A gold medal in PR: lessons from Olympians on how to win people over on social media

Triangle has been closely following the Olympic games and is keeping a proud tally of Team GB’s successes. But what we have also been impressed with, alongside top Olympians’ ability to win medals, is their ability to win followers over on social media.

Over 11,000 athletes from across the globe are competing in Rio 2016 and somehow, between tireless training sessions and intense competition, many have managed to build up social media profiles that offer us a behind the scenes view of the tournament and have us rooting for contestants, whom we feel personally connected to.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) allows participants to freely post pictures taken in Olympic venues, encouraging athletes to take to Instagram and Twitter to post updates of their journey.

Olympians have shown us the benefits of keeping social media casual and informal as they have posted updates of the very normal aspects of their lives.

Alex Morgan, American women’s football gold medalist posts views that could be confused by those tweeted by friends on our timeline; ‘Netflix is down??? My ‪#strangerthings‬‬‬ obsession is real and this outage just confirmed it. Pleaaaaaase fix this I’m begging’.

Alexi Pappas, Greek 10,000 metre runner, offers a comical spin that downplays her involvement in the fierce competition; ‘Last long run done before the big one. Me, the sun, a corn & my bun. Thinking of things I did & things left to be done.’

Whilst, Brazilian football player Neymar treats his 136 million followers to selfies with his family and friends that show a warm personality behind his usually displayed ‘game face’.

We’ve also noticed that fans respond well to athletes who promote positive ideals and respect the intended spirit of the Olympic games; that competitive sport is beyond nationality. Participants have shared personal accounts of camaraderie between athletes who are their rivals in the arena, in scenes rarely captured by television cameras.

A particularly touching selfie was shared by South Korea’s Lee Eun Ju and North Korean gymnast Hong Un Jong who were seen laughing together ahead of their events. The selfie has been dubbed as ‘iconic’ and shows that when a mutual interest is acknowledged, members of countries who are competitors in both sport and the diplomatic arena can get along, enhancing the social media following of each team and of the Olympics as a whole.

US gymnast Simone Biles has also shown that the tournament won’t get in the way of her friendship with rival for individual gold, Aly Raisman. Biles has displayed her support for Raisman in many posts, including a picture from their bedroom captioned ‘Behind the scenes: facemasks and head wraps’. Evidence of the budding friendships and mutual support between competing athletes has certainly restored many fans’ faith in the value of the international competition.

It’s safe to say that we’ve gained more from keeping up to date with the Olympics than just a distraction from the disappointing so called ‘great British summertime.’ We’ve gained a valuable lesson in winning people over on social media and hope to take note from Olympians who have kept their posts relatable, positive and enjoyable to follow.

[Pic: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez]

Categories: News Opinion PR