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The ultimate social media cheat sheet

It is fair to say that it seems that everyone these days is glued to social media. Whether it’s a continuous stream of tweets or a Selfie in every location known to man we are now a generation obsessed with sharing.

With most social media users accessing platforms on the go from their phones and tablets it’s no wonder that the posts that grab the most engagement include some form of image or video, they are fun and easy to view and stand out from the sea of text based posts on users’ newsfeeds. This is why picture and video apps like Instagram and Vine have become increasingly popular, it’s true what they say, pictures really can say a thousand words.

When it comes to engagement, posts that include photos get around 39%* more interaction that posts without. Facebook and Twitter are constantly updating their apps and sites to provide the best platforms for media sharing and there are now thousands of ways to stand out from the crowd using visual media.

Here are our top five tips for sparking engagement using photos and videos on social media:

  1. Have a caption contest. Get your followers involved by letting them come up with an amusing caption for your image, it gets conversation going and a bit of healthy competition.
  2. Use quote pictures followers identify with quotes and then want to share them. It’s a win-win.
  3. Have a message to go with you image, whether it’s a team picture or a new product, have a message to go along with your image. Make sure you have all links included too.
  4. Use short video clips there’s a reason why apps like Vine and Snapchat are so popular, their videos are short sharp clips that can be filmed quickly and watched anywhere.
  5. Make sure your image fits, there is nothing worse than uploading amazing images to your social media channels only to find that they don’t sit properly or don’t look as good as they did on your phone.

Following the success of our Social Media Timeline we created in January, we put our heads together again at Prohibition HQ and decided to create a resource that would help anyone looking to amend their social media channels. We have created the Ultimate Social Media Cheat Sheet to help you quickly check the best formats for posting pictures and videos across the most popular social media platforms. Feel free to go through it and use it at your leisure. Did we miss something of the cheat sheet? If so what was it?


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Adidas has shown how to correctly respond to a crisis situation, by suspending one of its endorsees Tyson Gay, the world’s second fastest man, after it emerged that the triple world champion tested positive for an illegal substance.

It is important for brand reputation purposes that Adidas was seen to be enforcing the suspension; even sticking by his side until there was a final verdict could have reflected badly on the brand’s image. I think Adidas was right in this decision, especially as Gay has admitted to being guilty to the claims, saying “I made a mistake…I will take whatever punishment I get like a man”. Despite Gay being on Adidas’ books since 2005, it was the right move for the brand as a positive drugs test doesn’t reflect well on its corporate image.

An authentic reaction from the brand is also important, as it demonstrates sincerity, instead of releasing an automated statement on its company policy for these sorts of situations. An Adidas spokesperson said: “We are shocked by these recent allegations, and even if we presume his innocence until proven otherwise, our contract with Tyson is currently suspended”. In the past, sponsors used to give a standard press statement hoping it would distance them from a situation, which is why in this case Adidas has been smart in taking the matter seriously as it is aware that its consumers will be listening and affected.

Responsibility for action in a crisis is down to the sponsors as well as Gay’s team; the public’s brand connection lies morally with the company, and as sport is such a global industry, Adidas plays an important role as a brand. Merely distancing themselves from the U.S. sprinter with no action would have made it look like they can’t control their own business and manage a crisis situation. Being honest and clear about what its point of view was on the Tyson Gay situation meant Adidas will be seen as a morally right brand and consumers will feel they are able to trust them.

Social media enables the brand to actually see the response of its customers instantaneously which is more important than what the mainstream media are commenting.



Consumers often praise brands for being on the ball and open about any issues, showing how important it is to react to crisis situations. Adidas has been right to face the allegations head on and make an immediate comment on the matter, rather than burying its head in the sand, which other brand sponsors have been known to do.

For example; Li Ning, a Chinese sporting goods company who sponsor Asafa Powell, another athlete who faces failed drugs tests, haven’t yet commented or taken action on his allegations. Being unresponsive in the digital age is not a good look at all, so Adidas’ quick reaction makes the brand look bold and decisive in their decision to distance themselves from the athlete during the allegations. Indeed, if Gay’s B sample, which he is taking this week, backs up the findings in his A sample, he faces a 2 year ban and may never run again; the repercussions for the brand if they hadn’t suspended the athlete would have become a lot more serious.

