Social Media Marketing Lessons from Euro 2016

Your fans are your biggest advocates. Recognizing them can generate huge rewards, as was proven with Orange's Euro 2016 marketing campaign. We broke down their strategy to find valuable lessons for all marketers.

Social Media Marketing Lessons from Euro 2016


Social media exploded around Euro 2016. Sponsors invested in huge marketing campaigns tied to the event, encouraging their millions of fans to take to social media. We saw a common trend where brands put football fans in the spotlight. Acknowledging these passionate football fans motivated them and many others to participate, and resulted in outstanding engagement on social media.

Orange were one of the best, creating a compelling integrated campaign (with their agency POKE) that reached football fans around the globe. Rather than focusing on star athletes and national teams, they focused on the people that make events like these possible: fans

What made their campaign so successful?

Incorporate celebrity spokespeople

When choosing an ambassador, select carefully. Be sure to choose someone who you want to be associated with. Make sure they accurately represent your brand and can leverage a large audience of their own fans. Orange used French football hero and current Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane – and his legendary status contributed to the campaign’s success.

Remember to use traditional media

Though digital media can reach various audiences and create dialogue, it is still important to use traditional media. Television can be used to drive viewers to websites and social media pages, and reach audiences that are not as active online.

Orange used television to kick off their campaign. Once audiences became aware, they took to social media to participate and sought out further content created by Orange. By adding the same video that was screened on television, along with additional campaign assets to their YouTube channel, audiences were able to share the content on social media and build a conversation around it. If they missed it on television, they could always catch the clip on YouTube.

Use the hottest technology – when it fits your campaign

Using the latest technology to spread your messages shows audiences that your brand is adapting, and combines the novelty of experiencing something new with receiving another aspect of your campaign. It also gives audiences new ways to interact with your content. This can keep them engaged longer during the course of a campaign and help you avoid message fatigue.

Orange made use of Facebook 360° video in their campaign, which became the most engaging individual social media post of their entire campaign. It was viewed 4 million times. Its effectiveness can be attributed to the Facebook tool’s popularity – with users all over the world immersing themselves in virtual experiences daily, 360° video stands out.


Don’t forget about the real world 

Bring your campaign to life by using events and stunts. Audiences are more willing to participate if they can see results. This creates an opportunity for companies to get creative and inspire their audience. Using a combination of tactics keeps it exciting and increases brand awareness. Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising, so give your audiences something to talk about. 

Orange combined their social media campaign with lighting the real-life Eiffel Tower. Depending on which team received the most support on social media, they would light up the Eiffel Tower in that country’s colors. This connected fans’ online support with temporarily changing the face of the Parisian capital for a night, further motivating fans to cheer from their devices.


Leverage popular events 

Leveraging events such as Euro 2016 gives brands the ability to enhance both brand image and awareness. Furthermore, associating products or services with well-known events can enrich brand equity and help acquire new audiences. 

Orange’s integrated campaign was a huge success on social media, partly because they were able to base their campaign around an international event that is already rich in publicity and passion. Their hard work paid off and their public engagement on social media skyrocketed, increasing by 212% in the course of one month.

The Takeaway

Your fans are your biggest advocates, and are the most willing to spread your message and interact with your content. Instead of basing their campaign around the players on the field, Orange showed support for the fans, whom they describe as the “The Real Stars of Euro 2016.” 

Fans were extremely receptive to the message because it was a shift from old and recycled themes, which are traditionally centered around football teams and athletes. Remember: It doesn’t hurt to share the spotlight.

Social Media Consultant

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