Millions of Americans will tune into Super Bowl LI on Sunday, February 5th. It’s an event so significant in the cultural landscape that it essentially renders itself a national holiday. While the day is undoubtedly about football, it’s no secret that advertisers and brands alike also consider it one of the biggest days of the year. In 2016, the broadcast drew an average of nearly 112 million viewers and counted a whopping total of 16.9 million tweets.


While big-budget commercials get most of the publicity, don’t sleep on engaging with fans on social media leading up to and during the big game. According to Influence Central, 78% of fans plan to spend time on social media while watching the game. Simply put, these platforms are where the conversation is happening.


The majority of Super Bowl watchers do so at a party with friends and/or family. And of viewers who plan on watching the game with friends, nearly half plan to spend between $100 and $249 on their gathering. The two aforementioned facts really reinforce what we already know; most people watch the game with friends, and many people plan to spend money on various products to maximize that experience.


Preparations by fans leading up to the Super Bowl present the first opportunity to engage with potential customers. This can be done in any number of fun and creative ways – from providing recipes before the game, to running a promotion on relevant products in the days prior to the game, to putting up physical banners advertising your establishment as the place to watch the game. After all, according to MediaPost, “Consumers are on social media to plan and prepare.” Leverage this insight to help craft your plan leading up to the event, specifically on social media. Think about how your brand, product or service can complement the fan experience leading up to game day.


The second time to engage, and equally important, is during the game itself. As we mentioned earlier in this post, 78% of fans are on social media while they watch the game. Social platforms serve as a sounding board for the game, the commercials and people’s experiences at watch parties. If your brand has a presence on social media, you need to place your stake during advertising’s biggest night. And, have fun with it. Get social with fans about the game, talk about the commercials, or make a play on one of the inevitably humorous memes. Use hashtags. Many fans will use hashtags as a way to tune into the social chatter regarding the game and topics relevant to the game. Again, spend some time determining where the strengths of your brand align with the interests of Super Bowl viewers. This is where you want to flex your creative muscles.


What social media platforms are deserving of your attention? As expected, fans will use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram extensively. During the game, a large percentage of the conversation will likely occur on Twitter where people can have real-time interactions. Additionally, Snapchat is deserving of consideration, as are Instagram Stories and other short-form video pieces. Ultimately, your organization has to decide which platforms make the most sense for your business and goals. Consumers today are more aware than ever about the authenticity of brands. And quite frankly, many consumers don’t want any part of brands that aren’t genuine. So take advantage of this opportunity to have some fun, connect with consumers, and be a part of advertising’s biggest day.