As a public relations professional I often look at experiences through a marketing lens.
As I was lucky enough to attend attend the Minnesota Vikings’ 2018 NFC Divisional Playoff game against the New Orleans Saints, I took that opportunity to throw some spaghetti against the wall by sharing my experience on my social channels to see what happened.
Documenting The Big Game
First, if you’re going to document your experience at an NFL playoff game, you gotta go all in. This is how I was equipped.
- Dalvin Cook jersey,
- Vikings cap,
- Spectacles to record first person view,
- My iPhone with unlimited data,
- Two portable chargers. and
- A cord to recharge my phone.
I planned to capture video footage using my Spectacles for Snapchat, shoot photos and video for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and do some live streaming on Facebook and Periscope.
Here’s what I learned.
10 Social Media Marketing Lessons Learned at Vikings vs Saints Playoff Game
1) Plan Early
I went to the Vikings Locker store at the Mall of America on Saturday with the intent of picking up a Case Keenum jersey but there were none to be had. All sold out. With a choice between two quarterbacks in Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford who may not be with the team next year, I settled on Vikings rookie phenom running back Dalvin Cook’s number 33.
2) Get A Panoramic Shot
Use your smartphone camera’s panoramic setting to capture a long, panoramic vista. These shots capture the ambiance of the setting and are perfect to use as your Facebook Page or Profile cover photo because users can pan around with their mouse, or if viewing from their phone, use the phone’s gyroscope to pan around the photo.
3) Live Streaming? Not So much
When you have 66,600 rabid Vikings fans in one stadium gathered for the first post-season appearance in their spanking new stadium, you gotta figure the WiFi and cellular connections might be a bit too overwhelmed to handle a live stream.
4) Know Thy Orientation
While I did manage to capture some footage while live streaming on Facebook, the stream did not last very long before cutting out. Even so, I should have been holding my phone in landscape orientation rather than the skyscraper view. The meager 40+ views on this footage of the Vikings dragon ship are evidence that Facebook users refuse to crane their neck to watch videos.
5) Know Thy Hashtags
Since I am a Vikings super fan, I already know my Vikings hashtags. But if you don’t know what the hashtags will be for a mass event you plan to attend, do some research ahead of time so you’ll know what hashtags to use. These are the hashtags I used with my social posts:
- #Skol & #BringItHome (these create special Vikings emoji on Twitter)
- #MINvsNO (this is Twitter’s standard gameday hashtag)
- #NOvsMIN (to reach Saints fans, who naturally will put their team first)
6) Harness The Moment
Reflect the emotions that your fellow fans are feeling. If you can empathize with the thrills and disappointments that fans feel during a game and express that through your social posts, people will be far more likely to engage with that post by liking, sharing or commenting on it.
Here’s a word cloud of positive and negative emotions fans were expressing on Twitter during the game:
This is a word cloud of some of the things that were driving those sentiments:
And these were the things that people were talking about on Twitter during the game:
7) Good Enough Is Plenty Good
If the timing is right, good enough is plenty good.
I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat to Stefon Diggs’ game winning, walk off touchdown. I captured the play on video and uploaded it soon after first to Instagram, then to Facebook and Twitter. Because Instagram uses a 4:3 aspect ratio for videos, it cut off parts of the actual footage I had in 16:9 ratio.
That did not matter to Instagrammers, who watched the clip to the tune of 20,000-plus views. I don’t have a huge following on Instagram, so the vast majority of those views came from people who were searching for Vikings content in the moment:
8) Understand Your Audience’s Habits
Being a die-hard Vikings fan myself, I know how Vikings fans behave.
We read about the team leading up to the game by visiting the local news sites, the team site, team blogs, and national sports outlets like ESPN, Fox Sports and Yahoo Sports.
During the game, we share our reactions and interact with other fans on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.
Immediately after the game (unless we’re attending it, of course), we visit our team’s website to watch the live streaming video of the post-game press conference. As you can see from this chart, traffic to Vikings.com ticks up following the game and continues the day after the game.
We search for team-related content leading up to and following the game. The charts below show Vikings- and Saints-related search data from Google Trends during the week of the playoff game. As you can see, the rising related queries have to do with the final play of the game. For Vikings fans, their search queries betray a desire to relive the glorious moment while Saints fans appear to want someone to blame.
Another way fans share their experience is by sharing stories about the experience. The following charts from BuzzSumo illustrate Vikings stories share to social media during the week of the game. The preponderance of shares were to Facebook and most of those shares were of videos.
These are the top 5 stories by number of shares:
- Paul Allen’s Radio Call of the Minnesota Vikings’ Unbelievable Miracle Touchdown vs. Saints – 226,900 shares
- Vikings win on Diggs’ incredible 61-yard walk-off TD – ESPN Video – 141,100 shares
- Sound Of Crowd During Vikings Game-Winning TD From Sideline Will Give You Chills (WATCH) – 132,500 shares
- After Miracle Finish, Vikings Quarterback Pays Tribute To His Wife And To Jesus – 94,100 shares
- Right Team, Right Time | By Case Keenum – 55,600 shares
Another way we relive the experience is by going to YouTube to watch clips and commentary. As of today, the top two trending videos on YouTube were about the game:
And here they are:
9) Timing Is Everything
The Instagram post I mentioned above enjoyed the benefit of being findable at exactly the moment when people were looking. I posted the actual, much better, 16:9 ratio video to YouTube on Monday and as of now, it only has 270-some views.
However, the two post-game clips I uploaded to YouTube showing the crowd erupting with joy and the players celebrating on the field have earned 8,000 views between them:
This highlights the fact that people had already seen footage of the game-winning touchdown over and over again the night of the game. The day following the game, they started searching for fan reaction videos.
10) Think Creatively About What Constitutes Content
This chart shows my heart’s beats per minute as measured by my Fitbit. That peak starts in the final 25 seconds of the game and reflects my joy over the Vikings victory:
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