Things to Consider in Social Media + Sports in 2018

It’s that time! A new year is ahead which means the annual list of things to consider in the industry. This isn’t meant to be a forecast of what’s to come per say, but a list of things to consider pivoting and focusing on as we head into 2018. Everyone’s goals and objectives are different, but hopefully there is something in here that will spark a new idea, approach or thinking.

So, here’s a list of what to consider in 2018 with some help from Twitter and friends in the industry:

 

1- Give digital its due.

Digital has finally arrived to the big kid’s table. And, in 2018, it’s time that organizations give the space its due. Digital is no longer about retweets and likes –it’s a channel where brands and teams can drive revenue and true ROI.

The real beauty of digital is that it does not have to be a “this or that” when it comes to driving awareness / engagement or revenue. In a sense, you can have it all. Digital allows teams to focus on the full marketing funnel. If teams invest in a sound strategy, community management, creative and paid then they can drive awareness, engage and ultimately convert. Who is going to argue with that?

The Miami Dolphins are a great case study of what digital looks like grown up. Today, 80 percent of the team’s marketing budget is now allocated to social media. And, they have seen success. Thirty percent of new season tickets last season were sold via Facebook’s lead gen ads. And, 11 branded content series generated $10 million for the organization. On top of that, the team does a great job of telling the brand’s story.

For us that work in the industry, it should be our mission to champion digital in our organizations. It’s our responsibility to show how it can drive organizational results. Whether your team needs to drive revenue, champion the brand or align stronger with partners — digital can do it all.

 

2- Shake up the org chart.

A common pain point in the industry is that digital is stuck in a silo. This was okay 10 years ago when we did not understand what poking and tweeting could do for an organization. But, in all seriousness, times have changed.

Digital is not a niche. As a role, as a strategy, as part of an organization. And, we need to stop thinking about it as such.

We don’t need separate digital teams. We need digital teams embedded within the larger marketing group. We need marketing leaders who obsess with consumer behavior online. And, are driving 360 marketing plans with digital top of mind.

In 2018, it’s time for organizations to give a hard look at how they’re structured. In order for digital to truly get its due, we need to breakdown silos and integrate teams. A marketing team should encompass everyone promoting the team and fan experience at every consumer touch point. This includes everything from digital to creative to the in-game experience.

Digital is marketing. Marketing is digital. Can we break down the walls and start treating it as such?

 

3- End the publisher mentality.

It wasn’t that long ago that teams and leagues adopted a publisher mentality. The more we push, the more we reach was often the train of thought. Now this publisher mentality has led to cluttered feeds.

This is the year teams must be deliberate about adding value and not noise. The pressure to interject brands into conversations all the time is a false sense of urgency from the industry (not consumers). Brands and teams don’t need to push out a new piece of content every hour. They don’t need to take part in every trending topic. And, they don’t need to be a part of every single holiday. It’s all unnecessary.

A strong content strategy and creative arm is even more important in this world of algorithms, clutter and consumers in control. Content for the sake of content isn’t a win for anyone: Not for you, not for your brand and not for the consumer.

In 2018, build your box and play in it. Focus on owning your brand in a way no one else can versus being everywhere, all the time. This industry needs more quality and less quantity.

 

4- Back to brand first.

“Digital first” is a dangerous phrase, if it means brand second. This from an adweek article was one of the most powerful lines I read this year.

Somewhere along the way digital became this separate thing. A separate thing that often feels disconnected from a brand’s DNA. We fostered an environment where digital was a free for all. Teams took risks, even when it wasn’t right for the brand.

Digital can no longer live in this silo. Tactics meant for gimmicks, retweets and vanity metrics do not move the needle for brands. These channels are too critical for them to not represent the voice and DNA through and through.

We need to get back to the basics. All great marketing strategies start with a brand strategy. And, your digital presence should be the best reflection of what your brand stands for. Period.

 

5- Make the investment.

For all the talk about digital first in organizations, very few are actually making the investment. Back in May I ran a poll on Twitter to find out how big some digital and social teams are in sports. And the verdict is they are way too tiny.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a team, league or brand, flying solo in social and digital is a fast track to burnout. In an industry that operates 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, it’s not humanly possible for one person to strategize and execute well…. much less innovate or take anything to the next level.

