Hey Brands – Are you ready for the Super Bowl?

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With Super Bowl Sunday quickly approaching this weekend, and Sochi shortly thereafter, I am wondering as a marketer how many consumer brands are furiously working on their content plays to stand out. It used to be all about who could generate the day-after water cooler talk with the most shocking or original television commercial, and don’t get me wrong, it still is a huge draw, especially for me, but now the impact of the Super Bowl can be even greater for brands that create a before, during and after campaign on social media channels.

So how are brands harnessing the power of social during the big game? Well, it’s already started (if you like to be surprised in your Super Bowl experience, this is your official spoiler alert):

• Check out M&M’s facebook page – apparently the yellow M&M is up to no good and you have to watch the Super Bowl to find out why.

• Steven Colbert is sharing his snacking tips for the big game and leveraging his own brand for Wonderful Pistachios on Twitter at @getcrackin.

• And Budweiser already released its ad, and it is all the media is talking about today – Time, Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, etc. Budweiser is definitely going for the heartstrings with a sequel to last year’s heartwarming ad.

But, as a brand, are you prepared for the unknown? Remember last year during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII when there was an unexpected power outage at the Superdome? Oreo took advantage of the opportunity to stay relevant and Tweeted out a starkly lit Oreo with the message “Power Out? No Problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” This message was re-Tweeted 15,000 times and got 20,000 likes on Facebook — not bad for a one-off joke by a cookie brand. So how did Oreo put its own twist on the lights-out scenario so quickly? It turns out they had a 15-person social media team at the ready to respond to whatever happened online in response to the Super Bowl. So not only did they have a regular commercial run during the first quarter, they also had copywriters, a strategist, and artists ready to react to any situation in 10 minutes or less. And it certainly paid off.

Where should you focus? Facebook or Twitter? Well, the unofficial blog of Facebook features a 3rd party survey saying they will ‘beat’ Twitter in owning the social conversation around ads before, during and after the game. Here are the takeaways from the survey:

• One out of four viewers will post about Super Bowl ads on social media before the game.

• Facebook will dominate game time activity, with 55.8 percent of respondents posting on Facebook about the Super Bowl during the game. The next most likely digital action is sending a text message (41.5 percent), followed by a phone call (28.1 percent). Only 25.1 percent of respondents said they would be Tweeting about the Super Bowl. That’s a significant difference: More than one-half of respondents will post on Facebook about the Super Bowl, while only one-quarter will Tweet.

• 62.2 percent of viewers will re-watch ads after the Super Bowl.

• After the game, 73 percent of respondents will follow brands on Facebook or Twitter, and 27 percent will follow teams on those channels.

So no matter where you focus, there is no doubt that content matters and harnessing social channels is a key opportunity to build brand loyalty and engagement. I know most companies don’t have huge brands like Budweiser and Oreo, or the budgets that go along with them, but having a content plan, being ready to capture a real-time opportunity, and starting to push your messages before and after any important event is a growing best practice. So what are you waiting for? If you need some help check out our 7 Tips for Shareable Content.

– Bethany

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