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Get the ball rolling to find new customers – by Meta’s Fares Akkad

By Fares Akkad, regional director for MENA at Meta

The 2022 football tournament is already a highly anticipated event, with fans immersing themselves in a 24/7 digital and socially connected experience: in a recent survey, 8 out of 10 people say they check social media, message friends or browse online while watching live sports. With over 480 million active people following a football-related account on Facebook and 330 million people following a footballer on Instagram, Meta is the #1 destination for football content. Meta wants small businesses to take their shot: this year’s tournament is an unmissable opportunity to join the conversation, boost sales and find new customers. Here are some ways to get in the game.

Have a game plan

We want to kit out your business with everything you need to tackle brand goals in our complimentary football hub. You’ll find creative ways of connecting with new customers through messaging that matters most to them. We call this building a connected brand; this strategy focuses on building connections–rather than running campaigns–through considered delivery, storytelling and measurement.

Go global

Football is the most popular sport to be watched online across the world, creating a global community of fans ready to engage. While big brands pay millions for official tournament sponsorships, small businesses can stake a claim in the conversation. Create content–such as Instagram Guides of fixture analysis or player round-ups–that appeals to football enthusiasts worldwide or engage with fans on Meta platforms to boost brand awareness.

Leverage the ecosystem to drive sales

Adapting your products and services to feed off increased consumer spending around major sports events is an effective way to drive purchase intent. Think about the ways your business can leverage the football ecosystem to create marketable solutions: what do customers need and what can you provide? Highlight your venue for viewing parties; sell sporting goods or affiliated merchandise; advertise TVs or electronics; promote match-time meal deals; offer “if your team wins” promotions…the possibilities are endless.

Enable shopping technologies

Boost online sales by enabling customers to buy via Facebook or Instagram Shops. Shops provide you with a virtual storefront where customers can easily browse and purchase your products or services. You can curate special football-related collections of products or offers, then add swipe-up links in Stories, or product tags on Instagram posts or Reels so people can shop directly from the content you share.

Get ad-savvy

Make sure you’re reaching the right people with personalised ads; remember, reach is the most significant media driver of ROI. Use locally relevant dynamic ads to speak to people in your community and drive traffic to your physical storefront, or extend your reach to football fans across the globe through broad targeting for a sustained duration. Trigger sales on specific products people will need during the match through collaborative or carousel ads, or tell your brand story through in-stream video ads.

Score high with video

94 per cent of footballers on Instagram posted Stories during the last football tournament in 2021, making this a prime channel for boosting engagement with your followers. Bring your business to life with behind-the-scenes Instagram Stories of your venue getting match-ready, and add interactive polls, links or comment boxes to prompt engagement. Reels are ideal for introducing new people to your brand, as these short-format videos are broadcast globally based on interest. Keep in mind that +80 per cent of Reels are viewed with sound-on, so have fun with voiceovers, audio and music.

Optimise your channels

Meta expects people to watch big sports tournaments across different channels, which is why it’s important to maximise your engagement potential across multiple touchpoints and experiment with content formats. Create and share product photography with football-themed backgrounds, unleash your creativity with video, or try VR and AR to make an immersive and interactive experience for football fans. You can even start a conversation about upcoming fixtures or results with customers on Messenger or WhatsApp.