The thing about digital, as with most other things, is you get out of it what you put in. To have a presence that moves the needle it requires an investment, both in a budget and a team.

Even more pressing though is the need to build out content teams. Too many teams have strategists with zero creative power to bring to life the vision. The brands and teams that stand out today and in the future are the ones who understand the investment it takes. Invest in talent or get left behind.

 

6- Ephemeral & live with purpose.

Disappearing content and live video are two of the trends that took off this year. But in the midst of the excitement for these trends, they fell victim to the “publish just to publish” mentality. Yes, it’s easy to hit publish. And, there’s a certain novelty that comes with live and disappearing content. Still, that doesn’t mean we should be inundating our audience with content.

Game days often mean tapping through the same Instagram Story and Snapchat over and over again. Live often means a Q&A or pregame ceremony. This year left a lot of room for more purpose and creativity.

In 2018, resist the urge to publish the same thing over and over again. Our audiences aren’t asking for 20 frames of an IG story. They’re asking for entertainment, value and unique access.

When thinking about live and disappearing content specifically, the key is to figure out how you can leverage the purpose of the tools creatively. Why would you go live versus publishing a video? How can you push the boundaries with IG Stories that you can’t in feed? Tap into what makes this tools different from everything else.

I’ll leave you with the best example of ephemeral content done right this year from the Chicago Bulls. This is what we call unique entertainment.

 

7- Pivot, don’t fight.

Having a sound strategy is important in social, but it’s also important to be flexible. In a lot of ways were at the mercy of platforms and algorithms. And, that’s not changing.

We talk a lot about the need to pivot in social, but talking is often easier than the doing. This could not have been more evident than with Instagram in 2017.

Thanks to another great algorithm, the chronological days of Instagram are over. The algorithm is so aggressive it has posts appearing at the top of feeds three days, even five days, after the fact.

The algorithm should have changed the way teams approached the platform. In-feed posts should now be more evergreen and stories more real time (here’s a post on how team’s can pivot
). But over and over again posts that a team lost appear in my feed days and days after the fact.

In 2018, make a conscious effort to pivot with the platforms. We can’t predict what new thing will emerge with platforms or consumer habits, but we can make a conscious effort to change with the trends. When brands and teams pivot they create a better experience. It’s a win.

 

8- Disruption through content.

Voice and tone is often the tool teams go to disrupt and get attention. The problem is it often ends up being snarky, troll-ish or over-the-top. The lines blur between what is right for the brand and what the social media manager prefers. It’s a slippery slope.

In 2018, it is time to let creative do the disrupting. Teams should tap into creative executions, unique story lines & design to do unexpected and fresh things.

Bleacher Report disrupts with their intersection of sport, culture and amazing illustrations. South Carolina and Auburn disrupts with their stylized and unique approach to video. NASCAR disrupts with their amazing Snapchat game and doodles. Tom Brady disrupts with his wacky approach. Nike disrupted with their Breaking 2 project.

The point is, there are a lot of ways to disrupt. And when we focus on it, everything is elevated. It tells a better brand story, engages your fans and helps your social feeds stand out.

Merry Christmas!

A post shared by Bleacher Report (@bleacherreport) on

 

9- Unexpected brand partnerships.

Over the holiday season, the Seahawks partnered with Uber Eats to simplify and speed up their fans’ last-minute shopping needs. The app allowed fans to get official Seahawks gear delivered straight to their door.

When done right, brand partnerships like this can offer a lot of value. They push innovation, create experiences and open doors to new consumers. In 2018, it would be great to see more teams look to partner with start ups, technology partners and unexpected brands to make unique activations and experiences happen.

 

10- Tap into story lines.

In a crowded sports space, it’s imperative to move beyond the scores to mix up content and stand out. And, a great way to do this and scale is to take a news room approach when ideating around content.

When you hear news room, don’t think volume. Think about finding the weekly and daily headlines and facts relevant to your team or brand.

Finding the story lines means you tap into the current pulse. The pulse of your team, fans and culture to uncover headlines. From there, you expand the headlines to create short & sweet content that is relevant and made for social. Below are a few examples of this:

What’s the #postseason got in store for this Hollywood story?

