Rugby and Tweeting; an interesting mix!

Last weekend I had a weekend pass for my belated 40th birthday present from my wife and children which took the form of tickets for both days of Twickenham World 7s Rugby.

As an ex player and an avid rugby fan, I was very much looking forward to the weekend and, combine this with spending 3 nights at my Dad’s away from the interrupted sleep I get at home from my young family, the weekends appeal was even higher!

What I wasn’t expecting was an email the night before from the RFU promoting the use of Social Media over the weekend along with asking me to get involved with the key sponsors of the weekend – O2, HSBC and Marriott Hotels. Unsure of what to expect from the proposed hashtag (#7stakeover) and the Twitter account to follow (@Official_RFU), I set off to Twickenham.

Arriving at Twickenham early on Saturday morning to a carnival atmosphere, I decided to shoot a quick video on Social Cam of the drummers before I entered the actual Stadium which I then posted to my Facebook page and my Twitter account.

I then added the hashtag feed to my Tweet Deck account just to see what was trending (LMFAO was requested a lot!). Little did I know that Twickenham would boast over 103,000 people over the weekend and the social networks of Twitter and Facebook along with Social Cam etc were going wild. Thousands of people were Tweeting song requests which were broadcasted over the speaker system with the account holder credited. In addition, The Marriott Hotel were asking the crowd to “like” their Facebook page for the chance to win weekend breaks. The crowd could also “Tweet” pictures taken which, if selected, were posted onto the large screens at either end of the stadium.

Having “followed” the RFU Twitter account, I was also able to view scores in real time when I was in the car park having lunch so I didn’t miss a thing!

The final swansong was HSBC doing a 360 real time “Fan Cam” of the whole stadium and then allowing people to go in and tag themselves in the crowd, which I did – very impressive.

To me, the use of Social Media really impacted positively on the weekend and shows how, if embraced by organisations large or small, the likes of Twitter and Facebook can really play a huge part in enhancing customer experiences and promoting brands positively. By the end of the weekend, even my father who is 67 and a social media dinosaur, really understood how effective social media can be!


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