The UFC has 20 million followers across all social media channels, 80 brand accounts, and they use paid media, branded content, sponsorship integration and influencer marketing to successfully market their product.
Their most recent event, UFC 200, was one of the most successful in UFC history, with over 13 billion impressions. They had 3.2m engagements on Facebook, 246m impressions on Vine, their custom UFC200 emoji was used over 1m times, their Instagram had 4.3m engagements and they gained over 270k new fans across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during the event.
What can we learn and apply to our own businesses?
1. Embrace New Channels: It doesn’t end with Facebook and Twitter. According to Shanda Maloney, Director Of Digital Marketing & Social Media for the UFC, “Keep up on new platforms and understand that your audience is engaged on those platforms. If you are going to have a voice in the space, create content that is unique to that platform/audience. Don’t assume the best practice is to push the same content across every platform.”
2. Focus: You can’t be all things to all people, so don’t try. Do you really need that Tumblr page? If you’re going to explore new platforms, go all in. It’s better to choose a few social media channels to focus on, than to try to be everywhere. If you want to take on new channels, call in an agency or reach out to influencers.
3. Look At The Data: One of the most important pieces of a successful social campaign is looking at your metrics and understanding what they mean. According to Maloney, “Many times I see people reporting cold metrics like ‘this is how many followers we gained’ or ‘this is how many posts we made.’” Instead, you should be reading further into the data to understand how the numbers can help you determine the type of content to share with your followers, or more importantly what to stop doing immediately.”
4. Tell A Story: Be consistent, have a purpose, and try to give your audience an emotional connection to your product. The UFC does an excellent job at putting the audience in the fighter’s shoes. What does it feel like to enter the ring? What is going through their mind before a fight? Telling a visual story (photos, videos, live stream) is a great way to engage your audience.
5. Plan Ahead: If you’re not using a social media calendar to schedule your posts in advance, you’ll constantly be in “reaction mode” trying to catch up with trending topics. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to be part of a trending topic, national holiday, celebration, etc.
UFC 201 will be held on Saturday, July 30th and you can guarantee that they already got their calendar filled with fun and interesting content. At the end of the day, it’s all about telling a story and this applies to the UFC or a product launch. What story are you telling?