This was a guest post by Gemma Payne who visited our offices as an intern for the last two weeks.

The Ups and Downs of Football and Social Media: Part 2

In my previous article on football and social media I looked at the impact social media has had on fans access to players, and the problems that it had already caused. Since then things have not improved.

It’s impossible to ignore the story that has taken up a large bulk of the season; the John Terry racism row. Terry was alleged to have made racial comments about Queens Park Rangers defender during a match. Terry was found not guilty with Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle saying that the case was not about proving whether Terry was a racist or not and that he had heard a great deal of evidence that proved is not. However, Riddle also said, “It is a crucial fact that nobody has given evidence they heard what Mr Terry said or more importantly how he said it.”

Many were surprised by the decision, with some expecting Terry to be made an example of. Talk Sport’s drive time Twitter account, run by presenter Adrian Durham said, “Magistrate basically says John Terry said the words “f****** b**** c***” but can’t be sure it was an insult. Read that back. Incredible.”

Rio Ferdinand, brother of Anton, stirred up further controversy by replying to a tweet made by an Arsenal fan calling Terry’s teammate and a witness for his defence, Ashley Cole, a “choc ice.” Ferdinand responded by saying, “Choc ice is classic hahahahahaha!!” When people started responding to Ferdinand he described it as sarcasm and that choc ice was another way of calling someone a fake. Devonshire Police have said they will investigate the initial tweet to Ferdinand after receiving complaints from members of the public.

Given the amount of work that has been made by the FA, the Football League and charities such as Kick It Out to try and rid football of racism, this whole affair has left English football very tainted. It is understandable as to why Ferdinand may have been angered by the verdict of his brother’s case against John Terry, but he put himself at risk of fines and suspensions by giving agreeing with someone whose comments on Ashley Cole could be perceived as racist.

It is encouraging that since the start of the Olympics the athletes have managed to keep themselves out of trouble. Despite laying down rules for the athletes to abide to, which I have written about here, many have signed off their accounts for the next few weeks to concentrate on the competition.

The police arrested a 17 year old after sending an abusive message to British diver Tom Daley yesterday, saying that he’d let his recently deceased father down. He later sent a number of apologies to Daley saying “I’m sorry mate I just wanted you to win cause it’s the Olympics I’m just annoyed we didn’t win I’m sorry Tom accept my apology.” Police were unable to comment whether the arrest was made because of his comments to Daley or due to other interactions.

Perhaps now is the time that clubs and the governing bodies need to lay down firmer rules for player’s use of social media. Should football’s relationship with social media continue to go down the path it is, it cannot be too long until it finds itself having to deal with a major crisis.

IOC Lay Down Social Media Rules

The Olympics is the highlight of every athlete’s career. It can be a once in a lifetime opportunity, something to be cherished. Previously, we knew little of these Gods. Now we are closer to them than we have ever been with many of them flocking to Twitter. This has the potential to cause the International Olympic Committee some headaches, which has resulted in the body laying down specific guidelines for athletes, a list of do’s and don’ts that they must adhere to.

It’s worth noting that they are not trying to discourage the athletes from posting, tweeting etc. In fact, they are encouraging it. The guidelines are set in place to make sure that the games are spoken of in good spirit and that the athletes are not just using social media to flaunt their sponsorships which conflict with those of the games.

Athletes are told that they must write tweets, posts and blogs in diary style in the first-person. They are not allowed to comment on other athletes about information that may be confidential or talk about their competition. This is, in my opinion, to keep the games good natured. Unlike other sports, gamesmanship isn’t welcomed in to the Olympics. Fans aren’t interested in showboating, but that’s not to say that they don’t want to see characters, such as Phillips Idowu. The rules stop athletes from getting in to slagging matches like other sports seem to create. Instead, it means the focus remains on the skill, speed and strength of the individual athletes.

