagram, where millions more users posted with these hashtags.

3. Rule 40

There has been much written in recent weeks regarding Rule 40 and how it would impact this year's Olympic games. Marketers, brands, and athletes alike have had to be extra careful in composing posts and content, trying to avoid breaching the restrictions of the rule's framing. Rule 40 has already come under fire on Day 1, as the automated Twitter account, @Official_Rule40, sent out Tweets to those figures not in compliance with the rule - two of which include Pope Francis and The White House. These tweets have since been deleted, as Twitter suspended the Rule 40 account, but these screenshots prove that the internet is forever. If you want to learn more about this additional hurdle that marketers have to jump through, I recommend reading this Yahoo! Finance article on the topic. No one, even the Pope, is safe. It will be interesting to see how athletes and others go about the use of words such as Rio and Olympics in the upcoming weeks, and how any missteps will be handled. Is Rule 40 something that needs to be continually amended every Olympic cycle, or scratched and/or re-drafted altogether?

4. Must-Read Article:

Want to sponsor the NFL season on Snapchat? You'll need $7 million according to this intriguing Ad Age article. The piece goes into further depth regarding the profitability of the National Football League, the competition between Twitter and Snapchat for ad revenue dollars, and the ever-changing marketing plan that allows the league to be America's most popular sport. 

5. Did You Know?

With the launch of the new Instagram Stories feature, many wondered what this would mean for social media sports. While there are still so many questions left to be answered, the initial statistics shine favorable for the new copycat function. Even though Snapchat has been using stories since its inception years ago, the initial launch of Instagram's similar feature proved to have a greater reach already. It seems that brands, flush with tremendous followings on a more "standard" social media platform like Instagram, have the ability to reach more people this way. It will be interesting to see how companies utilize this new tool in their arsenal. You can read more about the immediate power & appeal of Instagram stories here

6. Shah's Social Media Strategy:

While consistently posting on social media is important, as it helps teams and organizations to develop and maintain parasocial relationships with fans, nothing trumps QUALITY. Nothing. Take the time to understand your audience. Invest your resources in developing engaging content that takes your brand to the next level. Follow the best in the industry, and aim to emulate what they are doing successfully. Think outside the box. Don't be afraid to take risks - no one likes a bland, boring account. Be true to yourself and your message. Most of all, be proud of what you post. Make content enjoyable, relatable, "liveable". By that I mean, make content that fits into your followers' lives; content that is authentic and provides perspective and depth. Don't just be a part of their lives. Take the step into their days, their thoughts, their emotions. True quality means providing content of substance, with value and worth. Don't be just another message.

7. Discussion of the Week: 

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell

In what ways can a successful leader empower others? Are there any strategies or attributes a leader has or uses to accomplish this?

The Importance of a Mentor in Social Media

‘Sure, I can figure that out.’