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/The Social Olympics/

The 2012 Games have finally arrived and it is looking very likely that London is set to host the most social Olympics in history. The past few months have seen numerous reports about how the various social media platforms are preparing for the surge in Olympic content and opportunity. For example, Facebook is to team up with international broadcaster, the BBC, in order to provide Facebook users with live streaming of Olympic events.

This is an exciting prospect for social media users as it will present them with a unique opportunity to engage and interact with the Games in a revolutionary way; sharing Olympic moments live with friends as they unfold. Complementing this is a live-chat feature whereby viewers are able to engage in Olympic chat with other fans, whilst watching the events.

With regard to this, in a recent interview, General Manager for BBC News & Knowledge said: “We hope to use it to test the benefits of social viewing, as part of our ambition to deliver more innovative and transformative experiences to sports fans.”

Recent statistics from Mashable show that Twitter has 500 million users, sending 400 million tweets each week. You can follow the Olympics on Twitter – @Olympics, and at Facebook.com/Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is providing a variety of social ways for the global community to get involved with the online chat taking place on social media. The IOC has launched an online Olympic Athletes Hub, with a variety of new features.

Examples of this include the launch of the ‘Inside the Olympic Village’ feature, which has been developed to host conversations with Olympic Athletes. The Twitter and Facebook social media platforms will also be used to announce when ‘chats’ are taking place.

The second feature of the Olympic Athletes Hub being implemented by the IOC is the ‘Olympic Challenge’ page, which is encouraging interaction with fans by inviting them to compete in guessing Olympic event outcomes. This is a great way for the Olympic brand to engage social media users and increase brand awareness, at the same time as providing a fun way for people to get involved with the Games.

In addition to the excitement surrounding the Olympics, my other motivation for this blog was to demonstrate the role that social media can play in events management and organisation. In fact, it has a role to play before, during and after many events.

For example, at many B2B and B2C events alike, social media can be used to encourage discussion before an event through the use of hashtagging, Facebook and LinkedIn events. During the event, Twinterviews and tweet-ups can also be used to encourage interaction and increase engagement. Often, at roundtable events and conferences, questions can be submitted to the panel in advance, via social media.

Following an event, social media is also extremely useful for maintaining relationships with new contacts, keynote speakers and existing contacts.
Frequently, we are tasked with devising a tailored strategy for event promotion via social media. Is this something that your organisation is fully exploiting?

I am looking forward to observing the various social media platforms throughout the Olympic period to see the innovative techniques used by brands and athletes to harness the rush of Olympic content on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

As always, please get in touch with your thoughts on this. Will you be getting involved with the interactive social media content set up by the IOC?