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NFL is No Turkey on Social Media

Holidays are always a great time for sports fans. Whether it’s college football on New Year’s or basketball on Christmas, professional athletics and holiday gatherings go together like whipped cream and pumpkin pie.  But no pair is more closely connected than the NFL with Thanksgiving; as we’re stuffing ourselves with turkey and cranberry sauce, it just doesn’t feel complete without football on.

But though we love tradition just as much as the next person, the NFL is doing things a little differently this year: they’re upping the ante when it comes to social.  With three must-see games planned for turkey-day Thursday (Packers at Lions, Raiders at Cowboys, and Steelers at Ravens), the NFL is attempting to increase social media engagement over this holiday staple through its recent partnership with Twitter.

Through this agreement (which has actually been in place since September), Twitter will be streaming real-time game updates, highlights, and videos directly into people’s Twitter feeds. This arrangement also leverages Promoted Tweets, wherein NFL representatives can send attention-grabbing video clips of the games, even in front of audiences that aren’t following the NFL twitter handles.

But that’s not all folks: this year the NFL isn’t stopping at just engaging the die-hard fans. The NFL also has plans to use Thursday’s anticipated audience to wrap up its year-long marketing campaign entitled “Together We Make Football.” This ongoing fan contest encouraged fans to submit essays or videos explaining why they love the game, and the best submissions have been continuously shared over social media sites for the past few weeks. In order to effectively pull some heartstrings on Thanksgiving, the ten best entries—five of whom will win a trip to the Super Bowl—will be announced during Thursday’s games.

Even on holidays, the NFL provides a great example of how to use its audience to drive social media engagement and cultivate meaningful, two-way interactions with devoted fans. Let’s just hope they’re not too good—otherwise we might just end up ignoring our families on the big day.

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