Li-Ning Connects Fans To Olympic Athletes On Facebook

By Justin Lafferty 

If you’ve seen even just one event of the Summer Olympic Games in London, you’ve probably noticed that these are the most social Olympics ever. A China-based athletic apparel company, Li-Ning, is contributing to this effort. Using social platform UNation, Li-Ning is giving fans an inside pass to London by having them connect with athletes such as American triple-jumper Christian Taylor and Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell on Facebook and other modes of social media.

Li-Ning announced the social media efforts to AllFacebook recently. The company has an impressive roster. In addition to Taylor and Powell (who claimed gold in the 4 x 100 meter relay in the 2008 Beijing Olympics), here are some other athletes that will connect with fans through Facebook and UNation:

Through UNation, fans can get everything in once place — Facebook posts, Instagram photos, tweets, Spotify workout playlists, and videos — directly from the athletes.

Here’s a snapshot of Powell’s UNation page:

Craig Heisner, Li-Ning’s vice president of marketing and product, talked with AllFacebook about the company’s motivation to utilize Facebook and other forms of social media:

It’s how we operate. Everything that we’re doing here from the U.S. standpoint is built around that social platform. The fact that consumers are very willing to explore it and use it as a means of keeping up to date on athletes and results, needless to say, it’s important for us and it plays into our strategy.

The Li-Ning page itself is a great way to keep track of its athletes. When a basketball team dressed in Li-Ning uniforms is lighting up the scoreboard or Powell is getting ready to run, the page announces it.

Li-Ning also outfits five Chinese Olympic teams, as well as the American diving team, which recently finished on the podium for the first time since 2000. The company wants to keep the social media momentum going, and it is working on plans to roll out new ways that fans can engage with athletes via Facebook (and other sites) after the Olympics.

Jeff Tarullo, Li-Ning’s digital marketing manager, talked with AllFacebook about how there are opportunities for the connection to grow after closing ceremonies:

For track-and-field athletes, this is the highlight of their experience, but they are competing in the four years in between Olympics. This allows them to get the coverage you wouldn’t get from traditional media outlets. They’ll still be able to follow our athletes.

Readers: Who have been some of your favorite Olympic athletes on Facebook so far?