Every four years (every two if you’re a winter sports fan), athletes gather under the Olympic flag and compete for the pride of their country. Despite the inevitable controversy and scandals, the show goes on and so does the advertising and promotion. Official Olympic sponsorship is far out of reach for most small businesses. The IOC and local organizing group vigorously protect those “official” sponsors and the dollars they represent.

Then along came social media and the now infamous # (hashtag). What is a hashtag? Well, in North America we used to call it a number sign, while elsewhere in the world they often called it a pound sign (as it was used as a Latin abbreviation for weight). More recently, however, it has become the universal identifier used by social media to group together topics for easy searching on various social media platforms.

The great part about a popular #hashtag is that you can tie your brand to it through active promotions. Take, for example, Team Canada. They recently started the #iceinourviens hashtag for the upcoming Rio Olympics with this video. As a proud (yet humble) Canadian, when I first saw this video I could immediately connect to it and knew it would go viral, at least here in Canada. A call to arms, a nation building theme that, yes, even us humble Canadians can get behind. Time for our brand can get behind it too.

The opportunity is here to support our team and help promote our brand by tweeting about it, and cross promoting during the games on several different social media platforms. Sure we may not be the top or trending for very long, but it all ties into an overall strategy, and reposts/retweets go a long way. Following the #hashtags close enough and throughout the games will allow you to congratulate athletes in the countries we work with, or retweet our partners content.

With social media being one of the major ways that people consume news today, it levels the playing field with the “official” sponsors who paid millions, meanwhile we sit side-by-side on the “Top” tweets.

Here at JR Direct, for over 26 years we’ve had the fire in our hearts and the #iceinourviens. Go make us proud #TeamCanada.