Super Bowl Social Lessons: A 5-Step Guide to Creating Better Real-Time Event Marketing

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If you’ve been paying attention to recent Super Bowl social marketing tactics, you may have noticed that real-time marketing was, and will continue to be, at the center of the advertising world for major events.

The beauty of this trend is that unlike before, where events were one-time engagements, social media allows brands to enjoy relevant, long-term interactions with their audience for an extended period of time. Not to mention the fact that these events present an incredible opportunity to reach a large number of people with your message.

Yet by the same token, the heightened potential raises the stakes for advertisers. There’s a fine line between the real-time marketing campaign that catches like wildfire and the one that flops.

So what’s the trick to creating successful campaigns that will extend the exposure you get from an event? We sought to answer this question by analyzing a handful of our past campaigns for the Super Bowl, as well as the ones for smaller events throughout 2014. Here are the five steps we came up with for any marketer hoping extend the exposure of a campaign by having an integrated marketing effort before and after the main event.

Step 1: Invest in a strategic plan

Before initiating any social campaign, it’s important to take the time to think about your strategic goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. Start by defining your marketing goals (e.g. increase sales) and determine specific objectives, focusing on tactics relevant to your core strategy.

With a solid strategy in place, you can then identify you target audiences. In a competitive advertising landscape, simply using events that resonate for your brand isn’t enough – to be truly effective, you must keep your target narrowly-focused.

A great way to do this is to include location based targeting in your audience planning. Incorporating this tactic in your overall targeting strategy will allow you to show ads in the same location as the actual event, increasing your odds of delivering messages that will resonate on a more personalized level.

Step 2: Have 90 percent of the content ready-made

Even spontaneous moments can be planned. When thinking about your content, we’ve found that you want to overestimate the amount of content you might need, and in most cases, have the majority of that already approved. Taking this step to be organized early will position you to have a steady presence throughout the event, as well as free up your content team to react to spontaneous moments on the fly.

So how much should you have pre-approved before the event? We’ve found that the below mix to be the best combination for various types of events:

  • 70 percent pre-approved
  • 20 percent semi-approved
  • 10 percent reactive

Step 3: Build anticipation before the main event

Once you have your target groups clearly defined and your content developed, get your audience engaged early by enabling some type of feedback or participation in the weeks leading to the event. For example, Doritos has been leading this arena for years with their “Crash The Super Bowl” video contest that garners thousands of video submissions from its fans before the game. This year alone the brand received 4,900 submissions from 29 countries.

Don’t have the budget to splurge on a huge giveaway or contest? Not a problem. Small-scale activities that encourage engagement based on what your audience will respond to can be equally effective in sparking excitement with your fans. Take photo campaigns on Instagram – several brands, both small and large, have leveraged this platform to build a blossoming community of brand enthusiasts through theuse of #hashtags to organize photos around a particular theme or campaign.

Step 4: Build a team to make game-time decisions

Now that you’ve made it to the main event, establish a process that allows you to execute the planned, while simultaneously capitalize on spontaneous real-time moments. Pick a team for your social “war room”, so your brand can monitor engagement and seek real-time opportunities to interact. For most organization, this is going to be a mix of internal contributors (e.g. Content Leads and Decision Maker) and external managers (e.g. Platform Reps and Execution Experts).

  • Content Leads – Your content leads watch the event in real-time in order to create content as it relates to relevant activities. Although you’ll want to have 90 percent of your content pre-approved, having a group of 3-4 individuals to react to various moments will position your team to react to opportune moments with clever content.
  • Decision Maker – The decision maker acts as your quarter back. They are the one central contact for all decisions – approvals, budgets, reactions, etc. Given the level of responsibility, it’s best if this person is your Marketing or Social Media Lead.
  • Platform Reps – It’s important to include a rep for all of the platforms you’re planning to be active on. These reps bring insightful expertise by keep their finger on the pulse of activity going on at the platform level. It’s their job to advise on key trends and activities, as well as recommend best practices throughout various moments of the event.
  • Execution Experts – Your execution experts ensure timely and cost-effective fulfillment of your advertising objectives. They work side by side with the team to strategize and execute in a seamless fashion

Step 5: Extend your exposure

Social marketing platforms create unique experiences where both brands and consumers have an opportunity to invent, create, and connect – and as a result, users expect interaction from brands. Following the event, take the buzz and spread it as widely as possible. You can reward great user-generated content by helping it find wider audiences with re-Tweets, Likes and Responses. You can also take this opportunity to retarget those who saw your message during the live event.

Taking the time to show appreciation for those users reading, commenting, and sharing your content will help you create more personal, lasting, and human-like relationships with your audience.

Ellen Jantsch is marketing manager at Adaptly, which develops technology for media buying on autonomous marketing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Kik. Prior to Adaptly, Ellen worked at Nielsen where she developed corporate marketing programs for multiple markets globally.  Ellen’s passions include design, user experience, data, new thinking, and good coffee. Her belief is that the best work is that type that derives maximum effect from minimum means. 

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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