The IOC has produced an infographic outlining the effect social media is likely to have on the coverage of the London 2012 Olympics this summer. Despite increasing its presence on popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, the IOC has also launched its own social media platform known as the Olympic Athletes Hub.
The introduction of the dedicated Olympics Hub builds on huge increases in Facebook and Twitter use since the Beijing Olympics in 2008. It will provide teams, athletes and their fans the opportunity to engage directly.
The number of Facebook users has grown over eight-fold since the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and Twitter use has increased from 6m users to 140m during the same period. However, the IOC has decided to host its own online hub, rather than simply take advantage of ‘traditional’ platforms.
The Virtual Olympic Village
If anything, one of the primary functions of the Olympic hub will be to redirect traffic to personal profiles, fan pages and sports websites. However, the site itself will take the form of an online forum and much more, allowing interaction between athletes and fans.
Over 1,000 athletes will share their results and engage in live chat sessions with fans. Considering the pressure heaped on international sports men and women to act as exemplary role models, this is a fantastic way for them to cut out the media middle men and show their true personalities to a large, online community.
This will serve as an opportunity to not only raise their personal profiles, but also increase support for their teams and interest in the sport itself. Amateur sports always face the challenge of attracting new followers, and the Olympic Athletes Hub provides an opportunity to initiate conversation.
Grass Roots Engagement
As a tech PR agency with experience in the value of social media campaigns for start-up businesses, we see the value of direct engagement with fans and investors for amateur athletes. While the initial buzz is being generated around London 2012, the Olympic Athletes Hub appears to be an idea with long term ambitions.
Despite the wealth of investment initiatives building up to an Olympic summer, budding athletes and new sports still struggle to raise the money and awareness to live the Olympic dream. By centralising Olympic based web content, athletes and sports will gain traction on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, amplifying their social media voice for future campaigns.