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Social Media Officially Grows Up

For several years, I’ve been talking with business owners about social media for business – and for much of that time, I’ve encountered some level of skepticism.  Everything from “social media is just for kids” to “my customers aren’t on social media!”

So I was pleasantly surprised to read in Advertising Age this week that several major brands are planning strategic social media tie-ins with their Super Bowl ads this year.

Audi, for instance, is publishing a Twitter hashtag as a part of their television spot, so that viewers can follow the conversation about the spot on Twitter during the game.

I like what Scott Keogh, Audi’s chief marketing officer had to say about it:

“You need television spots that are obviously humorous and creative, that cause a conversation, that have some kind of cause or meaning behind it. Truth be told, the cause can only be sustained by social media.”

Is this the same social media that a short while ago was “only for kids”?  Wow!

Always a Super Bowl advertising favorite, Budweiser this year is combining their television efforts with a themed Facebook campaign, with a contest that requires you to “Like” their page to participate.

Known as “fan gating” or “locked until liked” promotions, several brands are trying their hand at integrating social media with more traditional marketing tactics.

Other brands with integrated Super Bowl Facebook promotions include Macy’s, Oscar Mayer and the movie Certifiably Jonathan.

Who will these companies be reaching during the game as a result?  Because of the rise in smartphone adoption and Internet use overall, Lightspeed Research estimates that during the 2011 Super Bowl:

–       59% of Super Bowl viewers will text about the game

–       32% will post about the game to their social networks

–       18% will check advertising replays from mobile phones

–       18% will visit advertiser websites from mobile phones

In a recent BizReport article, Chris Urinyi, CEO of Lightspeed Research in The Americas said, “The Super Bowl has always presented an exceptional way to reach the American public, but TV ads today are just one piece of the puzzle. For brands, there’s a viable opportunity for real-time social engagement and promotion due to TV’s heavy competition from increasing numbers of smartphones and PCs in use during the game.”

In 2009 and 2010, E-Trade was the lonely daring advertiser during the big game who teased to their Facebook presence – this year, look for that to be the rule, rather than the exception.

Caroline Melberg

Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization & Social Media Strategist

Published on: February 2, 2011