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There’s no greater use of the world wide web than bringing the experiences of differing cultures to our fingertips. Social listening takes things a step further – allowing brands to connect on a personal level while learning more about those in their audience.

With Ramadan approaching, and the Real Madrid vs Liverpool Champions League football final in the news, we thought we’d look at the unique challenges of Ramadan for athletes – and how brands can be part of the social conversation.

Look for Topic Overlap

The first rule of social media listening is to let go of your preconceived notions. Though you might have a specific jumping off point, be ready to follow the data where it leads.

A great approach is to look for where topics overlap – especially if they’re topics that matter to you.

For instance, fitness is a huge industry, with a lot of focus currently on nutritional fasting, the keto lifestyle, and protein drinks. These are trends that – for the moment – are going strong, creating a niche in the wellness and fitness categories.

Entering the terms “Ramadan” and “#Ramadan” in NetBase Pro, we filtered for English-language posts globally that include the word “athlete.”

A look at the Posts stream reveals a lot of talk about Ramadan-centered weight loss and health programs, boot camps, and the like – which is being well-received.

To know whether your specific nutrition or fitness brand could fare as well, you’d want to filter for terms specific to your brand and audience, but the initial search illustrates a general interest. And a potential audience segment to add to your ranks – Muslim athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Which Posts Are Succeeding?

Looking at Popular Media shows us the types of posts this audience segment is responding to.

Muslim athletes are – understandably – concerned with maintaining strength and stamina throughout the month of fasting while observing Ramadan. Thus, tips on how to manage this are getting engagement.

⚡️RAMADAN TRAINING 101⚡️ . For all the Muslim Athletes, Here are some tips I want you to keep in mind for your training phase in the month of Ramadan. 🌙 . In here I’m dispelling what’s probably the most common error that happen each year: Reduce Volume & NOT Intensity!! Instead of taking out weight from your bar, & do more reps. You actually want to reduce down the working volume by decreasing the number of Sets + Reps… and actually MAXIMIZE the lifted load. . The goal here is to keep you fresh, & uplift the excitation of your CNS, to maintain your strength gains & allow for higher performance, with denser nerve impulse. Furthermore, due to the stresses fasting can put on your muscular & energy systems, you want instead to work less & rest more. This’ll aid you in preserving your mass, and promoting recovery after months of high intensity training. 💥 . So: • Cut back to your “MV” or Maintenance Volume. • Lift heavy/ier • Do more compound exercises, less isolation • Minimize any extra unnecessary work • Keep track of your calories & don’t fall back • Recover Heavily: Sleep + Supplement . P.S: Two Ramadan Training Guides, (Performance & Hypertrophy) are coming out soon, so stay TUNED!!!! Tag your friends and share with them the right training tip, & don’t be a sinful arrogant person 🏃 . #centricforce #ramadan #ramadan2018 #ramadantraining #fastingtips #athletes&ramadan #athlete #athletes #athletetraining #strengthandconditioningcoach #weightlifting #olympicweightlifting #speed #power #strength #explosive #speedperformance #fitness #sportathletes #olympicweightlifters #artists #fitnessmodels #bodybuilders #personaltraining

A post shared by Centric Force | Amir Hamada (@centricforce) on

And what about negative sentiment? As of press time it was mostly confined to a single thread on Tumblr annoyed that sporting events are held during Ramadan, putting Muslim athletes at a disadvantage.

However, there’s nothing to indicate the athletes – or Muslims – themselves feel the same way.

There’s also a lot of talk about Liverpool footballer Mohammed Saleh, naturally:

And a lot of chatter about female Muslim athletes as well:

Dalal Karra-Hassan, trainer & founder of Dolly’s Bootcamp poses at her gym in Sydney, Australia. Increasing numbers of Australian Muslim women are engaging in sport, both on a competitive level & as a means to improve general fitness & wellbeing. Leading the way is the Auburn Giants AFL team of Western Sydney who are embracing a sense of inclusiveness through the development of a culturally diverse team where female Muslim athletes are also displaying great strength in organisational, training & coaching areas. A project by Jennifer Cheng of Western Sydney University is investigating the relationship between Muslim women & sport through the team & aims to impact policy changes as national sporting associations look to how they can be more inclusive to diverse communities in Australia. On the global stage, sporting brand Nike is also taking steps to bring Muslim women’s wear into the mainstream by developing a high performance hijab that will launch in 2018 & has been tested by athletes such as UAE Figure Skater & Winter Olympian Zahra Lari. In 2016 Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first female Muslim American athlete to compete wearing a hijab & to win a Olympic medal – earning bronze in the team sabre event. Photo: @lmwfoto | @gettyimages A very special thanks to the generous & talented – @amnakhassan @dollysbootcamp_dbc @liali_in_action . . . . #portrait #gettyimages #lmwfoto #documentaryphotography #photojournalism #muslimwomen #womensports #visualstories #australia #auswip #dailylife #sport #nikewomen

A post shared by Lisa Maree Williams (@lmwfoto) on

So now you have female Muslim athletes as a new segment to further explore, as well as football (or soccer as we call it in the U.S.) fans. The task then becomes to find out what else these audience segments care about, and talk to them about it.

This Is a Growing Audience

Though wellness and fitness brands are booming, the engagement surrounding conversation about Muslin athletes is still pretty small. But that doesn’t mean the audience isn’t there.

It could be there aren’t enough brands reaching out to these specific segments, or messaging isn’t quite on target. It almost might be that social conversation will ramp up as Ramadan gets closer.

The only way to know how things will go is to follow along in real-time, listen to what’s being said, and assess the passion behind it.

Do that and you could find your brand embracing a new audience you didn’t know could love you. Or an amazing new sponsorship opportunity. As with all social analytics, don’t presume to know, lest you end up in hot water. Just listen and let the data lead you.

Want us to lead you through a tour of our social analytics tools? Reach out!

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