Here I compare some of the best and worst brand tweets I've seen during Euro 2016 and the Copa America.

It's a simple but instructive comparison, showing that brands can't succeed on social simply by sponsoring an event.

The good: Virgin Media

Virgin Media has a partnership with Squawka during Euro 2016. The football statistics publisher ensures that Virgin always has interesting and relevant content to use.

This is obvious when you look at the tweets that Virgin Media has been promoting.

They are interesting and entertaining, they use emojis in the right way (not just to be down with the kids) and they latch on to the biggest moments at the tournament.

As such, these tweets have received respectable reach for a brand (hundreds of retweets).

virgin media tweet

virgin media tweet 

The bad: Sprint

Sprint, the US internet provider, has sponsored the Copa America this year.

Unlike the Virgin Media examples above (which I saw promoted in my timeline), I can't be sure if Sprint promoted any of its own posts, but presume that wasn't the case, given the level of interaction with them.

The tweet below includes no image or details of the action it refers to. Although it may be punning on the Chile goalkeeper's name (Claudio Bravo), there's no way to know that after the fact.

If Sprint doesn't have the rights or the agility to post a still or a video of the save (or even the player), it needs to think more carefully, adding some stats or analysis to add interest.

Two hashtags and some stock photography does not a great tweet make.

sprint tweet 

Here's another example. Yes, extra time can be nerve-wracking, disheartening or maybe even boring - but the look on this chap's face is completely impassive, making the attempt at a meme completely flat.

Adding some social vernacular ('the struggle is real') cannot save the tweet from the strange image.

sprint tweet

Lastly, Sprint just goes for straight-up self-promotion.

It may seem harsh of me to say it, but nobody on social media is interested in your corporate logo.

sprint tweet

Write great tweets then promote them

It's not rocket science - social content has to be bona fide brilliant.

Good enough that people will share it despite the fact it has been posted by a brand.

That's what Virgin Media has done. The brand isn't even a Euro 2016 sponsor, but it knows how to tap in to the audience.

Virgin Media's organic tweets were nowhere near as engaging (see below), but they were mostly used to promote an online game (team builder), designed to offer greater interaction.

That's a nice strategy - having social content that allows for differing levels of engagement.

Sprint, on the other hand, shows us that brands cannot just wing it when it comes to social content. Working with a publishing partner, employing a specialist or just having someone on your team who understands the topic is vital.

Sprint created lots of brand awareness by sponsoring the Copa - the spray and pray approach - but outside of TV, this isn't enough. 

If you don't understand your audience, engagement will suffer.

virgin media tweet 

For more on Euro 2016, read the following:

Ben Davis

Published 4 July, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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