Last month I wrote how Pepsi decided to give the Super Bowl and its more than 100-million viewers a pass and instead set up a social media program that gives some $20-million dollars in community grants. They aren’t paying the up to $300 million per commercial, but they are – at least for now–winning the social media buzz.
While I don’t like writing about specific companies – especially twice- this is the Super Bowl and someone is breaking the mold. Perhaps hampered with a late start time, and even creating a Twitter hashtag (I’ll explain that in a second), it’s the absent player who is leading the online buzz.
I had projected in early January that Pepsi would be the winner for several reasons: They knew their message; by reaching out to what YOU are passionate about, they provide a reason for you to reach out to Pepsi – and it wasn’t product related. Finally, by adding a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, they may be preparing to speak with customers on a one-on-one basis – on your terms. Ultimately, they appear to understand that there is a conversation to be had, and are willing to have it. This is generally the hardest part to get a company to realize.
Now about the hashtag thing. You know how hashbrowns usually taste good? Well, hashtags usually help you find what you’re looking for in the social media world. For example, if you were on Twitter talking (“tweeting”) about the TV show Glee, you would end your “tweet” with: #GLEE. People searching on #GLEE (or #IDOL , for example) would find all related tweets, in real-time, and all in one place.
The NFL decreed that #SB44 will be the official hashtag for Super Bowl XLIV. Well, that is a lot easier than using the roman numerals #SBXLIV. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can still search hashtags on web sites like search.twitter.com, Tweetgrid.com or monitter.com.
Jennifer Van Grove in a Mashable article references how Pepsi is topping the charts in online reach and overall mentions in the social media space. Alterian measured more than 50,000 conversations from blogs, message boards, microblogs, social networks and video/phone conversations to determine what’s hot. “However, if you look at the sentiment of those mentions, Pepsi — who decided to forgo its typical spot for a social media campaign instead — is the advertiser with the most positive conversations… .”
The period for research ended January 31st, and we are significantly closer to the game now. The question is, can Pepsi hold the top position – and the bottom line is it doesn’t matter. The reason is if they succeed in getting you to their site and registering, they won. If they keep your interest beyond that, perhaps both you and they win – and that is a very different outcome than traditional marketing.
The ultimate prize, traditional sales and marketing teaches us, is the conversion rate. Some companies will eye life-time value as the prize. In the social media arena, one of the prizes is how will YOU affect the purchasing habits of those whom you network with on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter?
They successfully hit a chord in those of us who are passionate in how we donate our time. Regardless of our financial position, that passion to volunteer makes us influential. (That really messes up old-school marketing). Networking socially makes us more effective – and reachable by companies that wish to have conversations with us.
Over the last few years, it has been observed that people are becoming more “brand-like” online, and companies are becoming more personal. When companies reach out on Facebook and Twitter, they can sound like a company – or they can react like a person speaking on behalf of a company. Which of those options would be most effective for you to have a conversation with?
Now you know how your social media program should begin.