This week’s Social Media Plays of the Week sees a big-name signing for a video game, a socially-conscious bookmaker, and an example of how not to pick a hashtag.
Will Atkins, Community Manager at The Playbook, has run the rule over the best social media action from the past seven days.
Pogba’s shock transfer to Verdansk FC
There’s been plenty of transfer speculation about Jadon Sancho to Manchester United and Kai Havertz to Chelsea – but they’ll have to go some to beat the buzz around this week’s big transfer reveal.
After a couple of cryptic posts, Paul Pogba stunned his 7.5m Twitter followers by announcing his “new chapter” with Verdansk FC.
A move from United to a little-known eastern European team? Not all was as it seemed.
For the uninitiated, Verdansk is a fictional city in Call of Duty: Warzone, who have a stadium as part of their map. To help promote the latest season of the wildly popular battle royale, Call of Duty creators Activision enlisted Pogba as their new signing – with the post unsurprisingly getting people talking, with a mixture of shock and surprise amongst non-gamers, and excitement from those in the know.
A smart and simple way to get people talking, it certainly achieved it’s objective of raising awareness for Warzone, and it will be interesting to see whether this is just a one-off, or if Activision have anything else planned to further their deal with Pogba. While it was an eye-catching post, there has been no interaction with it from the Call of Duty accounts, and failing to post anything on Instagram to the Frenchman’s 41.5m followers seems like a missed opportunity.
Given the increasing blurring of lines between sports and gaming (such as Fortnite including Jordan Henderson’s ‘Hendo Shuffle’ trophy lift in the latest update), and the fact that there’s such a clear correlation between the two target audiences online, expect plenty more cross-over content as gaming brands aim to tap into a rich market of young, male fans.
Phoenix Suns keep it in the family
Much has been made about the NBA’s decision to allow family members and ‘established longstanding close personal friends’ to the league’s bio-secure bubble, but there was some very wholesome content from the Phoenix Suns shot before the families were allowed to visit players at Disney World.
In what was clearly a surprise to everyone involved, the Suns handed the duties for announcing the starting lineups over to their families at home.
The genuine and authentic displays of excitement and emotion from the players made this a sure-fire winner on social, with over 14k retweets and 2.6m views for the original video on Twitter.
Paddy Power and Motherwell team up for a missing persons awareness campaign
Paddy Power are no strangers to inserting causes into their activations – with the campaigns ‘From Russia with Love’ in support of LGBT charities, and ‘England til I Dye’ raising awareness for Polar Bears International.
Their latest shines a light on the thousands of missing people across the UK – filling a stand at Motherwell’s Fir Park with blank silhouette cut-outs to represent the missing
The 1,190 silhouettes are designed to “spark conversations” across the country, with Paddy Power also placing posters of missing people across its 650 stores nationwide to help trace those who have disappeared, as well as making donations to the charity Missing People.
Paddy Power are fast becoming known as much for their social conscience as their daring stunts – and their willingness as a brand to push the boundaries is envied by many.
While the social amplification of the announcement was relatively lowkey, the eye-catching nature of the campaign sees it into the Plays of the Week.
Easter eggs = engagement
Success on social doesn’t always come about from big campaigns – sometimes a bit of creativity can bring a content calendar to life.
BWT Racing Point F1 Team have shown that through their fun and engaging presence this season, and their ‘Where’s Wally’ style images that preview the weekly Grand Prix regularly hit the mark, while giving plenty of Easter eggs for fans to spot.
This week is no different, with a Barcelona-themed image setting the scene for this weekend’s racing – and featuring drivers from opposing teams swimming with sharks, playing football or riding horses, all while Racing Point’s drivers stand on the podium.
The amounts of engagements Racing Point receive shows the value for a sports team not taking it all too seriously, as well as well thought out and designed content.
And finally… how not to do it
Washington Football Team have rightly received plenty of plaudits for the way they have pivoted away from their previous Redskins name, but they made a fairly basic error when picking a new hashtag for the upcoming NFL season.
Their first choice of #1932 fell at the first hurdle – when it was pointed out that you can’t hashtag numbers.
The Washington Football Team announced its new hashtag was #1932 but didn’t realize that you can’t hashtag numbers. pic.twitter.com/LWMayqxnqO
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) August 9, 2020
ok so no new hashtag yet ????
give us your options of what you want!
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) August 9, 2020
A lesson to all social media managers out there on the importance test any new hashtags or handles before they go live – but credit to them for quickly spotting the mistake and handling it so deftly. Plus, dropping a clanger like that on the unforgiving plains of social is certainly one way to boost engagement numbers too…
Will Atkins is Community Manager at The Playbook – the game changing communications, campaigns and content agency that has worked on the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, NFL UK, UFC and LaLiga amongst others.
For more information about how The Playbook can help you change the game, visit wearetheplaybook.com.
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