Meet The Super Bowl 46 "Online Street Team"


This is a guest post by Chris Theisen, Director of Digital Communication for FlexPAC and part of the #social46 initiative created by the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee.

If you are a football fan and reading this you probably already know that Tim Tebow set a record for the most tweets per second in America, earlier in the playoffs. While Tebow’s popularity has waned since then, Twitter’s has not. Due to the continued rise in social media usage by the general public (not just us geeks) the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee set forth a task of becoming the most socially connected Super Bowl.

Now to many of you, that may seem like spin, its true the bar hasn’t been set very high by previous cities. Indianapolis is making a serious effort to set that bar high for years to come however. Tag the official host committee Twitter account with a question or comment and you will get a response. The social media command center, a first of its kind for a Super Bowl, is being staffed by students from local colleges under the watchful eye of the Indy agency Raidious. So what if someone adds a hashtag? A response will come shortly, as the command center is monitoring around 20 different tags. A simple tweet with context, Indianapolis and parking, will catch the watchful eye of the team. 

A visitor (or local) who isn’t on Twitter? Indy has them covered also. Between alerts; text INFO to SB2012 (722012), questions; ask Indy based ChaCha anything Super Bowl related via sms at 242242 and amazing 3D 360 degree views via an iOS and Android app (search Super Bowl XLVI), the host committee has pulled out all the stops. Better believe there is a Facebook page too. 

To all of us in the industry, this all seems to be the basics of any social presence. One other part of a good social presence is community involvement. The committee chose to task a group of 46 (for Super Bowl 46) socially connected locals with promoting the Super Bowl, and all the ancillary programs, both locally and nationally. 

The #social46 were identified originally by Klout scores and augmented with selections by the committee. While the methodology behind this isn’t without debate (a great post on it was written by Jay Baer) the numbers have been staggering. 

Outside of creating tons of tweets, FB posts, blogs, a great Storify set and videos, the group is also running a photo submission contest. Participation by people regionally is welcomed and encouraged as the grand prizes include hotel rooms, another great way to promote the City of Indianapolis. 

Jessica Murray, Community Manager for Social Media Club, asked if the city will keep this up after the Super Bowl and in some form, a lot of this already exists. The Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association already monitors mentions for the city online and does a lot of blogger outreach to try and bring outside traffic to the city. During big conventions, local restaurant Scotty’s Brewhouse and food trucks like West Coast Tacos, monitor and post content to convention specific hashtags and Facebook pages. After the Super Bowl events, I would hope the city looks into a more structured social outreach program. The current Mayor’s office tweets, have picked up on the #social46 hashtag and the Mayor himself visited the command center. 

While the bar has been set low previously, I’m sure Indy will, and has, set it high for future host cities. I even suspect the NFL will take a long hard look at bringing this effort in house for future Super Bowls, and possibly year round. 

Have you visited Indianapolis for Super Bowl 46 yet? If so, have you utilized any of the social outreach programs listed? If you haven’t what are you waiting for, Indy is within a days drive of 75% of the United States. If you make it, send some tweets to the #social46 “online street team” and who knows you may even get a tweet from me.

By day Chris Theisen is the Director of Digital Communication for FlexPAC. By night he is a husband, father and social media junkie (ok thats all during the day too) The social media addiction led to his selection by the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee as one of the #social46 tasked with promoting Indianapolis and the events surrounding the Super Bowl. You can connect with him on a myriad of social networks via christheisen.com