The Social Media Revolution: Boosting Endurance Event Sponsorship

The Social Media Revolution

Forbes Magazine argues that “When it comes to how sponsors are desiring to spend their sports-related dollars, one trend is certain: Digital and social elements win the day.”

Social media has completely revolutionized the marketing and advertising industries. Event sponsorship has even more benefits as social media sharing and implementation has skyrocketed. B2C marketing has been transformed by the “viral effect.” This means to say that reaching a larger audience has become the matter of the click of a button. Sharing a post on almost any social media outlet opens the door to millions of views and has a much larger impact than the various standard, and now obsolete, marketing techniques of the past ten years.

Endurance Events & Social Platforms

When it comes to Endurance Events there are three stand out sharing platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Pic2Go The Color Run Facebook: Facebook, with its 1 billion registered users, is most effective in reaching a large audience, including both sponsors and fans. It is by far the most dominant social media platform. Sharing photos, developing a fan page or creating an event invitation on Facebook, can foster more brand exposure than any other social media outlet. Facebook events hype up the excitement for Endurance Events and help publicize the races.
Posts on Facebook get 39% more engagement if they include a photo. Fans are most receptive to posts that feature a photo and are also more inclined to share posts that include photos. When a link includes a photo, the target audience is much more likely to click the relevant link.
When it comes to Marathons, Triathlons or OCR races, participants are eager to share their accomplishments by means of photos from the events. Just one photo share is subject to thousands and thousands of views.

Twitter: Twitter targets a very specific demographic of people. Yet, at the same time, any tweet can be seen by anybody. That means, with a creative hashtag or campaign slogan, B2C companies can zone in on their target audience while simultaneously reaching larger less familiar crowds. Additionally, Twitter is a great way to get brand exposure because of its database is full of loyal and dedicated users.
With the ability to “retweet” posts, companies can rely on fans to help reach a greater audience and increase exposure prior or subsequent to an event. Tweets that include photos, get 35% more retweets. Occasionally, sponsors create competitions, in which race participants are asked to share their race photos, offering a prize to the photo with the most retweets.

Instagram: Instagram, although fairly new compared to other social sharing platforms, supports 300 million viewers. Big brand companies like Nike, Starbucks, Red Bull, all use this platform as marketing tool. Easily, these companies can post inviting photos, including a link to the companies website, allowing users to immediately have access to purchase a product they have seen.
Individuals who use Instagram also can create their own photo campaigns, simply by sharing photos and hashtagging them. Instagram helps brands market themselves to a specific audience. Users of Instagram love celebrating their successes and passions by posting photos to their accounts. After a big race, runners revel in posting pictures of themselves at the finish line of any Endurance Competition. These posts often include hashtags relating to the event: #telavivcolorrun or #ironmanhawaii.

Boosting Event-Sponsorship through Social Media

How are brands using social platforms to boost sponsorship?

In 2014, The San Francisco Marathon, which attracted over 25,000 runners, offered free digital download of pictures, featuring the sponsors’ logo. For the 2015 marathon, the event coordinators are using Instagram as a way to build up excitement for race day and offer even more brand exposure for ZICO Coconut Water—one of this year’s sponsors—by posting photos from past events as well as pictures of ZICO products.

The 2015 Nike Women’s 10K in Quito, Ecuador offered free digital photos to its runners. With the innovative race photo-tagging technology of Pic2Go's Sponsored Race Photography — runners were able to instantly share their race photos same day of the race. With 1,750 participants posting their pictures through social media, there were 1.95 million Facebook impressions made.

Underarmour, who sponsored the 2014 Dublin Tough Mudder, is being advertised together with the event, in the Youtube video created for race. The video, which is now being used to promote the 2015 Dublin Tough Mudder, highlights the Underarmour brand by showing participants wearing their sportswear.

The 2016 Ironman 70.3 Italy has a fan Facebook page with over 5,600 likes. The cover photo of the page features a large inflatable starting line with the Timex logo, one of the major sponsors for the event.

For the 2015 Frankfurt Marathon, participants were invited to help design the ASICS eventline t-shirt. Via the marathon Facebook page, runners were able to submit their own designs to be printed on the ASICS’s shirts. Ultimately several designs were chosen by the event administrators and participants voted for their favorite one. The winning design was sent to ASICS for production and posted on the marathon’s website and Facebook page for preordering.

Pic2Go 2D Barcodes in Bibs TLV Marathon
Samsung, the main sponsor of the 2015 Samsung Tel Aviv Marathon, had its logo stamped on the 100,000 race photos taken at the event. Pic2Go offered these photos free to the race participants, of which 9,000 chose to share their race photos on Facebook.

Social media platforms are the new driving force behind excitement for Endurance Events. With thousands of Endurance Events held across the world, sponsors are reaping the benefits of the newfound global desire to share endurance based achievements and successes through social media. As the number of event coordinators and participants using social media sharing continues to surge, sponsors have an immense amount to gain.

Written by Sarah Marlowe - Marketing and Sponsorship Advisor at Pic2Go

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