ISM 048: Keys to Small Business Social Media Success with the International Olympic Committee's Alex Huot - Rick Mulready

rick mulready

ISM 048: Keys to Small Business Social Media Success with the International Olympic Committee’s Alex Huot

April 7, 2014

alex huot ioc

In this episode of the Inside Social Media podcast, I welcome the International Olympic Committee’s head of social media, Alex Huot.  

I reached out to the IOC’s communications team right after the Winter Games wrapped up as I thought their work in Sochi would be a great case study for we small businesses to learn from.

It seemed that with these Games in particular, in addition to all the great story-lines, they had to deal with considerable negative publicity around Russian political memes and alleged poor conditions in Sochi.  A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, and images from the Games and the city seemed to be everywhere you looked online.

For Alex and his team, the Olympics present a unique challenge in social media because not only do they need a presence on the primary platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. but they also need to build a presence on the host country’s social platforms.

In this episode we get into how the IOC chooses these platforms to be on and Alex shares tips and strategies for how small businesses can maximize their social media presence within the limited time they often have.

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Specifically, In this Episode You’ll Learn…

  • How to leverage social media when dealing with negative publicity about your business or industry.
  • Alex shares tips for maximizing social media efforts when putting on a business event.
  • You’ll get a behind the scenes look at the social strategy behind the Sochi Games.
  • We get into the Dos and Don’ts of the major social platforms.
  • You’ll hear Alex’s biggest takeaways for he and his team now that the Sochi games are over and they head into the Summer Games in Rio in 2016.
  • And a whole lot more with Alex!

Episode Resources

Alex on Twitter:

Alex on Facebook:

IOC on Facebook:

IOC on Twitter:

IOC on Instagram:

IOC on FourSquare:

IOC on Google Plus:

Olympic Athletes’ Hub:

Sprout Social:

Social Bro:

Social Bakers:

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MP3 Download

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Insider Show Notes: IOC Social Media Lessons with Alex Huot

  • The necessity of using multiple social media platforms; there is no one size-fits-all platform that works for everyone in every scenario.
  • Before you even begin to build your social media presence, ask yourself what you want to get out of it? And from there, create a communication strategy that outlines the best platforms for your product, how you will create content for those platforms and how you will fund your entire plan.
  • The success the IOC had in using regional social media in Socchi, and the success small businesses can have in applying the same strategy to their local outlets.
  • The keys to choosing the proper social media channel for your product or service: don’t try to use them all. Start with one or two, find out if you are reaching your audience and move on to a different platform if you aren’t.

On the Do’s and Don’ts of the Top Social Media Channels…

  • There are nuances to each platform and different audiences for each platform, but you must be authentic wherever you connect with your audience.
  • Don’t think you have to be everywhere at once. Take some time to sort out which channel best serves your customers and it will be the one that best serves you.
  • Never, ever try to be something or someone you are not in the social media world. Your audience will see right through it.
  • Always be providing relevant and great content, and always be engaged.

On How to Deal with Poor Publicity & Being Proactive vs Reactive on Social Media…

  • Social media is a communication channel that provides  freedom for individuals to share their opinions. Respect it as such and welcome the opportunity to hear from your customers about what’s working and what’s not working with your business.
  • When using social media, it’s vital to be asking the question: “What am I providing for my audience?”
  • As a small business owner, you must understand the landscape of the social media tool you are using. And then be sure your point of view is clear so your audience can engage with you. With that clear point of view, you can avoid many problems.
  • A vital component of dealing with any kind of publicity is the education of your audience, and your own education about the social media platform you are using to connect and communicate with. Remember different platforms have different audiences.

On the Components of a Successful Social Media Strategy…

  • To run a successful social media campaign, you have to begin by knowing why you do what you do, who you serve and how you serve them. Knowing those fundamentals will focus your efforts.
  • Find ways to intimately connect with your audience and your customers; use social media to share a behind-the-scenes look at your business. Let people see the real you.
  • Photos provide an authentic look and a personal connection on the appropriate platform.

On How to Choose the Best Social Platform for Your Small Business… 

  • Your first step should be to take a step back and refocus on your product or service. Now ask yourself where you can find a really great place to help your product sell? For example, is it a visual product? Perhaps Instagram would make sense.
  • Now track your results. Are you getting the results you want? If yes, continue what you’re doing. If not, search for a new platform that is a better fit for you.
  • The name of the game in social media is authenticity and innovation. Be authentically you and your brand, then find an innovative way to spread the message of your product or service. Social media can and does go viral: innovation is the way to make that happen for you.


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