What can Super Bowl ads teach small business owners?

Guest post by Matt Herndon on Super Bowl ads and social media.

Do you want to reach more than 111 million people with one ad? That kind of exposure could elevate your small business into a moneymaking machine in no time. All you have to do is reserve television ad space during the Super Bowl. Of course, you’ll spend between 3.7 and 3.8 million dollars for one short ad, but the investment is worth the rewards, right? Clearly, most small business owners can’t afford that kind of advertising. You can learn from the Super Bowl ads, though, as you tweak your marketing efforts and make social media marketing part of your campaign.

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Be socially connected

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are here to stay and many Super Bowl viewers can be found online as they watch the game. Ignoring these advertising outlets means you leave a vast market untapped and potentially lose thousands of dollars in revenue.

Take advice from Coca-Cola. They built a layered campaign in 2012 that interacted with customers across a variety of social media platforms. In addition to buying a TV ad spot during the big game, they also integrated social media as the Coke polar bears followed the game in real time on Facebook. Allow your customers to interact with your brand on a variety of social media networks before, during and after the game. Instead of focusing solely on a television or print ad, include online content that reaches even more customers without costing you tons of money. Multiply your advertising dollars when you get online and stay online.

Hire staff

Super Bowl XLVI, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, was the most socially connected Super Bowl ever. The host city took social media so seriously that they set up a social media command center downtown. A digital marketing agency and 50 employees monitored social media sites around the clock in the two weeks leading up to the big game. Additionally, eight street teams carried tablet devices around the stadium on game day. They helped more than 150,000 excited fans navigate the stadium and the city. The teams tweeted parking directions, directed fans to open restaurants and answered weather-related questions. Their hard work made the game and Indianapolis more enjoyable and user-friendly.

Does your business have a social media command center? If you’re like most companies, you have one person who sporadically writes blog posts, uploads pictures to Instagram or shares tweets. Consider changing your strategy. If you can’t hire someone full-time, hire a company to meet your social media needs. They can monitor your social media posts, respond to readers and give your marketing campaign the attention it needs as traffic to your sites grows.

Involve your fans

Lincoln has steadily declined as a top luxury car brands since 1999, but they’re out to reclaim the brand this year. The company used personality Jimmy Fallon to invite fans to tweet crazy road trip memories. Out of more than 6,000 responses, a few will be featured on the company’s Super Bowl commercial. This type of interaction gives fans a chance to be part of the discussion. In your marketing strategy, interactive content is one of your greatest assets. Encourage conversations as you ask for feedback, host contests and take polls. With these strategies, you make the conversation a two-way street rather than doing all the talking.

As you watch the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers on the field in New Orleans this February, pay attention to the Super Bowl ads. You’ll see the creativity millions of dollars can buy as you analyze how each commercial integrates social media. Use the strategies you see to increase your small business’s social media effectiveness on any budget.

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