By now, most people who use the Internet have heard of the Olympic Athletes’ Hub, a website dedicated to the social side of the Olympics. This page contains a plethora of Olympic athletes’ Facebook and Twitter accounts, making it extremely easy for interested folks to find, follow and wish good luck to their favorite Olympians. It also hosts Q&A sessions with featured Olympians from varying sports and countries, allowing fans to feel connected to the athletes on a personal level. Furthermore, the hub offers contests and challenges to followers, giving site users more incentive to keep the Olympics on their mind and return to the page. All of these steps engrain the Olympics in the minds of the site users, and interacting with the hub helps them to extend their enjoyment of the Games.
What can businesses looking to perfect their online presence learn from the Olympic Athletes’ Hub? Plenty. The Olympics have perfectly executed a blueprint for what social media should be to a business or product: a complement. As professionals laud the necessity of social media accounts to a business, more and more companies are allocating too many resources to managing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, and other social pages. These companies are spending too much time and money on setting up and maintaining their social accounts without even acknowledging the fact that they cannot measure a visible return on their presence in the social world. Yes, having control of your brand in social media is vital to your business. However, your social pages should only provide some information about your products or services, and they should entice customers to continue on to your website and do business with you.
So, how can your company’s social pages mirror the Olympic Athletes’ Hub in terms of usability and effectiveness? Let’s return to what the hub provides. It centralizes all Olympic athletes so users can find the social presence of their favorite stars quickly and easily. If your company has a multitude of branches with separate accounts, you can host one general company account that can direct users to their preferred destination. If you are a small business that just offers multiple services, your pages can simply send potential customers to the right page on your website. Olympians answer questions asked by fans, who gain a personal sense of camaraderie with the athlete that responds to them. While you might not need to host a weekly Q&A, you can create the same feeling by responding to followers that post on your wall or tweet at you. By responding to your customers, you give your business a human element, and consumers appreciate that. Lastly, the Games encourage fans to stay connected by offering contests and challenges. One of the main reasons people follow companies on social media is to get deals from their favorite brands. You don’t need to give away free things every day; however, ongoing contests that engage interaction, such as uploading photos with products, keep your brand in the minds of customers and give them a better overall sentiment concerning you. All of these actions do not have to consume much time, but they let you own your brand in the social realm, and they keep customers happy and willing to buy from you.
The 2012 Olympics are being called “the social Olympics” by many experts due to the Olympic Athletes’ Hub and the overall connectedness of fans to athletes competing in the Games. You can easily make your business a social business by taking a page from the Olympics and setting up your social media accounts to encourage customers to interact with you past Facebook and Twitter. If your social media accounts properly funnel customers to your company website and correct product pages, your online business will increase and you will feel golden.