According to a just released Harris Interactive poll – almost 60% of us are watching the game for the ads. That means a constant bombardment of Facebook and Twitter logos.

Super Bowl XLV will prove to be the tipping point for social media’s acceptance by the small business and nonprofit community. Brands that invest three million bucks for a thirty-second TV spot are not going to be content with the passivity of traditional media marketing. Six months ago it was rare to see a Facebook or Twitter reference on television (even rarer on radio and in print). After Sunday’s ‘big’ game it will be difficult to find spots that don’t contain the obligatory ‘find us on’ and ‘follow us on’ copy tag.

All this means is that social media marketing will be granted a level of authority and credibility that it (apparently) lacked during the pre-game hype. Despite the fact that Facebook has over 600 million users, Twitter has close to 200 million tweeters and You Tube is the #2 search engine in the world…yes, despite these facts – social media needed an event like Super Bowl XLV to reach the mainstream. Much like Apple used this ad to change the face of Super Bowl marketing, Super Bowl marketing will change the face of social media.

The irony here is thick. There are business owners and nonprofit managers who are personally involved in social media. Yet, they have been reluctant to use the sphere as a marketing tool because….well, because of a lot of reasons.

Lack of understanding of how the platforms work.

Time management concerns – who is going to do this stuff?

A fear of the negative.

The complete inability to convert what they do and stand for into something people will care about.

Each of these concerns is a challenge and an opportunity. None of them are immovable roadblocks. Yet, it is easier to rationalize the lack of urgency for social media in a business setting when presented with these obstacles.

‘We’ll get around to it…eventually.'” seems to be the war cry.

After Sunday even the most ardent Luddite will have the ‘a-ha’ moment that sends them searching for the social media expert on their staff. They will decide that NOW is the time to launch on Facebook, start Tweeting, write a blog, and get on that You Tube thing.

For those of us in the business of social media this will be good for business. We will no longer have to convince potential clients why they need to engage. They will have progressed to the ‘how’.

It will be up to us to harness that newly found enthusiasm and manage expectations. We cannot let the initiates adopt a “ready-fire-aim” strategy. And – most importantly – we must manage their expectations. Seeing so many socially related ads during the game will lead people to believe that social media leads to instant success. It does not.

Social media marketing is a process. Unlike traditional forms of media marketing it does not have a finite beginning-middle-end life cycle. Social media is more beginning-middle-middle. It takes time to develop and time to maintain and time to reap the rewards.

Super Bowl XLV will propel social media marketing into the mainstream spotlight. What happens after that is up to us.

Your thoughts?

Steve Allan
Social Media Specialist

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