British Rowing represents all aspects of rowing – from the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain, up to and including the Olympic and Paralympic games, to developing the sport and growing participation across all forms of rowing in England. The breadth of our responsibilities can sometimes make the promotion of the sport challenging. British Rowing has been working with Black Swan over the past few months to help better understand how we can leverage social media to support our role as the national governing body for rowing.

Rowing in the News

We’ve used Black Swan’s Socialnaut tool (part of their Nest Platform) to help us with this. Although rowing is a year-round activity with ever increasing numbers of participants, there are a number of key events which grab the public’s attention which we can capitalise on in order to continue to drive interest in the sport. Besides the huge interest the sport receives during the Olympics and Paralympics, we also need to focus on annual events such as The Boat Race and Henley Royal Regatta.

Conversation is Key

There are a number of ways in which British Rowing can use Socialnaut to support any activity around these events. For example, tracking the social conversation around The Boat Race helped us understand who the key influencers were. Socialnaut provides a simple visualisation which establishes who tweeted the most and the overall number of followers they have. This means we can easily identify any potential supporters for us to partner with, and help to drive engagement at future events. For example, Lucy Mecklenburgh from The Only Way Is Essex tweeted her congratulations to Cambridge’s winning team – not someone we would have associated the sport with previously! We have huge numbers of potential influencers we can contact, so this extra insight allows us to focus-in appropriately.

Content is King

We can also use the tool to understand how we can shape our own content. Searches have been created to track how fans of rowing feel about particular events, and to understand public opinion towards our athletes and the sport in general. For example, we could track the reaction via Twitter to the appearance of an athlete such as Helen Glover or Katherine Grainger, understand why the conversation is positive towards them, and use this within the content on our own properties.

The work we’ve been doing with Socialnaut has been a great help to us, and continued use will be of real benefit in our work to promote rowing to a wider fan base.

Sophie Galasinski has worked in communications for almost 7 years, both agency and client side, and is Head of Communications and Marketing at British Rowing. She is responsible for the delivery of British Rowing’s marketing and communications strategy, and is a passionate supporter of the sport.