Newsjacking the Big Game

On February 1, the Super Bowl launched more than American football fever. The event dominated news and social media, and consequently created one of the largest newsjacking opportunities for brands across the country. As the online arena heated up, social media became even more competitive than the players on the field. From big brands to local businesses, everyone could join in NFL-mania.

However, there is more to jumping on the news cycle than adding “#SB49” to the end of a post. Trending news stories can be an effective tool for getting a brand’s name out in social media, but it is important to remember that just because something is #trending, doesn’t mean strategy should be thrown out the window. In fact, “newsjacked” posts may be seen by a larger audience than usual and should be even more carefully crafted.

Some tips to keep in mind when marrying social media trends with brand strategies:

Keep it neutral

Remember that a brand probably has fans on both sides of any issue (or game). While a little good-natured competition can be humorous, especially in the sports world, be careful not to go too far. Without the benefit of tonality, the audience can easily misinterpret sarcasm and jokes for something more mean-spirited.

 Keep your brand in mind

For a post to be most effective, it should be about the brand and the event. Find a connection and work with it. Clothing stores are not expected to share player stats, but go ahead and share some sketches of redesigned team outfits or styles. Even if the connection is simply being based in a certain city, be sure the brand’s image and tone are still present among the news.

Pick your moments

Your audience doesn’t need or expect a social media post after every touchdown, or even every game. Instead, choose your moment – one witty brand post will go farther than 10 bland ones.

Have fun!

Interact with consumers and get involved. Being a top-tier sponsor and creator of the beloved Clydesdale ads, Budweiser was sure to be a popular Twitter account during the Big Game. Still, they decided to add some extra excitement for the fans. They amplified their advertising with puppy and Clydesdale memes shared on Twitter, and responded to fans who were reacting in real-time to their commercial. It might have taken a little creativity and precise social media management, but Budweiser benefitted as fans shared the images and tweets across the internet – and the brand gained followers.

Newsjacking is one of the most advantageous brand opportunities that has arisen from the social media explosion. It allows brands the chance for exposure and audience growth that could typically take several months, or even years. Of course, this means the possibility of negative exposure grows as well, and many brands have seen the consequences of misinterpreted or mishandled posts. However, with a strong social media strategy and a little cleverness, brands can truly benefit from the instantaneous nature of social media and breaking news.

At Pollock Communications, we specialize in building awareness for food, health and wellness clients and we know that understanding how to use the right social media tools for a brand and maintaining a strong social media presence is crucial to delivering stellar results for our clients. For more information on how we can help build your social media strategy, contact us.

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