“Postings, blogs and tweets should at all times conform to the Olympic spirit and fundamental principles of Olympism as contained in the Olympic Charter, be dignified and in good taste, and not contain vulgar or obscene words or images.” This is something I fully agree with. Footballers seem to get in to trouble with social media on an all too regular basis. Marcus Babel, at the time a Liverpool player, received a £10,000 fine from the FA for mocking up a picture of referee Howard Webb in a Manchester United shirt, implying that Webb was biased. This isn’t the sort of behaviour I would want to see from athletes at the Olympics.

There are some, though, that believe that the guidelines are ambiguous. Jeff Merron, from ReadWriteWeb, says, “If fans prefer interactions that the committee deems unseemly, though, they’ll be out of luck. What one person considers in good taste, another may not? In one culture, a word may be considered an obscenity, while in another; the same word may rarely raise an eyebrow. While many calls will simply rest on the committee’s judgment, in most cases the remedy will be simple: The IOC will issue a takedown notice to the participant, simply stating that the content must be removed from the athlete’s Facebook page, Twitter account or blog. The consequences of failure to comply are not clear. The committee threatens sanctions, but it hasn’t yet specified specific penalties.”

Although the wording does leave the rules open to interpretation, I believe that it is still fairly easy to understand what they mean. The IOC wants any messages and pictures from athletes to show the games and the athletes in a good light and to not bring the games in to disrepute. Obviously the athletes will have to use their own judgement on what they can and cannot share. I would simply ask myself one question before pressing tweet, “Is this in good spirit?” If the answer is no, I’d rethink sharing it.

Euros Cost Sees Fans Stay Away

Every two years another major tournament rolls around and England fans are normally dusting their shorts and St. George’s flags off before travelling on mass and taking over several cities (except for 2008 thanks to the Wally with the brolly). This year it’s different. It’s is believed that England have brought numbers in the low thousands to the tournament, which seems odd considering how many followed them to South Africa in 2010, with around 25,000 fans travelling, and to Japan and Korea on 2002.

England Supporters Flag

Thanks to Ell Brown for allowing us to use her picture


One of the main concerns for fans is the cost. Given the current financial climate it’s difficult to justify such luxury spending, especially when many will have a family who will want to go on holiday as well. As soon as the hosts are chosen, the cost of hotel rooms and flights nearly quadruple as they know they will sell. Unfortunately for most men they will have the voice of reason telling them to go to Marbella instead.

After being awarded the Championships, the Ukraine government believed that over one million football fans would enter the country in June. However, the State Boarder Guard Service has said that only 37,000 fans have entered the country since the start of the tournament. England’s opener against France was attended by 47,400 fans, but it is reported that only 2,800 England fans attended and only 550 from France.

Cost isn’t the only issue. Racism is a problem in Poland and Ukraine and it has already been witnessed by a number of teams. Maverick Mario Balotelli has even threatened to walk off the pitch if he is racially abused and UEFA have said very little to help deal with the problem.

Violence is also a concern. Although the England fans are often accused of being hooligans, it is worried that with elements of the former Soviet Union coming together with Russia, there will be trouble. There have already been fights between Russian and Polish fans in Poland which started when around five thousand Russian fans marched to Poniatowski Bridge in the capital to mark Russia Day. After suffering under the rule of Russia during the Cold War many fans took this as a form of provocation and over 183 arrests were made.

Ukraine has suffered from a lack of pro-active PR activity. Since they were awarded the Championships in 2007 there has been very little coming out of Ukraine to draw more than just football fans in. Once the tournament is over, Ukraine will be left with a number of four and five star hotels that they are going to struggle to fill. Like the UK with the Olympics, now is the time that they need to start promoting all that is good about their country if they are to leave any sort of legacy.

British Boxing Blow-Up in a PR disaster for UK Sport

British boxing has taken another beating after the actions of former World Heavyweight Champion David Haye and Dereck Chisora brought the sport in to disrepute. Haye, who retired after losing the title to Vitali Klitschko, was looking to restart his boxing career by demanding a title rematch during the post-match press conference between Chisora and Klitschko, a video which has quickly spread across social networks.