A post shared by MLB ⚾ (@mlb) on

The @spiscotty trade is bigger than baseball.

A post shared by MLB ⚾ (@mlb) on

Tapping into story lines allows your content to stay relevant and fresh, while moving beyond the highlights. It doesn’t have to be daunting either. As the examples above show, the content can be short, sweet and straight to the point.

 

11- Craft for the platforms.

It’s easy to get in a routine of creating platform agnostic content and and distributing everywhere. Ats platforms continue to evolve and change, and small nuances added, it’s important to think about how you can craft for the platforms.

Story lines, as talked about earlier, can come to life in so many ways. To keep things unique across all channels, think about what subtle differences of each platform and design based on that.

When you design based on platform features, great creative comes to life. Here is a great example of this from the Chicago Bears:

Zach Miller’s emotional story and inspirational outlook… picture by picture.

A post shared by Chicago Bears (@chicagobears) on

Sharing the except same content across all platforms can get stale quickly. As Stefanie points out below, give fans a reason to follow across all.

 

12- Focused campaigns.

If you asked your fans what your organization stands for, would they know? Too often it feels like teams operate in the wild, wild west. There is inconsistent messaging, no look and feel and a sole focus on the scores.

But sports teams and leagues are about much more than the scores. And in 2018, it would be great to see teams to tap into what makes their product unique. Teams have rich histories and identities well beyond the scores. Sports are emotional. Fans’ identities are tied to their teams. There’s power in that.

In 2018, I would love to see teams taking their brand strategy seriously. It’s time to take a page out from how consumer goods (especially sporting) approach their marketing. They’re rooted in a mission, values, identity and priorities. And, all messaging cascades from that.

When teams focus on a strong brand strategy it builds the foundation for the purpose. It helps to build a legacy, well beyond the scores. It builds an emotional connection for fans and gives them a reason to rally and believe. Be focused and tap into emotion and what makes your team / league unique.

 

13- Experience > innovation.

It’s easy to get caught up in the bright and shiny new tools when you work in digital, but sometimes they simply are not practical. Innovation is important and it will always be in important in our field. But, even more important, is the ability to create experiences.

Instead of focusing on innovation to make a headline, it’s time to focus on innovation that improves or elevates the fan experience. Experiences should not feel complicated; they should feel seamless to the consumer experience.

If you want a good example of a brand that took innovation to create seamless experiences, look outside of sports to Netflix’s campaign for Stranger Things. From a Snapchat AR experience to character playlist on Spotify, they transported fans but in a way that was a natural to how consumers already consume. They leveraged innovation, but in consumer-first fashion.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the newness of this industry, but we have to remember that any newness leveraged should always be about the fan and consumer experience. Period.

 

14- Social as prime real estate.

The days of sponsored social content have arrived at full force. And with it comes a lot of content that feels like a billboard. It’s good to see teams realize there’s revenue to be made through the channels, but too much of it feels like a plastered ad.

In 2018, let’s treat social as prime real estate. Yes, it’s easy to publish on the channels, but that does not mean that any brand that has dollars to throw a team’s way should be able to activate on digital channels. Teams should flip the switch from sponsored content to branded content. Take the time to find the right partners that actually want to produce content that matters and will treat it as an investment.

When you find the right partners should whose message aligns with your brand in a natural way it’s a win – win. Below are a few examples below:

Sponsored content isn’t an ad. It should be a value add. It’s time to treat it as prime real estate and ensure that teams are getting the right value out of it and aligning with the right partners. If you want tips on sponsored content, read this post here.

 

15- Additional thoughts.

 
Now it’s your turn to sound off! What would you like to see in social media + sports in 2018?

The One Word To Guide Your Social Media Philosophy

If you had to pick one word to define your philosophy towards social media, what would it be?

This isn’t an easy question to answer. Social media plays a lot of roles within an organization. It’s complicated, multifaceted and often subjective.

But these complications make it important to understand your social media philosophy. After thinking about this question, there is one word that keeps coming to mind: Deliberate.

Being deliberate is about leading with intention. It means staying true to your what, why and when. And in this age of instant gratification, deliberate work is even more important.

