Insights from NFL Wild Card Games: What the Newspapers Won’t Tell YouJanuary 12, 2016
Last week, I mentioned that social media transcends traditional media. I’d like to elaborate on this idea a little more using Wild Card weekend to illustrate it.
The Meaning of “Transcends”
By “transcends,” I don’t mean to say that social media is mutually exclusive from traditional media. Rather, it has developed past traditional media, though it still shares some qualities—like a 3 year old who’s grown out of the terrible twos but still has the skills and knowledge that he/she learned over the previous year in his/her psychology.
Traditional Media vs. Social Media
Social Media includes a lot of the trends and headlines you’ll see from the traditional media outlets, but it goes beyond them to give us a real-time look into what the public really thinks about those headlines. Or often, commentators on social media care about something entirely different from what the headlines are suggesting.
Take this past week, for example, when nervous fans across the country wondered if their team would survive Wild Card weekend, and when millions of jaded fans whose team didn’t make it this far were left with itchy Twitter fingers. Despite the seriousness of Wild Card Weekend, the most influential post (or the post that generated the most engagement) over the last week involved the light, friendly banter between the Steelers and Bills, with a whopping ZPointsTM score of 158!
Traditional media, or our news stations, heavily focused on the brawl between the Bengals and the Steelers, and Vontaze Burfict’s 3-game suspension. However, the “headlining” post on social media focused on more lighthearted “news” — the Bills’ sandwich shipment from Pittsburgh, which fans thought to be very fascinating.
Visualizing the Social Chatter
A big trend that Zoomph is leading the way on is social media visualizations, which bring these transcendent social moments to the forefront of your brand’s website or live event. Social hubs not only highlight positive content for a brand—they also tell a different, more personalized story from what the news networks will tell you.
Even better, you can involve your fans in telling your story. Social hubs allow you to pull their content onto your screen, so you needn’t just guess at what they want to hear, but ask them to be your storytellers.
As an example, this is a social hub of the top 50 most influential Instagram posts coming from a Geo-fenced feed of FedExField during the Redskins vs Packers. Outside of this social hub, where else would you see an emotional Michael Jordan forming the face of a Redskins logo?
Finding Your Brand Ambassadors
A Social Hub of the top 50 most influential tweets about NFL teams over the last weekend brings up another interesting point about Social Media:
Notice the highest ZPointsTM post four lines down?
Its author, Matthew Espinosa, is an 18-year-old kid in California, whose simple, encouraging tweet about the Redskins garnered almost 4,000 retweets, 11,000 likes, and hundreds of replies.
In the age of social media, anyone can have a loud voice, but those loud voices can sometimes be drowned out by the traditional media giants that we grew up tuning into.
Influencers like Matthew include the news in their posts—in this case by reflecting the fact that the Redskins are losing—but goes on to transcend it with a personal slant, and a stressful Emoji.
In one sense, brands and organizations are challenged to be more vigilant than ever with their messaging. But in another sense, they have an unprecedented opportunity to develop brand ambassadors on an enormous scale and let the true voice of a fan or consumer be their greatest sales pitch.