10 social marketing lessons from the Mayweather Vs Pacquaio fight


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The much-anticipated clash between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio took place over the weekend. So many boxing pundits and legends have stated that the presence of social media helped raise the popularity and gross earning potential of this fight. Let’s look at some of the social media marketing lessons that could be derived from the build-up and aftermath of the fight.

1) Create the buzz and excitement: This fight has been rumoured about for over five years. The buzz reached fever pitch when both fighters were captured in a basketball game in Miami. Fans read and heard varying updates regarding the fight. Via a tweet Mayweather created more anticipation and suspense by asking fans to download the app Shots. He used this social media platform to reveal the contract of the fight.

2) A compelling and overwhelming campaign title: The Mayweather Vs Pacquaio fight was tagged: “Fight of the century.” This to some was an exaggeration and to others it was fitting due to the pedigree of both fighters. It was a powerful theme for the fight that also helped to drive social media engagement.

3) Selfie as a marketing tool: We are currently witnessing the greater use of selfie’s as a social media marketing tool. AXE deodorant had a valentine social media campaign tagged: #KissForPeace. Couples and those in a relationship were encouraged to take a selfie capturing both parties having a kiss. Manny Pacquaio was seen taking a selfie before coming in for his weigh in. It did surprise many fans when he took a selfie before embarking upon the much-anticipated ring walk. Afterwards, it became very clear that Samsung endorsed Pacquaio to promote the Samsung S6 via Selfie’s which also got tweeted by the Filipino superstar.

Selfie of Pacquaio

4) Using memorable Hashtag: The use of hashtags for social media campaigns are now a very important technique. Some companies run social media campaigns with hashtags that are too long, less memorable or plain boring. Having a campaign with a hashtag that has a good ring or rhythm to it, will help pique the interest of people and increase engagement. The fight had #MayPac. This sounds nice and is short enough to prevent users from misspelling. A good example of a successful social media campaign that used a memorable hash-tag is Toys “R” Us with #PlayItforward. This campaign raised over $35.5m for kids in need.

5) Using numbers or statistics to facilitate campaign: Statistics or numbers are very important in driving a campaign. Numbers convince customers and potential customers on why they should partake in a social media campaign. The fight pulled some hard numbers like projected fight revenue of about $400m, larger than GDP of 29 countries, ticket revenue of 74 million, which exceeds super bowl XLIX live gate of $60m. The projections and hard numbers galvanised viewers.

6) Get the audience involved: Audience participation is a very important catalyst behind social media campaigns. During the weigh-in, HBO anchor Jim Lampley asked fans to vote for either the Filipino or the American. The sportsmail also carried out a voting contest that saw over 63% of the fans voting for Pacquaio over Mayweather. Getting the audience involved in social media campaign is very important.

7) Creating the element of surprise: Having a surprise factor in any social media campaign is very important to generating a positive response. The surprise was that this could be the first defeat of Mayweather’s career. The other surprise was that Mayweather could come out and fight toe-to-toe with Pacquaio and possibly knock out the Filipino. All of these permutations created surprise and anticipation for boxing fans.

8) User generated contents from experts: This fight saw an array of boxing experts like Lennox Lewis, Bernard Hopkins, Juan Manuel Marquez and a host of others. YouTube saw so many knowledgeable contents from these personalities. These clips drove views, comments and shares.

9) Creative use of acronyms: It takes creativity to create a new meaning for an acronym. Mayweather re-dubbed the MGM as Mayweather gets money. This was also shared by the fighter on Twitter. Social media campaigns should make creative use of acronyms or come up with memorable captions.

10) Make it personal: Manny Pacquaio used his social media account to reveal a lot about his family and faith. On his Instagram page, he shared moments with his daughter Israel. A study carried out by the CEB marketing leadership council in partnership with Google revealed that customers that engage with personalized and emotional messaging are 20% more likely to purchase at any stage of the purchasing decision.

Floyd Mayweather may have won the fight by a unanimous decision, but it did present a lot of insights on how to leverage on social media.

Image credit: sky sports.

Dateme Tamuno
Dateme Tamuno (Tubotamuno) is currently working as part of the SEO and PPC delivery team for UK based digital agency, Cariad Marketing. He has also completed a book on user-generated content marketing.


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