originally published in MediaPost's Social Media Insider
On Sunday, I’ll be hoping for more than just another Super Bowl where the New York Giants leave New Englanders weeping in their clam chowder. I’m hoping to see advertisers use social media in ways that make sense for them -- and their consumers.
Marketers’ Super Bowl strategies are locked up by now, so consider the suggestions below more of a wish list than a guide. These apply to far more than the Super Bowl, though, so print them out or save them in Evernote and use them throughout the year ahead.
1) Think like your target consumers. If you don’t have this memorized, internalize how they use social media, and learn what they do while watching television. Learn what they share, how they share, who they share it with, and why they’re sharing it.
2) Give your current fans something first. Anything. Now’s the time to remember them. How often do people walk down the street thinking, “I wonder what advertisers are going to be shilling a week from now?” The crazy thing is that this is happening right now. Reward your loyal fans who already have publicly expressed an interest in you.
3) Integrate with television through mobile social media. Shazam has teased that up to one- third of Super Bowl ads will have a “Shazam This” callout. Why only one-third? Services like Shazam offer easy ways for consumers to instantly share ads and engage in other kinds of mobile experiences.
4) Provide access to the people in or behind the spots. Our culture doesn’t just value celebrity; it values talent. Social media offers many perfect ways to connect talent with the people who care about them, whether it’s through tweets, chats, behind the scenes video, Google+ Hangouts, or countless other options.
5) Reach out to at least one community beyond Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. What are your customers most passionate about? Who will be especially interested in what you have to say? Consider this an opportunity to branch out beyond your checklist or comfort zone.
6) Bring people together in person. Are people already coming together in person to watch the game? That sounds like a social opportunity, one that can combine the physical with the digital.
7) Offer still images that can be pinned, tumbled, and grammed. Brands invest so much in the spots that they may forget how powerful still images are now. Make it easy for people to share images through sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram. What’s great is that the brand doesn’t even need to actively participate in those social platforms (though brands would do well to evaluate them). Just look at the images popping up on Pinterest via VW.com, with screen shots of the Volkswagen ad teaser of dogs barking the Darth Vader theme. Now imagine how much traction there would be if VW offered still images and a simple “pin this” icon.
8) Monitor everything. Hint: the previous example from Pinterest is actually a useful brand- monitoring tool to show images shared there from any other site. The more you know about what’s being shared, the more you can facilitate more of that behavior, add your voice, and respond as needed.
9) Connect search and social. One way brands will start doing this is simply by participating in Google+. That will be increasingly important this year. Beyond, that though, brands should ensure all their owned digital touchpoints are optimized for search engines. Given the budgets involved for Feb. 5, perhaps some paid media is in order too.
10) Plan what happens after the game is over. Ideally, you’ll have all these new fans and followers and friends, and you’ll need to give them a reason to stick with you once your promotional stunt is history. With the potential for social media to create an ongoing dialogue and even relationships, this is an asset marketers didn’t have a decade ago. Use it.
The game lasts a few hours. The build-up takes a couple weeks. Two days after the game’s over, most of the ads are forgotten. The mechanics of social media aren’t generally as flashy as a 30-second spot, but social experiences should last far longer.