The results for Wired Social's social media strategy for rugby sevens’ debut at the Olympic Games were published this week, and we were somewhat delighted with the outcome.
Social media has long been a key component for a sport’s success at the Games according to the IOC, to engage a younger audience, and to bring fans closer to the global sporting event.
And at Wired Social, when looking at the strategy for World Rugby, returning to the Games after 92 years, we had a very clear understanding of not only the importance in this area, but also the possibilities – and some very bold objectives.
With rugby only assured of being in Rio, and in 2020, the biggest objective was to play a key role in maintaining the sport’s position at the top table beyond Tokyo. The second was to be the most engaged international federation from a social content perspective.
While the former won’t be known until next year, the latter was one of those certified by The Social Partners and Nielsen Sports with engagement across social (11.02m) more than all other surveyed international federations.
In addition, very reassuringly, was a further demonstration of how we got it spot on in meeting World Rugby’s objectives, to get more people playing the sport by reaching bigger audiences in new territories:
Growth in interest in #rugby7s (16.83 million new fans in 6 key markets) biggest of all sports thanks to social & broadcast
Biggest-ever social footprint for a women's rugby event
£360,000 equivalent ad-spend - greater than any other international federation
The Olympics provided a different challenge to that of Rugby World Cup 2015, most significantly not having any access to any video of any form from the event itself, but the secrets to success were very similar.
In reality lots of planning, relationship building, hiring experts, being creative with content, putting the fans first and being authentic with it, go a long, long way in helping anyone achieve their objectives.
Launching the #AreYouReady campaign ahead of time enabled us to engage with fans and raise awareness of the Games, and even play a key role in selling tickets through social media spend to assist Rio 2016 in hitting their objectives, which resulted in more than 500,000 people visiting the ticketing hub from World Rugby's social channels.
Additionally, as well as having language content executives in Spanish, French and Japanese as was done with Rugby World Cup, the Games was the first time World Rugby had done any content in Chinese, and with their recent deal with Alibaba Sports Group, being on their social media platforms seemed an opportunity not to miss.
All in all it was a game-changing and ground-breaking Rio Olympics for World Rugby, with our social media strategy at the heart of the successes.