Social media marketers have a tough job. There are expectations to be strategic, but swift. Plan, but be nimble. Be human, but remain on brand. Push, but build a community. Have fun, but drive business results. It is the ultimate juggling.

It’s easy to get caught focus on the wrong things when juggling it all. Social media lends itself to quick wins and reckless tactics. It’s easy to chase engagement, regardless of whether it’s right for the brand.

To win this ultimate juggling act and do right by the brands we work for, we have to be deliberate. We have set a strategy and brand point-of-view and stick to it. We have to understand that our jobs aren’t defined by likes and retweets, but how we move the needle for the organization. It’s about purpose. And driving purpose for the brand.

There are many ways to win attention in social media. But it’s the brands that tell their story in authentic ways and approach it with a strategic frame of mind that win in the long run.

So as you think about your philosophy in social, think about how to be deliberate. Be deliberate in your execution. Be deliberate with how you tell your story. Be deliberate with your brand. At the end of the day, it’s not the number of likes and retweets that matter, but the ability to drive back organizational strategies and goals.

Focus On Substance + Execution Over The Tools

Every year without fail there’s a bright and shiny tool that takes the social world by storm, from Google Glass to live streaming and Spectacles. It’s easy to get caught up in the bright and shiny in this industry of instant gratification. Early adoption could mean an article as the “first brand or team to use x”. But being the first on a platform or the first to leverage a tool doesn’t equate to success or value for your consumer. As with anything, it’s critical to understand the why and value add behind it.

Yes, working in social/digital means it’s important to keep up with new and emerging trends. But success doesn’t mean you have to jump on to each new thing. Like any tool, from Spectacles to Google Glass, it’s about providing unique access + point of view and creating good content (period).

When Spectacles came out, there was a content dump from anyone who had access to them. The content often felt like the same thing over and over again. Even though we get excited about the new in the industry, there’s a good chance fans don’t care unless it’s new AND interesting. It’s important to understand how you can use the tools to elevate your storytelling, get the right access and provide something new. A few strong examples below (and a great curated list of examples from Blair Hughes here):

 


 

As teams and leagues look to leverage Spectacles and other new tools, it should be about substance and execution over anything else. When it comes to mapping out a strategy and plan, here are a few high-level things to keep in mind.

 

Don’t oversaturate it.

Spectacles or FB live stream can be phenomenal tools in taking fans behind-the-scenes without being obtrusive. But because you have the tool, doesn’t mean you should throw it on a player at every practice. Access quickly loses an interesting angle when it’s the same video over and over again. Resist the urge to use too often.

 

Right time, right place, right context.

In line with the first point, it’s important to understand how live, Spectacles, etc. can play into big moments. Behind-the-scenes access is more valuable when emotions are high. It’s important to understand that holding tools for big moments can be more powerful than abusing them over and over again. Don’t be afraid to wait to leverage something new and interesting when the brand and team has a moment that feels right and big.

 

Find what’s fresh, different.

The examples above stand out because they are a fresh and different take on content. The @ncaawrestling one, for example, makes fans feel like they are actually warming up with the No. 1 seeded wrestler. It’s a unique POV and different from anything else we’ve seen from that account. As a marketer you have to be able to define your sharp point. How can you leverage the tool to provide something that is different, unique from anything else you’ve ever done? If you can answer that, then you should activate with the tool.

 

Don’t force it.

Because it’s new, doesn’t mean you have to use it. If you can’t figure out a unique angle or a way to incorporate a new tool into your content capture flow, don’t force it. If produced video makes more sense than live, stick to the produced video. If your team can execute behind-the-scenes storytelling more powerfully than raw Spectacles, stick to that game plan. Being able to execute right is key, so focus on what works for the brand, the fans, your team.

At the end of the day, social is about testing and learning, but not at the sacrifice of good coverage. If you focus on substance and strong execution over forcing the tools, then you’ll find the right ways to elevate and add a unique POV for fans.

 


 

How have you seen teams and leagues use new and emerging tools in ways in ways that have stood out? Share your examples below.

A List Of What NOT To Do In Social Media

We often talk about the wins here across the industry. And while the wins are important, it’s also important to take a step back, reflect and understand the opportunities to improve.

