What businesses can learn from the ‘social’ Olympics

by Sohini Bagchi    Aug 13, 2012

social networkingSocial media has played a substantial role in the London Olympic 2012. There were not only official pages created on Facebook, Google+ and other social networking sites, millions of tweets, likes, posts, videos and updates on the Games were flooded all over the internet informing enthusiasts about every detail of the Games.

Just before the London Olympic 2012 begun, there were some initial hesitations on the right use of social media in the Games. However, IOC spokesman Mark Adams told that the Olympic board would continue to encourage the use of social media around the Games. “As you know the IOC, the Olympics, we have about 15 million social media fans and we want people to have a good time in social media,” said Adams in a statement.

This was the first time ever in the history of Olympics that viewer responses and sentiments are being tracked and analysed on such a large scale. Social media was in its infancy in the last Olympics that took place four years ago in Beijing, where inappropriate blogging was the main concern.

Experts believe that the social media strategies of the London Olympic 2012 was used not only as a symbiotic tool in the delivery of information but also for garnering promotion and profitability.
So, what lessons can enterprises learn from what was touted as the first ever “social Olympics?”

“Businesses can take a cue from this, observe the social behavior of their target audience and then frame a comprehensive social media strategy,” says Cammy Tang, Setup Implementation Analyst at IFDS. She believes that for businesses to have a successful social media campaign, it is important to hire a social media strategist. It is this team of experts who can effectively convey the right message by tracking customer engagement.

Determining the business’ purpose for the social media involvement is the key, believes experts, whether the purpose it is to improve public opinion of an organisation, promote sales of products or reducing customer service costs. It is then that one gets the maximum benefits.
“ Corporations should continue to invest in social media for crowdsourcing ideas, recruiting talent, servicing customers with social CRM, improving sales through online promotions and discounts, monitoring competition, developing influencer programs and of course running brand campaigns,” says Durga Prasad Kamineni, Co-Founder, Innovation Lead and CTO, Analytics Quotient.

He believes from interacting with clients across the retail, consumer technology and food services industries, what global marketers want to understand is whether their spends in social media impact their sales, profitability, consumer loyalty in the real world, beyond a “like/dislike’ on a campaign page.

So, Kamineni sees one definite trend in the social media analytics space is the move from developing “social media listening” tools and platforms which decode and measure social media data, to designing business applications which can integrate external data ( sales, retail panel), internal company data(brand, consumer, traditional media data) and social media data across a campaign period .

According to business strategist Rishi Agarwal, just like the links between sports and social media, the connection between business and social media will continue to grow, because strategists would want their tweets and likes to ultimately translate into dollars.

However, Agarwal believes that social media and its analytics should always be viewed as part of the wider digital marketing strategy. It should be combined with traditional analytics forms to get the greater business value and ROI and one should also be careful that it does not damage the organisation’s social reputation in the process.