Jacopo Briatore, Digital Content Creator at World Aquatics, sheds light on how they maintained their leading status among International Federations on Facebook for the third consecutive year, in the SportOnSocial League Table 2024.

A big congratulations for ranking 1st on Facebook for the 3rd year in a row! Were any decisions you made in 2023 key to your success? 

We’re thrilled to have led the way during this Olympic cycle heading up to Paris 2024! The largest community among World Aquatics’ social media channels is found on Facebook which has almost 2 million followers.

In 2023, we saw a shift in engagement across the platform towards new content formats. We had to adapt our production to what the platform and its audiences were interested in. At the same time, it has been
very important to experiment with creativity and analyse results to develop how best we can showcase our six sports on social media to attract new viewers.

Furthermore, 2023 was even more significant for us as it was the first full year after our rebranding to World Aquatics. With a new beginning and a new strategy, we couldn’t be completely sure how our community would respond.

However, with a new start comes new opportunities and these have been key to our digital success and growth – not only on Facebook but on other platforms, too. This shows how quality content effortlessly breaks through barriers: our fans are now more closely connected with us as they embrace our refreshed look and feel.

Do you have a specific Facebook strategy? If yes, how does it differ from your other channels?   

The short answer is ‘Yes’. We believe every social media platform is unique and therefore needs its own individual strategy. This doesn’t necessarily mean content has to be different across platforms but that it should be adapted for each specific social media platform.

In our case, representing six very different sports, each with a distinct audience, it has been crucial to learn which disciplines our Facebook community enjoys the most. This helps us to keep them continuously engaged while at the same time suggesting content from other sports to grow the number of our fans.

You’ve managed to sustain success on Facebook over many years. How have you managed to achieve this and how do you balance long-term strategy with short-term wins? 

As in all sports, perseverance to improve and consistency have been key for both long-term strategy and short-term wins. We’re very happy that our community is noticing the effort we’re putting in and the changes we’ve made over the years to improve how we deliver original content to them. I believe a big part of this success is also thanks to the amazing team we have around us. First and foremost, they are passionate about our sports, making it possible to enjoy the work we do.

What tactics do you think will be most important to World Aquatics to drive growth and engagement on Facebook pre, during and post-Paris 2024? 

An Olympic year is always exciting! Having five sports at Paris 2024 creates opportunities to engage with new audiences who may not usually follow those sports outside of the Olympics. We believe it’s important to follow athlete journeys towards the Games through our events, identifying those stories people may not know about.

Looking back on the World Championships in Fukuoka 2023 and Doha 2024, we expect to see exciting competitions across all sports at Paris 2024. We aim to capitalise on those moments to promote our sports and attract as many people as possible to the fantastic world of aquatics.

What is one bit of advice you’d give IFs looking to improve their performance on Facebook? 

I would say, embrace your athletes and experiment with different types of content. Athletes are the stars of every IF: building relationships with them and working together offers the chance to provide your audience with something they won’t be able to see on TV. Experimenting with content can also have great results. As we have seen, the best results sometimes come from content that is not necessarily performance- or competition-related but from something the community can relate to.

Hear from other International Federations and discover more insights in the SportOnSocial League Table 2024.