How Team GB won social gold during the Rio 2016 Olympics

Team GB has revealed how it won on social media during the Rio 2016 Olympics, using a small team to garner millions of impressions, views and downloads.

Team GB: 2016 marked its biggest investment in social
Team GB: 2016 marked its biggest investment in social

Chief executive Bill Sweeney told Campaign that 2016 marked Team GB’s biggest investment in social, though he declined to give figures.

The team experimented with newer platforms such as Facebook Live and Snapchat for the first time. Three full-time employees, plus seven volunteers, garnered reach of 64 million people, two million video views and 300,000 Team GB app downloads. The original app download goal had been 50,000.

Sweeney said: "We knew we would be in demand, we knew we had a strong team out there and that we would perform well. We wanted to maximise our reach as much as possible."

Head of marketing Leah Davis added that the way people were consuming sport was changing. "It’s about being where the fan is," she said.

Team GB media-trained athletes to feel comfortable posting on social media in the run-up to, during and after the Games, and also built a strategy to push content out across a number of platforms for the first time. It also used Spredfast to manage its social content, and relied on ambassadors to create new material, including ex-Olympians, celebrities and online influencers.

Asked how Team GB competed against brands with bigger social budget, such as Adidas, Sweeney noted that big brands used the Olympics ultimately to push products. "Ours is more personal, there’s a feeling of national ownership of these athletes." He also pointed to Team GB’s community efforts, such as its ‘I am Team GB’ sports day.

When it comes to advising brands how to make the best of social, Sweeney advises marketers to stay authentic. "Make the most of your strengths. Figure out your brand and differentiate yourselves. Stay consistent, and don’t worry too much about areas of concern."

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