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How Jürgen Klinsmann Inspired a Nation to Play Hooky

Recently, my colleagues and I reaped the benefit of a marvelous social marketing move. On Wednesday Jürgen Klinsmann, the head coach of the US Men’s National Team (USMNT), tweeted out a note for US workers to give to their bosses excusing them from work. Why? Because that was when the USMNT was taking on Germany in a highly anticipated World Cup match, and Jürgen was calling for back-up. He got it. I’m happy to say that early Thursday morning, we received an official document from agency leadership that endorsed and approved Jurgen’s request.“Ole-ole-ole-ole” immediately surged through our office halls and we were primed. Watch parties popped up around the office at various screens and, in one form or another, people came together to support the US effort.

SocceRTC Work Note

Original Posted by @J_Klinsmann

Why was this such a great social marketing move? Let’s look at the components and see how we can all follow suit to increase social media impact and engagement:

  1. It’s relevant: In time and topic the tweet from Klinsmann was on target. While soccer is not the US national pastime, people have caught World Cup fever and 18 hours’ notice gave keen observers the perfect window to come together and devise a plan for the following morning.

  2. It supports a great story: No one expected the US Men’s team to do well in this year’s World Cup. C’mon, you know it’s true. Facing the team (Ghana) that sent us home from the last two World Cups, we had a long road ahead. By pulling out the victory, the USMNT became what so many sports fans live for, the scrappy underdog who doesn’t really have a chance, but hey, miracles happen sometimes. People love stories of overcoming adversity.

  3. It’s actionable: Great content and great ideas transcend the medium. This little tweet-pic was not only fun to share and support online, but it easily jumped off the screen and onto the page. The fact that someone printed, posted, and then re-scanned it so it could be shared throughout the company speaks volumes about engagement. Social media impact isn’t limited to likes, mentions, and retweets; it can create engagement among real-life, offline communities too. One tweet at our office galvanized one hundred. Get it?

  4. It’s win-win: A great way to test if something social is likely to spread is to ask yourself, “Who benefits from engaging with my content?” If the answer is just me (the author), then you should hear a foghorn and realize that was the wrong answer. If you chose the reader, your heart is in the right place… even if your head is not. This answer isn’t wrong, but there is a better option: If the content benefits both the author and the reader you get the best answer! In this case the USMNT got a ton of buzz and a groundswell of support and we got an unexpected break in the day where we could engage with co-workers and friends around a common interest.

While there are plenty of examples of good social media marketing out there, this really hit home for me. It was a great example of the things that can create impactful engagement and I was caught up in it just like everyone else. You don’t have to be on the national stage to re-create the effect that Jürgen Klinsmann did for his team. Think about how you can foster engagement in whatever space you play in. Just remember to make it relevant, support your story, make it actionable, and make it a win-win for you and your reader.

What do you think makes something engaging? We’d love to hear your thoughts or have you share examples of great social engagement in the comment section below.

And above all… GO Team USA! #letsdothis

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