So this post focuses on a list of things not to do in social media, with insight from others in the industry. And while it is focused on social media + sports, this list is easily applicable to other industries as well.

 

1- Abuse hashtags.

Hashtags are a tool in the toolbox and not a foundation for an entire social media presence or campaign. Yet over and over again we see them get tossed around, misused and abused. The hashtag madness has to stop. There are simple rules brand and teams should follow with hashtags. Rules like:

 
No need to go hashtag crazy.
If you’re going to use a hashtag, you need to understand its purpose. On Twitter hashtags are often used to help curate community and conversation; on Instagram it’s often for discovery. Whatever the purpose, make sure you don’t go hashtag crazy. Too many hashtags distract from the content and confuses your consumer on the action you want them to take.

 
Be consistent.
If you want to use hashtags as a way to build community, you need to be consistent so consumers and fans catch on. Your brand doesn’t need a million taglines; it also doesn’t need a million hashtags. Be consistent and it will pay off. The @panthers use of #KeepPounding is a great example of this. They’ve leveraged their team hashtag consistently and fans have bought in—so much that it constantly trends during their games.

 

2- Slap content across everything.

Consumers often flock to different platforms for different reasons. For example, Snapchat is a place for one-to-one communication with friends and Twitter is the place to discover news. It’s important marketers keep consumer habits front of mind as they plan and create content for each platform. Your strategy, approach and content across platforms should feel as native as possible. A brand shouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Instead, a brand should fit in naturally to the platform alongside your consumer’s best friend.

Long gone are the days where we can slap content across all platforms and be successful. It’s imperative we understand the user’s native habits, why they’re on a platform and the content they crave. If we slap the same content across all platforms without any thought, then run the risk of losing your audience and not standing out from the crowd.

 
Same photo/GIF over and over again.
In a similar vein, don’t use the same piece of content over and over and over again. It gets redundant, boring, predictable (and we’re in the business of entertaining, connecting). If you plan GIFS for certain moments (like touchdowns, interceptions, etc.), create many options and templates so you can mix it up. Repurpose GIFS and content, but know the threshold before they get boring.

 

3- Putting individual over the brand.

The brand, the brand, the brand. When you work for an organization, brand or team in social media you must always represent the brand first. Social media is the front door to an organization. Yes, there is a lot of power at your fingertips.

With the access to accounts comes a lot of responsibility. In a world of instant gratification, it can be easy to get caught up in leveraging audiences to drive more eyeballs to your own personal accounts. Under no circumstance should your personal brand come before THE brand. Don’t leverage your channels to cross promote your personal accounts. Don’t put content that should go to the brand on your channels. Don’t leverage your interest and own brand voice on the brand channel if it’s not actually reflective of the organization.

 

4- Lazy Sponsorship Plays.

Sponsored social media content is an everyday occurrence these days. Wherever teams and leagues push out content, there’s a good chance there’s a sponsor logo lurking somewhere. Too often sponsored content feels forced and ad-like. When content becomes forced, it adds noise to the community and little value to the sponsor. And when asking the question about what not to do in social media and sports, Kevin made a great point:

Forcing the number of sponsored posts detracts from what will actually matter. Instead of saying a brand or team must tweet about x sponsor 25 times, focusing on crafting a series that will move the needle. Two to three strong content pieces will do more from the sponsor and team than 25 stale and forced pieces.

When approaching sponsored content, keep the following in mind:

 
Think content first.
Approach sponsored social content like you do every other piece of social content: Focus on creating value. Whether the content is to inform, entertain or educate, the value does not come from logos or brand names. The value comes in the heart of the content.

When you approached sponsored pieces with a content-first approach it ends up being a win-win for the sponsor and fans. Why? Because it doesn’t add noise to fans’ timelines and fans want to pay attention (which has worth to the sponsor).

 
Integrate sponsors gracefully.
Repeat after me: Do not create content so you can slap a sponsor to it. Instead, integrate sponsors with content you would produce anyway. This makes it more valuable to fans and the organization.

 
Don’t make logos the hero.
Slapping a logo on your graphic or “presented by x” in the copy does not add value to anyone. The logo is not the hero. The sponsor name is not the hero. Don’t annoy your fans by serving your fans what they perceive as ads. Make the content hero, then integrate. That’s how you win.

