A Lesson in Twitter from Nike and Tiger Woods

At approximately 2:27 p.m. EST, on Sunday, April 14, Twitter erupted.

At that exact moment, Tiger Woods sank a two-foot putt, winning the 2019 Masters and successfully completing one of the sports world’s most remarkable comebacks.

Just minutes later, Nike dropped a 52-second video on its social media channels starring the golfer. In a matter of moments, the video was viral – garnering more than 26 million views on Twitter and another 13 million on Instagram. Three times as many people as Nike has total followers viewed, shared, and commented on the posts.

Nike’s tweet wasn’t all that special, when you think about it. It was just a quick video, a short caption, and a hashtag. The video even lacked a narrator, it was just a collection of clips from Tiger’s past and a pretty standard music bed. Nowhere in the tweet did Nike even congratulate the golfer.

The words that flashed across the screen along with the video’s images simply read:

It’s crazy to think a 43-year-old, who has experienced every high and every low and has just won his 15th major is chasing the same dream as a 3-year-old. Just do it.


It’s exactly that script and what the tweet didn’t say that made it so viral.

Undoubtedly, Tiger Woods is one of the most accomplished athletes in the world. His success on the links is internationally recognized, and the failures in his personal life have become just as public. He has played both the hero and the villain of his own story. People love to love him, and people love to hate him. And people really, really love to talk about him.

Once Tiger made that putt, millions of tweets – recognizing everything from his incredible comeback win to those above-mentioned personal shortcomings – were shared. Nike took full advantage of that. Their tweet simply contributed to the conversation. It was a conversation that they didn’t start themselves, so they didn’t try to control its narrative. Nike’s content was specific to Tiger Woods and incredibly relevant in the moment, yet just broad enough that people were able to take the content and make it their own.

People quoted and shared Nike’s tweet as they added their own opinions and gave their unique takes on the situation. As they continued to contribute to that global conversation, Nike’s tweet earned more and more impressions and its video collected millions of views.

Nike is a global brand, so it’s sometimes easy to assume that each piece of its marketing strategy is supported by millions of dollars worth of research and creative. That’s probably true. But, at its core, Nike’s very simple and very viral tweet can still serve as a lesson for all marketers, regardless of the size of our businesses, our budgets, or our clients.

Here are some common themes of a successful tweet that we can all take away:

  • Interact with your followers and attract new fans by participating in the global conversation
  • Increase engagement by sharing original, highly relevant content
  • Make that content more shareable by limiting how “salesy” it is
  • Don’t try to control the narrative, join a conversation and let your fans, your content, and your do the work

Nike did all of the above. Its homage to Tiger wasn’t just a congratulatory nod. It was a well-timed, calculated yet simple, extremely successful social media marketing effort – one that deserves just as much recognition as Tiger’s historic victory.

The Power of Pokémon GO

Love it or hate it, it looks like Pokémon GO‘s here to stay. The augmented reality game has become a viral sensation – dominating social media conversations, surpassing Twitter in daily users and sending Nintendo stock through the roof (at the cool tune of about $7 billion).

It’s also providing increased exposure to some businesses, which are listed as Gyms or Pokestops on the game’s mapping features, granting them an opportunity to convert the extra foot traffic into potential sales. 

If you’re a business owner, it’d definitely behoove you to download the app; even if just to check in and see if your physical location has been listed as a Gym or Pokestop. If it has, embrace it: throw a sign in the window or a clever sandwich board out front. Players will appreciate that, rather than turning them away, you’ve invited them into your establishment. This sense of appreciation goes a long way in helping a visitor to feel like a valued customer, potential or otherwise.

If your business is not currently listed as a gaming location, don’t fret. The game’s developer, a software company called Niantic, announced today that businesses will soon be able to pay a fee to be included as a “sponsored” location. By paying to be included on the map, your location could not only lure rare Pokémon and additional gaming features, but lure dozens, if not hundreds, of eager gamers to your doorstep. Imagine a coffee shop or bar moving some marketing dollars away from television commercials and other media to free up investment opportunites with Pokémon GO. Instead of having the occasional new walk-in, there’s the potential to fill seats with countless people sipping lattes, drinking beers and catching Pikachu. Pretty nifty, right?

But, as gamer Jason Evangelho explains, in addition to inviting more people to a particular business or public area, these sponsored locations could also result in opportunities for collaboration and increase the gaming experience altogether:

Local establishments that aren’t currently listed in the game as Gyms or Pokestops could potentially be added — and this is crucial right now for the player base and the sustainability of the game in rural areas where these locations are sorely lacking. It could also mean the chance for retail stores to partner up with Niantic to get volume discounts on “Lure Modules” (which attract both players and Pokemon to your location) or other promotional activities based on events, time of day, the weather, or even relevant to the type of product the store is serving up.

