6 Social & Content Lessons from the 2018 Winter Olympics


The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea recently ended, and I must say I enjoyed tuning in to see all of the interesting sports that I honestly had no idea took place during the winter games.

I originally tuned in to see how, and if, NBC did anything different with social media this year, but I was able to quickly pick up on a few content tips during all of the ice cold sporting events. I've identified six that will help you on your content journey!


Age ain’t nothing but a number

Imagine training for the Olympics day in and day out and having the chance to compete in the quadrennial event to then get beat by someone who is half your age. For those competing in many of the events, especially in snowboarding, this is a harsh reality.

But believe it or not, those who are relatively "new" at the sport (Chloe Kim) can still compete with the big dogs (Shaun White).

With that being said, don't feel as if you're too late to jump into social media or that the point to try something new is behind you. There are plenty of people who are still making the transition over to social media as well as those who are experimenting with ads for the first time. Never feel as if you don't have the skills to compete. 

Sometimes you have to dive into this content thing head first

Regardless if you're a social media newbie or a "social media expert" (whatever that is), there are times where you'll want to get your feet wet with content that may not match your typical voice or use graphics that are outside of the box. You will never know if your new style works until you try it out.

Yun Sung-Bin, the 2018 skeleton gold medalist from Korea, knows a thing or two about trying new things. After only three months of training for the skeleton, he won the 2012 Korean national championship. Talk about a high adoption rate.

Yun Sung-Bin.gif

It's always best to stand out from the crowd

I don't even want to begin to tell you how many social media prep course ads I've seen on Instagram and Facebook that all look and sound the same. Each course claims they have the secret to getting you 100K Instagram followers so you can work from the Maldives for the rest of your life. Wrong.

I would be much more interested in a course from someone that was more realistic and has taglines and photos that don't look so staged or unrelated to the topic at hand. Believe me, there are many ways to tell a story that is both direct and distinct. Once you find that sweet spot for your quality product, you'll keep customers coming.

Eva Samková of the Czech Republic knows exactly what I'm talking about. I watched her, and her famously-painted mustache, take home bronze in the women's snowboard cross. When I went to search for her photo for this post, you can only imagine what I searched for...

Mustaches can be patriotic too. 🤔

A post shared by NBC Olympics (@nbcolympics) on

Always keep an eye on your competition

In my opinion, figure skating and gymnastics are the best sports in the Olympics. The slightest move can determine if you stand tall and proud on the podium or if you don't medal at all.

This year, all eyes were on 15-year-old Alina Zagitova and 18-year-old Yevgenia Medvedeva of Russia. These two young women currently dominate the sport and everyone was anxious to see who would come out on top. In the end, Zagitova took home the gold which absolutely devastated Medvedeva since she has been the world champion for a few years.

This same swift motion to second place can easily happen to your brand. The last thing you want to do is let your competition step into your territory and take the lead in a line of business that was clearly meant for your company.  Instead of keeping a live eye on your competition's moves, try to determine their next steps (or jumps!) long before they make them. There are often many social cues that can predict this such as a social media break, pivoted messaging or new followings/interactions. 

Russian Skaters

If your campaigns fail, go back to the drawing board and start over

There will come a time when the social media campaign you just knew would increase the numbers for your business simply did not perform well that quarter. When that happens, don't take it as a sign of failure. Yes, money was spent, but everyone knows you have to spend money in order to make money.

Take the time to reassess what went wrong. Was the messaging a step or two off? Was the copy weak? Were the gifs not funny? Assess why your CPC is $10 and try again.

Here's where you can take a page out of Lindsay Vonn's book. The American ski racer won gold in Vancouver 2010 and then suffered injuries so bad that she had to sit Sochi 2014 out. She came back this year and took home a bronze in the downhill. Be like Lindsay and let your content persevere. 

Be yourself and be "the most fun"

I'll be blunt here: No one wants to follow or interact with seemingly automated accounts or read a blog that's mediocre. It's important to give people a reason to stay engaged for the long haul.

Think about the celebrities or influencers you follow. Most of their social media profiles have a mix of professional/business and personal content. You may catch them posting about their new clothing line one day and then see that they're out with their friends downtown a few nights later. Your brand should follow suit by posting behind-the-scenes content that gives your audience glimpses into who you really are.

Adam Rippon knows a thing or two about letting personalities shine. He was so much fun to watch on television during PyeongChang 2018 and his Twitter is also full of gems. He was easily the breakout star of the games and he can make strangers feel as if they know him personally.

Can you get others to feel the same way about your personal or professional brand?

What else can the Winter (or Summer!) Olympics teach content creators? Let me know in the comments below.