3 Social Media Lessons We Learned from the 2015 Melbourne Cup


It’s the race that stops the nation and that penetrates our news feeds with glamour, horses, champagne and sometimes the unimaginable. Whether you support the racing industry or not, there are some key lessons to be learnt from the hype that is bought to Social Media as a result of the annual event that is the Melbourne Cup. This year’s event demonstrated some key points that businesses can use to develop their online presence.

1. Tell Me a Story

I like to compare the act of determining what to post on Social Media to a journalists job, always chasing a great story and a great headline. Social Media is obviously a different channel and opens up two way communication, but the concept is the same. The winner of the Melbourne Cup this year not only wrote history as the first ever female jokey to win the Melbourne Cup, but both her and her brother worked as a team through adversity to accomplish the achievement together. People love to hear a happy ending and this heart-felt story of the underdog’s achievement through hard work is aspirational and our news feeds loved it! Do you know someone who is quite ordinary but has made some great personal achievements? Celebrate them in your next post. Aspiration is a key form of engagement on Social Media and can be appropriately illustrated through storytelling.

2. Want a Click? Add a Visual.

How many photographs of fashion did you see, or advertisements for gambling websites in the week of the Melbourne Cup? Did you read any posts that didn’t have an image? In early 2015, Socialbakers.com looked at 30,000 Facebook brand pages and the top 10% of posts from those pages. The research found that the posts with visual content saw the most engagement, accounting for 87% of all interactions (Hubspot). The Melbourne Cup meant that colourful, joyous images were dancing across our page. Photographs of athlete’s, socialites, celebrities and the glamorous. Again an aspirational visual theme was developed and utilizing a similar strategy will increase engagement for any brand.

3. The Scandalous and our Opinions of Them

This year’s Melbourne Cup brings two outlandish video’s to mind – a female pushing a police officer at Flemington on Race Day and next, another streaking through the course. How do I know this happened? I watched both video’s on Facebook. It was mentioned that last year two horses dropped dead because of the heat and stress of the race, this headline was still a strong message on Social Media during this year’s event. Something so outrageous and really out of the ordinary being posted begs for people to express their opinions. Although I’m not recommending your business post a photograph of an employee expressing inappropriate behavior at the work Christmas party, its authoritive to post about issues and controversial subjects affecting your industry.

This is for three reasons:

1.     Engage with your audience
2.     Come across authoritive within your industry
3.     See how your market is responding to the changes or issues that have been raised

As a business, the most important tool you can use in marketing is knowing your target market. Is something controversial happing in your community? Strike up a conversation while remaining impartial to understand your buyers and where they stand. Does your brand have a strong connection with one of these issues? Companies should be leading topical conversation if it means something to their brand, helping to personify the connection between the business and the consumer. If people are passionate about something, they are bound to have an opinion to be heard about it.

For tips on how to promote your next event on Social Media, click here to see my blog post.


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