20 May 2010

Social networks work if you're interesting

I’ll come clean. I’m a runner. I love running and I love talking about running. I’m not alone. Most runners are exactly the same.

Göteborgsvarvet is the world’s largest half-marathon event. It's a business like any other and the organisers want to stay in business. And the organizers also realize that runners love talking about running. So they started a Facebook fan page and it’s a huge success.

“Our target audience is very committed,” says Göteborgsvarvets marketing manager Mattias Grahn.

“They're out every day, training all year round. We refer to running as an individual folk-movement. It’s individual in that the sport is simple, voluntary and you train when you want. It’s a folk movement because of the thousands doing it and the common bond between runners. Runners feel a connection to other runners, they belong to the same group. And this suits social media very well.”

When Göteborgsvarvet started a fan page on Facebook, they attracted 1000 fans within 24 hours. Most postings get between 5 and 20 comments and the shelf-life for most updates on the fan page is 12-24 hours. 10% of the race's entries are from Stockholm but 50% of the Facebook fans are from Stockholm so there's clearly an urban focus on Facebook. This also gives the race a great way of connecting with the Stockholm runners.

For entrants to Göteborgsvarvet, this race is, in most cases, the biggest goal of the year for them. They train all year round to run this race. Most of those who enter want to perform well and 80% do it because they think its fun. So, the Facebook fan page and Göteborgsvarvets communication reflects these values. Everything they do is checked first to see whether or not it is line with the race’s vision to be perceived as Europe’s best running event and one that contributes to improving people’s health and creating an enjoyable atmosphere.
Grahn is in an enviable position as marketing manager. 50,000 people signed up to this year’s race months ago. They can’t take any more race entries but Grahn wants to stay offensive. The next step is to get even closer to the target audience and have a conversation with them. The Facebook page helps them do just that.

Social networks and fan pages aren’t for everyone but if you’ve got a subject that people like talking about, if you’re clear about your vision and goals and if you have a loyal customer base, then social networks can be a fantastic way of communicating with your target audience.

But remember to check those boxes first. Is your subject or business worth talking about? If it's not, then don't try to use social media for the sake of it. Make yourself interesting or use other methods.

If you’re running on the 22nd, good luck.

Colm O'Callaghan
is JG Communication’s Head of Operations so when he’s not blogging he’s looking after the day to day business at this wonderful communicaitons agency.
So, who’s JG Communication? We’re Sweden’s largest and, we think, ‘leading’ communications agency in Sweden. We help our clients have conversations with the people that matter most to them using the tools that matter most to us, words, sound and vision.

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