It seems like only yesterday the screams of “It’s coming home” were ringing throughout the nation at the height of last year’s World Cup in Russia. Now it’s the turn of the women to show the world how it’s done as the Women’s World Cup takes place in France. With equality becoming a more prevalent issue in today’s society interest in the women’s game is at an all-time high. We take a look at how can marketers use Facebook and Instagram during the Women’s World Cup responsibly and beneficially.
With the conversation around gender equality gaining momentum and with sporting institutions and broadcasters alike leading the way in the celebration of women’s football. Instagram, in particular, has become vital in nurturing the conversation outside of match day. As with any community the social aspect is proving to be indispensable for women’s football fans. Well-known football freestylers are helping to extend the notoriety of women’s football, with accounts dedicated to the sport cropping up and reposting user-generated content of amateur female footballers. Everyone knows where they can watch matches when they’re on, but social media is providing a way for fans to engage with each other and find other like-minded fans. Providing an outlet to discuss issues such as gender equality when there’s no football on is a way for brands to interact with their audience through meaningful conversation.
The beauty of football, like any sport, is the way that it captivates the entire world whether you be a fan or not. Fifa’s motto is rather aptly “For the Game, For the World”. With this in mind, there are many different ways for you to engage your audience around major sporting events. This could be something as simple as an Instagram stories poll asking followers to hedge their bets on who will win a particular fixture. Maybe you can create a quiz around the teams involved and provide a prize to the winners. If, like many others, you’re waiting anxiously for a fixture then try a ‘Countdown’ sticker and create some hype leading up to kick off. When it comes to organic posts, research some keywords that have gained momentum since the beginning of the tournament and see how you might be able to work these into your post copy. Our advice would be to keep the posts relevant, misusing hashtags related to the Women’s World Cup could harm your brand’s image.
Accountability and Brand Voice
As we’ve previously mentioned the conversation surrounding gender equality has been brought to the forefront of society thanks to the Women’s World Cup, especially concerning equal pay. Despite there being a disparity still here in the UK with regards to the Premier League, the football associations of Norway and New Zealand are two nations looking to change this and so announced equal pay for male and female footballers in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Times are changing too where sponsorships are involved with Barclays, Boots, Budweiser and Lucozade all signing sponsors of women’s teams for the first time. Manchester City uses a hashtag #SameGoals as part of a campaign to not only highlight the talent of female footballers but also to host special events to further the prominence of the women’s game.
The focus here should be on the message. It’s time to think about what messages you are currently using, how to develop this and relate your brand to these topical issues. You may want to follow in the vein of Manchester City and create a hashtag that encompasses your aims as a brand that leads the fight for change. Make sure to incorporate this hashtag into the ad creative and ad copy for this brand awareness campaign. With Facebook’s advanced targeting it is possible to whittle this down to gender, and while you may be tempted to specify women only this could be damaging to any Women’s World Cup-related campaigns. A Nielsen study in 2018 found that 54% of fans of women’s sport are men! Don’t miss out on opportunities to reach the widest audience as possible during the tournament.
The extra attention on women’s sport during these championships means that brands can engage with the subject and events like the World Cup provide the opportunity for authentic discussions about empowerment and equality and sports. The organisation Together #WePlayStrong used this hashtag in 2018 to increase excitement around female football in Europe, beginning with an Instagram competition inviting girls across Europe to define what “strong” meant to them. 750 teen footballers from all over Europe took part in an attempt to highlight the skills, confidence and friendships created from the beautiful game. By March 2019 the campaign had reached 29,380 people on Facebook and 28,300 on Instagram.
Some more obvious, yet highly relevant, hashtags are the official hashtags of the tournament: #WWC2019 and #FifaWWC – gathering 9,245 and 84,865 at time of writing. These incredible numbers will surely rise as the World Cup gets nearer its end on the 7th July, so how can you get in there before the world cup’s end? Why not take your Facebook ads game to the next level and create ads in response to events that take place throughout the World Cup? You could prepare several ads with different copy and different creative ready to start (or stop) serving based off match results. When done in tandem with relevant messaging this will boost interest in your brand.
Facebook has even curated audience insights concerning the Women’s World Cup, highlighting the location and demographics of those talking about the tournament online. One statistic that is of particular note is the increase in Instagram engagement and involvement with these athletes. Before the Women’s World Cup had even started the combined following of footballers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa had jumped from 250,000 in 2015 to 4.4 million this year and the interactions with this combined these newfound sporting heroes increased from 1.4 million to 8.7 million. With these football stars now receiving the recognition they deserve; they could just be the next face of your influencer campaign. Perhaps it’s time for an overhaul of your current influencer strategy and testing the effect of using a woman to lead these campaigns.
Sporting events, big or small, bring people together. They bring people together in the offline world and online, sharing in triumph and heartbreak with strangers and loved ones across the globe. When there is a championship such as this that has an ethical element, the conversation online is even more active. The Women’s World Cup provides savvy marketers with the chance to be a catalyst for positive change by involving themselves in healthy debate but also increasing brand awareness and loyalty. Have you been tuned into the Women’s World Cup? Which of these tactics are you excited to try before one nation is crowned champion? Let us know in the comments below!