The March mega-event SXSW 2014 has crystallized the current state of social media marketing: It's noisy for consumers and brands alike.

In a sea of social conversation, standing out during high-volume, time-sensitive events is a challenge for brands. But for those that successfully navigate the waters, the opportunity to reach an enormous, highly engaged audience is often well worth the effort.

We've seen multiple creative social campaigns during mega-events over the past few months. Take JCPenney's Super Bowl campaign for example. During the last hour of the game, the retailer took to Twitter and published multiple tweets that appeared as if someone was tweeting intoxicated—catching the attention of many. In reality, the typos were a ploy to showcase the brand's Go USA mittens for 2014 Olympic Games.

The #TweetingWithMittens campaign was an on-brand way to insert the company in the oh-so-cluttered Super Bowl social conversation. Not only did the campaign drive media coverage and generate buzz, JCPenney's director of social and mobile, Sean Ryan, also said that, "Our Tweets got more RTs than anything we have ever done on Twitter. Our week-over-week mittens sales also doubled."

Not every campaign brands run will result in the same volume of buzz as JCPenney's, but if your brand is contemplating how it can stand out during the next big event of the season, consider these four proven social strategies that can help you break through the noise.

1. Find and participate in existing targeted threads

Big events are broadcast in nature, but they also introduce threads nestled within the larger conversation. These focused discussions offer a location where messages are more likely to be seen or heard.

Sub-threads, such as specific Twitter event hashtags or LinkedIn Discussion Groups, are channels that enable narrowcast engagement for large-scale occasions. Creating these threads have become commonplace for big brands running multichannel campaigns. (Think CarMax's #slowclap or Budweiser's #BestBuds during the Super Bowl). Moreover, discovering existing topics offers the chance to resonate with a group of consumers with relevant interests. Talking about content related to marketing in a #SuperBowl conversation may as well equate to talking to yourself. But adding #BrandBowl marketing commentary provides focused content to a relevant conversation thread.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Jordan Slabaugh

Jordan Slabaugh is the director of Social Media at Spredfast, a social media management system for enterprise companies and agencies.

LinkedIn: Jordan Slabaugh

Twitter: @jordanv