The Generali Cologne Marathon (Köln Marathon) is an annual marathon held in Cologne. With over 25,000 participants each year, they have been planning and organising one of the largest mass sports events in Germany since 1997.
Besides the main event, the Generali Cologne Marathon also organises Germany’s second-largest half marathon with 15,000 participants and a relay marathon. The Generali Cologne Marathon is a marathon for everybody. No matter whether you are a top athlete, ambitious recreational athlete, or a pleasure runner, you will be welcome.
Communications and Social Media Manager, Generali Cologne Marathon
Running is very emotional. This is why we have been using Walls.io social walls for years: It is easy to make runners also spread their experiences from races and training sessions in social media and share these moments with others. This integration of UGC creates a closer connection of the runners to us and our race.
The Generali Cologne Marathon designed a hashtag campaign for the event that runs throughout the year. The idea behind it is that people love running and do it regularly, not just once a year at a marathon. They train all year long.
The Generali Cologne Marathon recognises that and allows participants to share their training experiences and wins on social media every day, using specific hashtags. By doing so, they motivate visitors of their website to sign up for the next marathon as well.
The Generali Cologne Marathon is doing a great job by aggregating multiple hashtags from different social media networks. This way, they can make sure they capture every single user-generated content that is published, no matter which network.
They don’t restrict themselves or their audience to specific networks but give them the freedom of choice, aggregating hashtags from Twitter, Instagram and Vimeo. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t allow aggregating hashtags, but the Cologne Marathon solved this by using the Walls.io Facebook Messenger integration.
All posts are displayed on a social wall that’s embedded on the Cologne Marathon website and in the Cologne Marathon app. They further augment the social wall with news fetched from the Cologne Marathon RSS feed.
Promoting and explaining the hashtag aggregator
The organisers of the Generali Cologne Marathon promote their hashtag aggregator across the website. They create as much buzz around it as possible, so people participate. In the end, a great hashtag is worth nothing if people don’t know about it and use it. With the hashtag and social wall displayed prominently on the homepage, everybody who visits the websites immediately sees it.
They also have a permanently visible sidebar that links to all their social media accounts and the hashtag aggregator. By using the hash sign they already reference the hashtag campaign. Adding a hashtag aggregator link in the social network list is a great way to make people curious and get them to click through to the social wall.
The CTAs promoting the social wall are peppered throughout the Cologne Marathon website. They added one, for example, on the page that explains the marathon route. The CTAs are not only an invitation to check out the hashtag aggregator but also explain in a visual way how it works and how people can participate.
By aggregating and promoting their hashtags, the Generali Cologne Marathon is motivating participants to keep on training throughout the year. In addition, they’re reusing the unique user-generated content they are collecting as promotional content to get people to sign up for the marathon.