However, Chisora took offence to Haye’s tactics and the two squared off in an impromptu brawl, with Haye’s trainer Adam Booth receiving a nasty cut on the head from a smashed bottle. Both men may now face jail time with Haye, accused of causing grievous bodily harm, facing the possibility of spending six months to ten years in prison if found guilty. Chisora stands accused of malicious injury and a threat which combined could lead to a six year prison sentence.

The saga must have been an embarrassment to World Champion Klitschko who was looking on from behind the microphones. He said, “I’m totally disappointed, it went a little too far, the sport of boxing shouldn’t be like that.” Having faced both men, he must have been relieved at the thought of possibly not having to face them again.

Both men are also facing the prospect of lifetime bans from the British Boxing Board of Control. The whole weekend of the fight has seen them face an onslaught of bad publicity due to the behaviour of the two. In the pre-match press conference, Chisora slapped Klitschko in what was seen as a complete lack of respect towards the champion which to him having part of the fight purse suspended.

The irony of all this is that it would be a stupid move for the BBBofC to ban the two fighters. Although having shown no respect towards their own sport and acted in an embarrassing manner, Haye returning to boxing to fight Chisora has the potential to be a high drawing match. Chisora will likely face a form of punishment from the Governing body, while the only way the BBBofC could deal with Haye would be to ban him for life as he is no longer licenced unless they were to broker a deal if he returned to the sport. Promoter of the Chisora vs. Klitschko bout Frank Warren has even hinted that the two fight each other and the winner receives another shot at the World Heavyweight Title. Now how much of a punishment is that?

The Ups and Downs of Football and Social Media


Despite the rift between the lifestyles of the ordinary fan and players getting ever wider, social media has helped bridge the gap, giving followers much demanded access to their heroes. Once upon a time fans used to associate with players in pubs and join them in drinking a pint and sharing a cigarette, now they follow them on Twitter.

Nowadays, players can occasionally be seen in a nightclub, but if you really want to know what they are getting up to you follow them, not literally of course. A large number of high profile players and ex-players have quickly gained another level of notoriety through these streams. But is it really a good thing giving footballers the ability to speak their mind without having any control over what they’re saying?

Take Wayne Rooney for example. He has 2.5 million followers hanging on his every tweet. Given his personality on the pitch, it may have worried many at Manchester United that he was going to able to say anything he wanted without the club having any say, a worry that manifested itself when Rooney offered to fight a Liverpool fan after receiving abuse. He said, “I will put u asleep within 10 seconds hope u turn up if u don’t gonna tell everyone ur a scared little nit. I’ll be waiting.” Rooney later described as a “bit of banter.” However, the Man United Media Officer must have been reading with a bead of sweat on his brow and worried where it was going.

Lower down the leagues at Leeds United, a forum had to be temporarily shut down after a number of its members began to abuse the clubs Media Officer Paul Dews and make a number of unfounded accusations about his personal life. The decision was made by one of the site moderators to be shut down so that the situation could be calmed and an apology made. The situation could have become libellous but many fans thought it was the power of the club that had forced such a decision.

Most recently, ex-footballer Stan Collymore was racially abused through his Twitter account which came during the height of the racism row between Man United defender Patrice Evra and Liverpool midfielder Luis Suarez. Police arrested a 21 year old man after sending the tweets to Collymore whilst he was hosting his Talksport radio show. clip_image004

clip_image006It works both ways. With the price of watching football constantly increasing fans feel that they deserve more access to players, but once they achieve this they just berate the players. At the same time, players and ex-players like to try and stir things up which often leads unruly comments. Robbie Savage is constantly making statements such as, “had to take my wallet out of my suitcase because it was too heavy.” This is just said to get a reaction from fans. Once he loses control of the “banter” however, he then proceeds to throw his toys out of the pram and threaten to leave Twitter.

Whether football fans should have such access to players will always cause debate. At Leeds United players are banned from using Twitter after striker Davide Somma admitted to picking up a season-long injury before the club had gone public with the information. This may well be a sensible move that other clubs adopt if there are more incidents like Rooney’s. Fans, even of opposition sides, will tell players what they think of them and feel it is their right to do so. Fans look on and see players getting paid more money in a couple of seasons than many fans will earn in a lifetime. But does this give them the right to direct abuse at players?

