The 2012 Olympic Games were projected to be the most “social” of them all.
We’ve seen “10 Pinterest Accounts That Celebrate the Olympic Spirit.” NBC and Facebook cross-pollinate on London 2012 coverage. And a Ralph Lauren-clad Team USA made fashion waves when basketball player Kevin Durant turned up all preppy chic on Instagram.
And, even more interestingly, it appears that Team USA swimmers (bonafide gods to many American girls) Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte duked it out in one other place besides the Olympic-sized swimming pool.
According to a just-published social audit report from Attensity, key themes in Olympic-related frenzy across Twitter, YouTube, blogs, forums, and other social sites were most prominent in fan excitement leading up to the opening ceremony, as well as fans wishing their favorite athlete luck.
In a drill-down on positive and negative sentiment, Attensity found that positive mentions spanned marketing or event-related coverage, and negative sentiment had to do with “a dislike for sports or annoying commercials.”
Between June 25 and July 24, the #London2012 hashtag starred in more than 18,500 tweets, and swimmer Ryan Lochte lit his own torch when on July 19, he tweeted that he would field live phone calls from LochteNation fans – his Tumblr fan blog. Attensity Analyze used Voice tags to measure spikes in social conversations – and found that over the time frame the study was conducted, Ryan Lochte earned a 99 percent “positive” rating, while Michael Phelps settled in at 96 percent – just enough for the notorious pink speedo-sporting swimmer to take home gold.
“We were amazed by the volume of conversations centered around Phelps and Lochte and the insights into the respective popularity of the two swimmers,” noted Michelle de Haaff, vice president of strategy and corporate development at Attensity. The study reports that by Lochte posing a question to his fans with a, “Who wants a call from me?” it had dramatic impact over simply saying “I want to talk.”
Lochte also saw his sentiment spike when he made a cameo in AT&T commercial “Warming Up,” which got conversations surging when the video was posted on his Facebook page. Attensity’s sentiment details indicate that fan support for Ryan Lochte accounted for 50 percent of positive comments, while Michael Phelps garnered only 30 percent.
Clearly, swimfans reacted to Lochte’s social marketing savvy, but let’s see if Phelps takes gold where he really wants it – the pool.