 
Stay consistent with the brand.
Good sponsored content doesn’t stand out from the rest of your content and scream ad. Instead, it should have a similar, consistent look and feel to everything else. If a fan scrolls through your Instagram feed and can immediately see it’s sponsored, they are going to tune it out. Try to keep your sponsored content consistent with the rest of your content as much as possible. Again, it’s all about being authentic to make people listen.

 

5- FOMO.

Brands have been forcing themselves into conversations for far too long now. We’re willing to discount brand voice, visual identity and our core audience for short-lived retweets. Too many brand are jumping into every holiday for the sake of doing so and adding clutter to the space.

We’ve become too focused on the external pressures of the internet and not focused enough on our own path, vision and brand. Somewhere along the line, FOMO and vanity metrics have replaced the need for a smart, strategic approach. It’s easy to get caught up in, especially when our work is public and opinions come from all four corners. But the FOMO has to stop.

It’s easy to jump on a trending holiday and make a big splash, but it’s much harder to leverage your own brand in a way that’s authentic and stir things up. The @dallascowboys bandwagon application is a great example of leveraging your own brand—not a pseudo holiday— to drive high engagement. This play was funny, creative and on brand.

Don’t jump into trends and holidays to check it box. Make sure your adding value for your consumer and brand with all that you do.

 

6- Chase the vanity metrics.

This one goes along with FOMO and brand voice, but don’t get caught up in being cute, moody or vanity plays. Make SM best reflection of the team. As talked about, a social media presence is a reflection of the brand. Don’t sacrifice the brand for vanity metrics.

Before any brand and team goes on a tweeting spree, it’s imperative they understand their why. What do you stand for as a brand? What are your goals, objectives? How can social media help you get there? Focus on answering these questions before making a big splash on a fake holiday.

To get to the heart of matter, the metrics and content that will move the needle, I focus on three small but mighty words: Why, value and care. Read more about it here.

 

7- Screenshotting videos.

There are few things more frustrating than seeing the “play” button on Twitter to realize it’s not an actual video but a screenshot driving elsewhere. Not only is this deceiving for fans, but it also makes content consumption more difficult. Fans want to consume easily, quickly, wherever they are.

Content can live right on the platform, so why not meet fans where they are? The days of only driving people to .com should be gone. Let your fans consume great content on the platforms where they play and drive to deeper dives that social can’t provide.

 

8- Copy others.

The work we do in social media is public. The beauty in that is that every day there’s a new opportunity to be inspired. But inspiration does not mean copy. Take the content and campaigns that inspire you and use them as case studies and guides. Always do things differently and with your own spin. It’s important to elevate and ensure the execution feels right for YOUR brand.

 

9- Don’t get caught up in process.

When you work in an industry where things change daily, there’s no rules on how to get it done. Oh, all of a sudden Peach is the app of the century? Quick, put together a strategy on that! You won’t always have the answers on process, on best practices and on what the approach should be. You’re the pioneer, the renegade! Be the first to put together a thoughtful Peach strategy and own it.

If you want to work in social, get comfortable with a lot gray area. The one big failure in this industry is never trying, so you will need to take a deep breath, write the rules and own it. Don’t let process slow you down.

 

10- More advice.

 


What is on your list of things NOT to do in social media? Share below!

Thanks for reading.

5 Misses From Brands During The Super Bowl

Every year marketing geeks like me flock to watch the big game. Yes, for the football, but also for the ads, inspiration and lessons learned.

While many brands showed up right at this year’s Super Bowl, some fell short. And often there are strong lessons in the misses. So here’s a look at where brands went wrong during the 2017 Super Bowl and what we can learn from them.

1- Interjecting because you can.

We all know the Oreo “Dark In the Dunk” moment. It was the pivotal point in social that elevated—and also ruined— real-time marketing. After the wild success of that tweet, real-time marketing became an obligation and not just an opportunity for brands. Now brands insert themselves into conversations, holidays and events as a way to check the box. And, there were plenty of examples of that during the 2017 Super Bowl:

I don’t dislike real-time marketing; I dislike brands forcing themselves into conversations. Oreo is actually an example of a brand that did real-time marketing right. They had a plan going into the game that IF the opportunity came about to join in the chatter they would. But they would only execute IF they were able to execute well, on brand and in an engaging way. IF the lights had not gone out that night, then Oreo might not have activated. And IF they hadn’t activated, it would be all right. That IF is so important.

