Should sports accounts jump on trending topics?
This week saw the 88th Academy Awards held in America, and if there’s one thing that gets social media talking it’s a big event packed full of celebrities. Especially once it starts trending.
What struck me, waking up Monday morning in the UK, was the sheer volume of brands that were trying to piggyback on the night’s big events. The main talking point was Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first Oscar for The Revenant. This announcement saw an event-high 440,000 tweets per minute sent, smashing the previous record for Ellen DeGeneres’ celebrity selfie a few years ago.
With so much discussion taking place online, it’s only natural for brands – and sports teams – to want to go where their audience are. But should they?
Trending when it’s relevant
You could argue that, being an event held on American soil, the Oscars has a lot of relevance in the USA. Athletes from their professional leagues also tend show up as well, making it even more likely that fans will be interested.
Events like the Oscars become a chance for teams to show their playful sides:
.@LarryFitzgerald's #FitzPhotoBomb is still our favorite #Oscars moment of all time.#AZCardinals pic.twitter.com/ggFNWUllpw
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) 29 February 2016
This tweet earned the AZ Cardinals some fairly average (for their account) engagement – nothing that would suggest fans are interested in seeing their club get involved, but not bad enough to make them think again about getting involved.
It doesn’t really add much to the conversation though. I’d imagine it got a lot of impressions, but there’s a risk of clubs getting lost in the noise during such events.
The @MLS account, however, did actually make the effort to get involved in the Oscars by creating some unique content.
I think we know who the players are pulling for tonight… #Oscars https://t.co/bkvRZWbviW
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) 28 February 2016
Again there’s nothing stellar about the engagement figures we can see, but they’ve created some interesting content and leveraged their access to the league’s players which suggests an element of forward planning rather than a knee-jerk attempt to be part of the conversation.
In football, Bayern Munich used their American account to try and inject a bit of humour into DiCaprio’s win.
Congratulations on the #Oscars win, @LeoDiCaprio! Don’t worry, Berni’s friendly �� pic.twitter.com/2uLtx6jLGG
– FC Bayern US (@FCBayernUS) February 29, 2016
Munich’s 30,000 followers on its American account is dwarfed by the MLS’ 2m, but they achieved well over 10 times the engagement. So there’s evidence that, if done right, jumping onto trending topics can be successful.
How hard is too hard?
Last week the Brit Awards 2016 were held in the UK. It’s the country’s annual music awards, and big acts such as Adele and One Direction were there to pick up prizes.
Adele was arguably the biggest winner of the night as she took home four trophies on the night. Apparently she’s a Tottenham Hotspur fan, as the club posted this the following morning.
Congrats to @SpursOfficial fan @Adele on winning four awards at the #Brits2016 last night! pic.twitter.com/Ccf86DjZfb
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) 25 February 2016
There’s enough engagement to justify it, but is it really something you’d expect to see a sports team getting involved in? The argument is that this is something their fans might have watched, and by including the hashtag they’re potentially widening their audience. Like the Oscars examples above though I’m just not sure if it looks a little bit desperate.
Perhaps the approach could be one like Juventus used on Facebook. Clearly wanting to get involved in what was going on with the Oscars, they posted the following video but didn’t include any hashtags. This way it’s something just for their followers that won’t necessarily show up in any wider conversation.
In case you missed it, here's why everyone was talking about a certain Leonardo last night: Leonardo Bonucci.
Posted by Juventus on Monday, 29 February 2016
What do you think?
I’d love to know your thoughts on the issue. As fans – or employees – you’re well placed to decide whether you want to see your clubs using trending topics to post content. Let me know using the poll below.