MONDAY 9 AUG 2021 11:52 AM


Social media platform, TikTok, has been flooded with content and commentary around the Tokyo Olympics 2020, thanks to an innovate comms strategy aiming to attract a younger audience and tap into the Gen Z market.

James Hayward-Browne, marketing manager at search-first creative agency, Rise at Seven, talks through the three pillars behind the Olympics TikTok strategy, beginning with organic social content. “If you have opened up TikTok over the past 2 weeks I guarantee you have seen the Olympics everywhere on your For You Page,” says Hayward-Browne.

An abundance of user-generated content from athletes and the official Olympics account, means the platform has fallen into Olympic-Tok. Since posting its first video last December, the official Olympics channel has now reached an enormous 3.2m followers and 39m likes.

The official Olympics account has rapidly grown its content by jumping on pre-existing viral trends and sounds. When Tom Daley won his first gold medal in the men's synchronised diving, the Olympics account used a trending sound featured on almost 15k other videos. The video congratulated Daley for joining the 'gold medal club' and rapidly gained over 3m views.

“Not only has the account got access to huge amounts of sporting footage that has been expertly repurposed for the platform, but they are latching on to current relevant TikTok sounds and trends with original content. Matching up such recognisable sporting moments and personalities with the trending sounds, has created a new level of engaging content as the athletes themselves are essentially acting as influencers for the brand,” adds Hayward-Browne.



User-generated content is also flying on the platform with top videos racking up tens of millions of views. This year's new sports have successfully attracted younger audiences with Skateboarding and Surfing both trending. Hashtags are key to driving online engagement, with the #Olympics gaining over 4.3 bn views alone.

Athlete generated content has successfully humanised the participants and made young people feel inspired and connected to these individuals. Cody Melphy, an Olympian with the Team USA men’s rugby sevens team now has over 950k followers on TikTok and 21.4m likes

The unsung heroes of the games have been those athletes that became overnight influencers, says Hayward-Brown. With sports stars in rugby sevens, athletics, surfing and water polo from countries including Brazil, Japan, Great Britain, Canada and the USA gaining huge followings. Not only does this benefit the Olympic Committee's own results on TikTok, but it also offers athletes the opportunity to increase sponsorship opportunities and bids for future funding, while also increasing social media and influencer marketing prospects.



“Not only is the Olympic channel thriving itself, but athletes are using the platform to showcase behind the scenes of everything the Olympic games has to offer. From the infamous cardboard beds to living in the village, the platform has given users a unique insight into the lives of Olympians, all whilst promoting the games themselves. The Olympics has taken over the platform and I expect many other events and brands will be taking note to produce similar tactics and success in future opportunities,” says Hayward-Browne.

This successful inclusion of athletes on the platform is a strategy that again can be used by other brands, who may encourage employees to create content and have a similar effect even if on a smaller scale.