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.
One of these things is not like the other
Every time there’s a new social media feature, a Snapchat ghost gets its wings. This month, Instagram launched a multiple choice quiz option for stories, LinkedIn added “reactions” to its timeline posts, and Snapchat updated its Android app altogether.
In the meantime, Facebook’s blog reads more like a list of recommendations from the House Oversight Committee: Safeguarding Elections in Australia and Teaming Up Against False News – sounds like they’re more worried about their reputation than their users.
I know I know… you’re going to mention that Facebook owns Instagram. But even though the company is the same, the brands are very different. Facebook may be able to copy the most popular IG features anytime, but it’s a lot more difficult to borrow good will. Guess they’ll have to keep hunting.
MillerCoors is taking a stab at a new marketing campaign by integrating its products into original Hulu programming. Product placement is not a new technique, but it’s a gamble on behalf of all beer advertisers that Adweek says is Hulu’s “most expansive integration ever.”
On the softer side of carbonated beverages, Coca-Cola just bought its way into the coffee business. It’s unclear whether they are just trying to get into a new market or they need more caffeine in their portfolio, but I’m sure investors’ blood pressure is going up either way.
In a world where kombucha beverages and flavored sparkling water are taking up more shelf space, these moves seem a little desperate. But at the end of the day, nothing is more American than drinking Coca-Cola, coffee, and Miller Lite.
It’s often stated as a disadvantage that large businesses cannot turn on a dime. Change requires monumental efforts; new processes and employee buy-in, soft launches, layers of approval, and hundreds of power point presentations. This culture certainly deserves its share of criticism, but it’s not all bad.
Small businesses have the luxury of quick pivots. At various stages of growth and development, it’s easy to adopt new software and new ideas. An organization with 20 clients can communicate more effectively than an organization with 20,000 customers or more.
Combine those small business advantages with the ever-changing world of social media and suddenly the communication possibilities seem endless. “My last Facebook post didn’t do so well, I’m going to try something different.”
But perhaps this is the point where big corporations can teach us a thing or two about branding and patience. It’s not without much deliberation that a Fortune 500 company launches a Twitter account. Marketing managers work with social media agencies to research target demographics, understand the customers’ persona, and develop the right tone with which to Tweet. Full time employees are solely in charge of social media, not interns or “whoever’s young enough to understand this stuff.”
As a small business, it’s important to understand this distinction and see it for its advantages. You don’t need a 20-page manifesto to start posting to Facebook, but you should have a basic understanding of your clients and customers. You don’t have to be so rigid that the strategy doesn’t leave room for adjustment, but you should establish some consistency and let your audience grow organically over time.
It can be very frustrating to work hard trying to build that social media following and feel like you’re spinning your tires; still no major engagement after several weeks or even a couple months! But over the long run, consistency will build a foundation of trust and your customers will know what to expect from you.
Take a cue from big corporations on this one – draft a social media strategy and stick with it. Make small adjustments over time, but always communicate with one cohesive voice. You’ll never get out of the woods by walking in circles; it may take a while, but walk in a straight line and you’ll eventually find a road.