It’s important to step back and understanding what real-time marketing means for your brand. Why is this valuable to your consumer? Why you are inserting into the conversation? The challenge is to understand the IF. FOMO happens when real-time marketing is not done right. So make a promise to activate IF it aligns with the brand, IF it’s engaging for your consumer and IF you have the right content. If you don’t have all the ingredients, it’s okay to walk away.

Add value, not noise, period.

2- Petty fights.

If you work in social media, you should know one golden rule; do not engage with the trolls. You do you and I’ll do me. That’s the philosophy brands need to take on social media when engaging in battles, negativity, and back and forth conversations. This Super Bowl, there was a bit of cat fighting that went on.

First, there was the feud between Verizon and T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s Super Bowl commercial targeted Verizon. So of course, Verizon decided to attack back on Twitter, starting a pretty bizarre volley of exchanges (read more from Verge here).

The second example, comes from Poo Pourri. The brand seemed a bit threatened by Febreeze’s commercial. The result was this cheap tweet, which was neither funny nor engaging.

The interactions above provide little to no value for the consumer. People have enough going on in their lives; they don’t need brands outwardly living their insecurities and fears from competitors. Feuding and being petty won’t drive results. Focus on creating good content, adding value and actually connecting with your consumer. That’s energy, time and brand resources better spent.

3- Talking the talk, not walking the walk.

Audi’s commercial was a huge hit during the Super Bowl. While I love the message, I was skeptical immediately after I saw it. It’s easy to produce a pretty ad that captures attention because of a charged message. It’s another thing for an organization to rally around a strong statement and actually live the values they’re preaching.

After a bit of research, I’m not convinced that Audi completely walks the walk. They had their talking points up on their career page. And while I don’t doubt that they’re making strides, it does not seem like they live their message 100 percent right now.

Want to know what would have been powerful? If Audi had released the ad and backed it up with facts. It would have been great to see supplemental content. Content that featured stats about women in their workforce, along with stories and voices from actual women in their company. THAT would have taken this to a place of authenticity and authority. Instead, we have ad-like statements like the example below.

Taking a stance has become the “thing” to do with brands. Brands feel the need to play in every faucet of our lives. It’s a slippery slope. Consumers no doubt rally behind brands that live by missions and values they agree with, but that insight should never be used as a marketing ploy. With the way information spreads today, consumers will see through any brands that aren’t truly living by their value statements. Don’t run the risk of getting called out and losing credibility/trust. If you’re going to talk the talk, make sure you actually walk the walk.

4- Not taking an omnichannel approach.

Too often we see brands have big, flashy campaigns that only last one day and/or focus on one main channel. In today’s world, a successful campaign must rely on consumer touchpoints across everything.

There were very few TV ads during the Super Bowl that included a CTA or drove people to a destination to consume more content. Even a hashtag would do the job. Let me clear: I do not think a hashtag makes a campaign, but I do think it can give audiences a simple starting point to consume other content around your campaign. It’s not about one flashy spot but the full consumer journey.

As marketers, an omnichannel approach is critical to success. We must meet our consumer where they are, at any given point and in a way that is seamless and authentic to their consumption habits. Do not spend $5M on a Super Bowl ad and only create one piece of content (that ad) to throw up across all channels. That is NOT an omnichannel approach.

Social media and digital now let’s us dig deeper into the stories, drive our message home further and connect with our audience. Take the time to create a breadth of content for your campaign that engages your consumer. Don’t focus on just that one moment—but focus on an extended period of time. It’s not about one moment anymore, but chapters.

5- Riding someone else’s success.

After Airbnb released their beautiful spot, Xerox tried to latch on to the momentum. Not only is this tone corny, it’s lazy to try to latch on to another brand’s statement. Don’t be tone deaf. Don’t be lazy. Tell your OWN brand story.

What else did you take away from brands and their Super Bowl activations? Share your lessons below.