Gold Medals aren’t just won at the Olympics. For gymnasts, each competition presents an opportunity to bring home new hardware - whether big or small, domestic or abroad, a driving force of the USA Gymnastics social media coverage is to amplify those experiences and make our audience feel present in those moments. The way we cover competitions has shifted dramatically over the last year; gone are the days of simple tweets and infographics, here to stay is the use of short-form videos to bring athletes and audiences a new way to see the sport they love.
Because some of the biggest gymnastics meets of the year happen on international soil, USAG has the unique task of bringing the sport to our fans in an engaging and robust way. With our coverage of the 2022 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool, our goal was to foster meaningful connections between Team USA and spectators by conveying the personalities of U.S. athletes and the excitement of the competition. We created, posted, and promoted videos at a higher rate than ever before, providing fans a live look at the life of a World Champion.
To truly understand the magnitude and magnificence of gymnastics, you have to see it. There’s simply no way to articulate a gravity-defying flip or a showstopping routine through words – that’s where live event video coverage comes in. We were able to bring the World Championships to life on social media by putting video at the forefront, capturing and creating upbeat, short-form content and collaborating on competition highlights from training all the way through the final competition.
The plan was simple, give the people what they want – SHOW gymnastics. To do that, we created Instagram Reels and shared them on all platforms. Reels gave us the opportunity to literally amplify the athletes’ performances, in competition and training. Even with gold, silver and bronze medals rolling in, our most-viewed video of the World Championships was a compilation video of the women’s podium training. Set to Normani’s “Motivation,” the reel motivated 279,000 viewers and garnered over 20,000 unique engagements just on Instagram.
Not without challenges, live event video coverage can spread a communications team thin. The way USA Gymnastics has adapted to cover competitions could scare off even the most seasoned social media manager, but we truly believe the positive feedback stemming from giving our fans access to the sport has only reinforced why we moved more resources into the video space. Now, more than ever, a video has to be catchy, creative, and evergreen. It can’t be too long or too lofty. It has to resonate with everyone – there’s truly a sweet spot. The solution is a piece of content that shows the insane aspirational talents of gymnasts, backed by the influential music of the moment. With this in mind, we created live event videos set to trending audio, pushing the likelihood that the content would continue to be picked up by social media algorithms beyond just the current competition.
During the two-week span of the 2022 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, videos that USA Gymnastics created and collaborated on for the event logged 1.6 million cumulative impressions and over 100,000 unique engagements. Instagram showcased upbeat training montages while longer competition videos were posted and amplified on Twitter, generating a wide array of coverage and content across all of our social media platforms. Totaling more than 26 hours of viewing on TikTok, short-form videos quickly became imperative for fresh content, reaching a wider audience and helping to promote the sport even more.
We took these results and pushed our video coverage even further as the season progressed. During the 2022 World Trampoline Gymnastics Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, our social footprint grew once again thanks to our ability to cover the competition with video replays and highlights. During the four days of trampoline and tumbling competition, our video coverage of the event hit over 620K impressions, 62K engagements, and 830K total views. The numbers are clear, people want to see gymnastics and we're excited about the innovative ways we're bringing it to them!