Cricket is one sport that evokes innumerable emotions with Indians. Fans have embraced every format of cricket, IPL, T20, Champion’s Trophy; you name it. But the traditional form of cricket, the ODI World Cup (ICC Cricket World Cup) is that time in every four years when the state of mind for true blue fans is ecstatic, touching the ‘rave’ borderline!
Gully cricket as a near-legit format has been practised for years in the country. Every millennial has had the opportunity to have experienced the spirit of the game in its true essence. Sachin Tendulkar was seen playing on the Mumbai streets with a bunch of enthusiasts during the 11th season of IPL. The cricket fever that had gripped the Indian fans started doing rounds on the social media and many cricket connoisseurs doubled it up as part of their social media strategy to promote their page and business.
2019 will witness another significant ODI World Cup and what better timing for marketing agencies to pull out all stops to leverage on this #CricketSeasonFever and promote their brand parallelly?
A study by Forbes indicates 83% of fans check social media while watching sports on TV and 63% of them use social media while at the stadium. So, smart brands understand hashtag marketing on social media works the best during these times.
1. Star Sports India instituted a hashtag #WontGiveItBack during CWC 2015. Considering India was the reigning champion for the season, #WontGiveItBack struck a chord with the emotional want of the fans to retain the trophy. Twitter was inundated with this hashtag usage and reiterated the importance of the cup for the star players.
2. Vivo smartphone in association with Star Sports launched the #VivoPerfectFan campaign during the IPL season. The engagement gave the fans a chance to tweet about their favourite team and what makes them the perfect fan. The best answer won the participants a Vivo smartphone. The hashtag got around 2000 mentions on Twitter alone!
3. #BleedBlue was another cricket season campaign rolled out in association with Nike. Cricket is all about uniting people with the spirit of the game. People wore #BleedBlue t-shirts and tweeted all about it across the season!
Few tips on how to do it right with hashtags during the cricket season -
Save the Children is a global not-for-profit organisation which has its footprint in India. With the world getting ready for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, the organisation is providing field and a platform for street children around the world to unite and improve their quality of life. The cause is endorsed by Saurav Ganguly and is planned to be held at the Lords cricket stadium, England. With hashtags #TheInvisible, #IAmSomebody #StreetCricketWorldcup2019, the news is making rounds on social media.
So, even if for a cause, smartly using hashtags to promulgate the story can get you a lot of mileage.
B. While creating hashtag strategies, the content in focus needs to reflect what the hashtags possibly purport, genuinely. Misleading or misinformation can cost you your reputation.
When telecom giant Airtel launched the hashtag #T20onAirtel4G during the IPL T20 season, it initially received a lot of traction. But the claim was challenged by Reliance Jio stating that Airtel was falsely declaring live & free access to the coverage. So, Airtel had to carry a disclaimer saying, “Under the offer, only subscription to video streaming platform Hotstar would be free and data charges according to the subscriber’s plan will apply.”
C. Pick hashtags that are relatable, easily understandable, engaging, intriguing, crisp and concise.
ATLBalaji in association with Adidas launched the first 3D superhero squad, i.e., #IIISquad, as in each ‘I’ or each player from the 3-member squad, Rohit Sharma, K L Rahul & Rishabh Pant or it also looks like 3 stumps on the outset.
D. But, because a hashtag sounds interesting, do not forget to do your research and homework before using it as part of your campaign.
Although not a sporting example, a good case study of how not to jump at using hashtags – Entenmanns, a baking company hadn’t researched what #NotGuilty was trending on social media. It was a hashtag for the outrage of a famous case. Their single tweet “who’s #NotGuilty about eating all the treats” received a considerable backlash, and they were made to delete the tweet.
E. Hashtags have to go well with the DNA of your brand. For example,
Dairy Milk came up with their #FansOfJoy contest, where the viewers were supposed to share their happy moments during the world cup.
In a nutshell, cricket season allows brands to engage with audiences, share their opinions, provides social media platforms to connect with other viewers, share interesting videos and images about the game and win a barrage of goodies. It is possibly the best time for brands to leverage on the craze and get people talking about your business.