This is a guest post from Christian Lawley.

Footballers need social media training or social media policies creating now

On Sunday Liverpool FC played Manchester Utd in the FA Cup. Liverpool lost but I have to admit the performance was one of the best from them I have seen this season but that isn’t saying much. The fact that they played with 10 men for the majority of the game did bode well though. However, something that ruined the game was a penalty awarded to Man Utd for questionable contact on Dimitar Berbatov in the second minute. Whether it was a penalty or not is neither here nor there as it is now in the past but the Dutch striker Ryan Babel criticised the referee openly on his Twitter page and then posted a joke picture of the referee Howard Webb dressed in a Manchester Utd shirt.

Following this the Football Association has now decided to prosecute him for this and I think quite rightly too. I have discussed the issue of footballers using social media channels to vent their frustrations before. In fact, in that article I went through my top five social networking mistakes and incredibly one included Ryan Babel back then – so he obviously isn’t a quick leaner. Here they are in case you are interested:

  1. Darren Bent allegedly attacks Tottenham’s chairman as his transfer to Sunderland dragged on and is fined £80K.
  2. A professional footballer nicknamed “Motor Mouth” reveals he plans to leave his club Crystal Palace for Fulham on his Facebook page but manages to inform the site’s 2.7 million London network members.
  3. American Striker Altidore is fined by Hull City FC after revealing why his boss dropped him for the game with Portsmouth FC to all of his followers.
  4. Liverpool winger Ryan Babel enrages manager Rafeal Benitez by writing on his Twitter page two days ago: “Hey people, I got some disappointing news, I am not travelling to Stoke. The Boss left me out the squad. No explanation.”
  5. Thierry Henry apologises for “Hand Gate” the day after the match with Ireland.

I think the time has now come for either the PFA or the FA to draw up a set of guidelines for players as they don’t seem to understand that posting on social networking channels is going to get them into trouble. They are superstars in their own right and journalists/bloggers monitor these pages closely as soon as you right something contentious it is going to end up in the national papers as they are looking for stories all of the time. This needs to keep up with the rest of the world.

This month will be another interesting one as the transfer window is now open and I expect to see many more players criticising their clubs on social channels as they try to engineer their moves.

Do you think there should be official guidelines for footballers? OR do you believe clubs should just ban their players from doing it like Manchester Utd did a while back?

Corrupt decision or just plain old sour grapes?

It seems that the fallout from England’s failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup is set to rumble on. What’s more, the debate about whether we have genuine reason to feel aggrieved or whether we’re just wallowing in self pity will split football fans across the nation.

Media pundits are predictably spinning out their forthright views, amongst which are some interesting comments and support from unlikely sources. Blackpool’s colourful gaffer, Ian Holloway, suggesting (tongue-in-cheek of course!) that The FA would have been better dividing the estimated £15M they coughed up, into brown envelopes marked for Fifa’s attention!

And, with Manchester United’s dyed-in-the-wool Scots manager Sir Alex Ferguson, being quoted in today’s Sunday Express labelling the decision as ‘an insult to English football’, sympathy hasn’t been in short supply.

However, what always appeared to be an awkward alliance between Prince William, David Beckham and PM David Cameron, is now being questioned retrospectively by one of the trio themselves.

Not surprisingly, the felon is a certain Mr Cameron, using his political powers to act like a teenage boy reacting to being dumped with claims his ‘ex was a munter anyway’ – he’s said to be furious at being associated with the bid for what was a major embarrassment and is demanding an overhaul of The FA’s heirarchy. Maybe you should’ve stuck to polo or rugger Dave!

No doubt though, the conspiracists have every reason to brood – despite it appearing to be the best technical submission, England’s bidding power appears to have gone backwards with a paltry two votes received in Zurich – even its similarly unsuccessful bid for the 2006 competition managed three more than that total.

Whatever peoples’ opinions, the only thing we can be sure of is that we’ll never really know the truth. So, let’s wish the Russians luck and look forward to turning up at someone else’s party in eight years time!