Basically, the game’s developers have recognized the rollout of sponsored locations as an opportunity for an additional revenue stream, and that working with the business community should result in a win/win scenario – for the game’s players, for local establishments, for Niantic, for everyone.

As with most things, it’s easy to say that the game’s a fad. That it’ll be replaced in the next few weeks with another craze. Personally, I don’t think so. I can’t even check my email while walking down the street or pop over to the park on a lunch break without someone asking if, “I saw that Rattata.”

In every way imaginable, Pokémon GO is a social and cultural phenomenon. It’s achieved more milestones in a week than Facebook did in three years. It’s wiped virtual reality, something that was being lauded not more than two months ago as the next tech boom, completely off the map. It’s teaching us things about the future of media that we never could have imagined for ourselves.

The power of Pokémon GO is real. We don’t all have to play it, but should all pay attention to it – especially those of us in the marketing and business worlds.

Bike Sharing: A Branding No-Brainer

Whether you’re an avid outdoorsman, corporate exec, young professional or an emerging twenty-something like me trying to find your way; chances are pretty good that you’ve heard about NYC’s bike sharing program: Citi Bike. Media outlets like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and HuffPo, and audiences on Facebook and Twitter, have been validating and scrutinizing Citi Bike’s arrival to the Big Apple.

New Yorkers won’t accept Citi Bike… Citi Bike’s here to stay. Citi Bike won’t have enough riders to make the program worthwhile… early Citi Bike passes have already sold out. Citi Bike’s saving the planet… it’s leading to New York’s demise. Citi Bike, Citi Bike, Citi Bike. And when you hear Citi Bike, you’re hearing Citibank, the program’s key financial sponsor.

That’s right. When New Yorkers and tourists hop on the blue two-wheelers and head down Broadway, they’re doing more than riding a bike; they’re actively strengthening a brand by becoming a mobile advertisement.

In today’s society, where sustainable activities are becoming increasingly popular, bike shares allow residents and visitors in urban areas to access alternative, eco-friendly, quick and easy transportation. Likewise, these same programs are becoming an increasingly popular way for forward-thinking brands to generate more attention.

More and more of you see banks, corporations, universities and non-profits sponsoring bike sharing programs in developed urban areas throughout the country. Even hotels, such as Starwood’s Element Hotels, are offering bikes to their guests as a part of their Bikes-to-Borrow campaign. The hotel is not only providing a quick and easy mode of alternative transportation to their eco-loving patrons, but also introducing a fleet of mobile advertisements that allow the hotel’s name to reach all corners of an urban area.

So, the decision to sponsor a bike share should be pretty simple, right?

Businesses are given the opportunity, for a fee of course, to purchase a fleet of bikes, develop specialized “bike parking depots,” and then advertise that they are offering such a service. Though the preliminary expenses may appear daunting to a fledgling brand trying to market itself in an urban area full of distractions, the benefits can greatly outweigh the cost.

Citi Bike riders took nearly 8 million trips in 2015.

Recent studies have shown that the majority of bike share participants are millennials. You know, the young people who are willing to pay a fee to ride a bike during their commute before they support buses and taxi services that add to congested city traffic while emitting who-knows-what into our air supply. They, along with their trendsetting, early-adopting friends and co-workers, are riding these bikes to bars, restaurants, parks, concerts and the office with ease. The more people that see the bikes, the more people ride the bikes. And the more people that ride the bikes, the more people introduced to your brand.

In addition to getting their brands out to a large audience, the sponsors who choose to support bike shares enjoy particular financial benefits in the end. For example, Citi Bike, despite its mixed reviews at start, has sold 10,000 memberships, put its corporate logo on over five hundred Citi Bike depots and generated countless hours of earned media mentions and exposure.

Recent studies show that a brand sponsoring even the smallest of bike share programs in a metropolitan area could equate the sponsorship opportunities to a total of $2.8 million in annual media value. Some may say that those numbers alone make sponsoring a bike share a no-brainer, and we tend to agree.

Andrea Learned, an urban bike enthusiast, marketing professional and sustainability communications strategist, sums it up best.

Learned says, “Branding your corporation through bike share (or sponsoring bike events) these days is a powerful way to reflect awareness of what is hip and what is smart, without having to put out a press release about how hip and smart your brand is.”