With all due deference to New England Patriots fans, I’m devoting this week’s post to the winners of Super Bowl XLVI: the New York Giants (Go, Eli!), host city Indianapolis (All right, Indy!) and, perhaps the biggest winner of all, integrated digital marketing (Social media! Woot! Woot!).
As promised earlier this month, I recently checked back in with Taulbee Jackson, CEO of local social media agency Raidious, to get a wrap-up of the Indianapolis Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee’s record-breaking social media efforts.
You probably recall that the Host Committee set out to make Super Bowl XLVI the “most connected” Super Bowl in history, and the centerpiece of that effort was the Super Bowl XLVI social media command center located in downtown Indianapolis and operated by Raidious. This was the first time large-scale social media monitoring had been tried at an event of this size, and so, ever since the game ended, I have been dying to know: How did it all go? What were the results?
Here’s a re-cap of my conversation with Taulbee, during which he walked me through a wide range of insights. Ultimately, Taulbee concluded that the top four lessons marketers can learn from the Super Bowl XLVI social media command center are:
It takes lots of resources to do social media well.
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The Raidious social media command center was staffed with 50 people (two shifts covering 24-hour days) who continually monitored the social air waves in and around Indy before, during and after the Big Game. They listened to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc., so they could answer questions and offer help.
In addition, on Game Day the command center interacted with eight “street teams,” another 50 people serving as “boots on the ground.” Armed with tablet devices, these mobile teams communicated real-time updates regarding traffic, weather, etc. to the downtown command center.
What a Herculean effort!
But contrast that kind of commitment with what brands typically are doing today. Most brands’ social media efforts are in the hands of just one or two (junior) staffers on a very tight budget (if there is a dedicated budget, at all). They’re sometimes “on”/often “not” and uncoordinated –and it’s just not possible to get solid results with that kind of limited, disjointed effort, Taulbee said.
Why not? Because for big brands, social requires listening 24/7. It requires real-time responses and constant creativity. It’s a non-linear endeavor that needs continual input and effort. And it requires a human touch.
“There are great tools out there to help you, but a human needs to do the work,” Taulbee explained. “Doing social is like hosting a party for all your fans –and that party lasts every day, all day.”
What you think is a social media problem, is really a content problem.
Digital channels are relentlessly multiplying and evolving. That means, in order to survive, marketers today need to focus on content, not platforms.
As Taulbee pointed out, the Host Committee started planning for Super Bowl XLVI, two years ago, in 2010. Back then, there was no Google+ or Pinterest. Instagram was brand new. How was it possible to keep pace?
Simple. The Host Committee decided early-on that content would drive their process. Rather than a sole focus on a particular platform, the committee concentrated on fine-tuning how content was created, approved and distributed, and then it managed the conversations around that content.
Taulbee summed it up neatly. “Every social media problem is a content problem in disguise,” he said.
Today’s social media audience is older and more mainstream than you think.
The two segments that dominated the Host Committee’s Facebook fan base were those aged 25-34 and those aged 35-54. More than half (55.5 percent) were over the age of 35. And what’s more, a full two-thirds were female.
“This is not a young adult media,” Taulbee said. “It’s grown-ups, and it’s mainstream.”
Amplification is key.
By kick-off, Raidious estimates the Host Committee had acquired a direct audience of 49,000 social media users who had opted-in to connect via Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and YouTube.
From January 1, 2012 through the Big Game on February 5, that audience delivered 64 million impressions.
“As people engaged with the content, they liked it, they reTweeted it . . . and that generated 64 million impressions,” Taulbee explained.
Using a standard cost basis of $50/1,000 impressions, those 64 million impressions are the equivalent of a cool $3.2 million in advertising.
How much was invested? Taulbee estimates that over the course of the past year, Raidious’ input was about $300K (all of which was donated to the Host Committee).
To Taulbee, it’s clear that integrated effort pays off.
“The equation is simple: resources in equals value out,” he said.
(Nike seems to get it. According to this article at CNNMoney, the company’s spending on TV and print advertising in the US has dropped by 40 percent in just three years, even as its total marketing budget has steadily climbed upward to a record $2.4 billion last year. What’s making up the difference? A variety of innovative “interactive elements,” all integrated with social media.)
What does the future hold?
Believe it or not, Raidious already has begun to share ideas with next year’s Host Committee in New Orleans, and Taulbee is now working on ways to engage even larger audiences.
“We did real-time utilitarian customer service very well,” Taulbee said. “But, now we can take it to the next level and add in creative storytelling.”
The social media space is just beginning to open up, and there are big opportunities for brands in other major events like the Oscars and the Olympics, he added.
Something tells me this Big Game has only just begun.