On Sunday, February 3, 2019 “The Big Game” will be shown on national television and it will be watched by a LOT of people (seriously, 103.4 million watched last year, and that was actually low compared to previous years). Many brands will be paying the big bucks to place TV advertisements during the game this year. With the average cost of a 30-second commercial coming in at $4 million, this method of promotion is obviously not an opportunity for every business. There is, however, another platform that sees a huge uptick in use during “The Big Game” and it may be your best bet for promoting your brand for cheap – or even, free. Now, you may be wondering why we are referring to this game as “The Big Game”, and not its more popular name. There is a good reason for that! It turns out that the NFL has rights to the game’s more popular name, and unless you are an official league sponsor you would be wise to stick to “The Big Game” when talking about the event.
It is estimated that, of the millions watching The Big Game, 78% of viewers will use social media during the game. That’s a lot of eyes! If a $4 million dollar commercial isn’t in the cards for you, social listening and/or some well-planned social posts can put your brand in front of this captive audience, scoring you great return on minimal investment. In 2018, there were 4.2 million mentions of the “The Big Game” the day of the game. These mentions included conversations about the advertisers, the teams, the players, the halftime show and more. To get your brand noticed, all you have to do is get in the conversation, and we’ve got several strategies below to consider for this year’s game.
Strategy: Hands-Off but Still Present
There are plenty of different ways to engage in “The Big Game” social conversation as your brand, and some will require more effort than others. The most hands-off tactic is to plan and schedule your posts ahead of time. This will be the best way to go if you and your team want to focus on enjoying the game and/or the patrons currently in your establishment during the game, but you don’t want to lose out on the potential for successful promotions.
If you think this is the strategy for your, consider scheduling social media posts both leading up to and during the game. Obviously, if you aren’t going to be checking these posts during the game you need to make sure they aren’t predicated on something specific happening (i.e. don’t brag about your favorite team winning or comment on the color of the Kool-Aid poured on the winning coach’s head). Posts like “We hope you’re enjoying the game, we’re celebrating with a big crowd tonight! Come see us this week to celebrate if your team wins or commiserate if your team loses!” are still clever, topical and personable without being too specific.
Additionally, schedule some posts leading up to the game if you’re planning to be open! Promote any food or drink specials you’re planning and let your followers know you’ll have the game on your screens.
Strategy: Social Listening and Live Posting
If you are up for being more engaged throughout “The Big Game” and actively posting, a strategy of engaging in social listening and live posting may be right for you. Social listening is the process of tracking conversations around specific topics on social channels to discover opportunities to create content. To engage in social listening during the game, it is important to not only watch the game but also monitor social channels to see what hashtags or topics are trending and then join in on the conversation. If your posts are topical and popular, they’ll see increased engagement and views, providing increased reach for your brand. If you’re a local business, reaching the millions watching the game may not really be necessary, and therefore it may be helpful to focus your conversation on your current followers. Listen to what they’re talking about and respond to them!
Make sure to avoid cringes by keeping your posts or comments topical and not dripping with promotions. If your follower is talking about how ridiculous the halftime performer’s costume is, comment with your thoughts on the costume, not about how great your burgers are. If, however, your followers are talking about how hilarious a Wendy’s commercial is, you can comment that you agree their commercials are funny, but your burgers are better!
Social listening is a more advanced form of social promotion. It’s important to remember that anything you post is immediately public, so be careful about what you say. If you’re delegating this to a team member, make sure you’re very clear about what they should and shouldn’t post. It may be helpful to have this task shared between two people, an extra set of eyes is always worthwhile when posting content for the public to see.
No Matter What, Avoid Getting Sued
As we discussed earlier in this article, the NFL is very strict about what word you use in promotions that aren’t directly affiliated with the NFL, as that name is trademarked. Therefore, if you engage in any of the above promotions, or if you host a watch party, or promote any specials that night, be sure that you are smart about your wording! Alternatives like ‘the Big Game’, ‘Pro Football Championship’ or just avoiding a specific name altogether are the way to go.
There are many ways to take advantage of events like “The Big Game” in your small business, they just take creativity, thoughtfulness and planning. Do you plan to promote your business during or in relation to the “The Big Game” this year? If so let us know how in the comments!