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Social Media is like NFL Special Teams – It Can Make or Break You

I watched a couple compelling NFL conference championships this weekend.

  • The New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-20. The game was a close contest, and Joe Flacco out-performed Tom Brady. Late in the game, the Ravens drove down to what should have been an easy field goal to get them into overtime. The Ravens field goal kicker shanked the ball, and the Patriots won.
  • The New York Giants beat the San Francisco 49ers 20-17. This was a great defensive game under adverse weather conditions. The game goes into overtime between these equally-matched teams, and the defenses stepped up to make big plays throughout the game. Then the San Francisco punt returner fumbles the ball deep in 49ers territory. The Giants run a couple plays to get the ball in perfect position, and then they kick the winning field goal.

Both losing teams deserved more for their hard-fought efforts. You can argue that justice was not served for both losing teams to lose their games based upon special teams plays. Here is some insight: football locker rooms generally do not have a lot of respect for kickers and punters. Kickers and punters do not have to stay in shape, they rarely see contact on the field, and they almost never get their uniforms dirty. They have a cushy job – just come in and kick the blasted ball…how hard can it be?!? In regards to punt returners, they only carry the ball a handful of times during a game. Just hold on to the ball, so the real players can get on the field and decide who should win or lose the game. Special teams players are frequently the second and third string players on the team. It’s almost like they get sent on the field with a “try not to screw this up, guys…let the real men handle the important moments” type of attitude.

Do we treat our social media efforts any differently? Several businesses refuse to acknowledge the power and benefit of social media as part of their overall marketing and customer service strategies. For those businesses who do permit a corporate social media presence, yet still do not understand the benefits, the resources engaged on social media may be seen as second class citizens. Perhaps you have heard a few of these statements:

  • C’mon, social media isn’t really a job…you just play on the internet all day! Your salary is a waste of good budget.
  • Twitter is only good for letting people know what you had for lunch. Nobody cares, and nobody is reading your goofy tweets!
  • Who cares that you are the mayor of the local hamburger joint?
  • You’re blogging?!? Get a real job…do that stuff on your own time!
  • You’re probably just playing Mafia Wars or some stupid farm thing…

I will leave you with some food for thought:

  • Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater nails an improbable 59-yd field goal to force overtime against the Chicago Bears. He then hits a 51-yd field goal to win the game.
  • Arizona Cardinals punt returner Patrick Peterson takes it to the house 99-yds in overtime to beat the St. Louis Rams.
  • Social media channels were instrumental in theĀ Arab Spring revolutions.
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car monitors social media and helps a frustrated customer in this excellent and personal case study.
  • Dell Computers leverages social media both to drive innovation and to increase sales.

Winning football teams need consistent special teams play. Successful companies, or causes as was the case for the Arab Spring, need consistent and creative social media presences as part of their marketing and customer service strategies.

What are your thoughts on the NFL Conference Championship games? Who do you have picked for the Super Bowl? And what is your company’s attitude towards social media as a bona fide game changer?

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Brian Vickery

I love my wife and two daughters. I am blessed in that I also love my job as a principal and EVP of the Rocky Mountain Region for Mantis Technology Group. I am excited to promote our Pulse Analytics social media monitoring and sentiment analysis solution as well as our core software development and business intelligence services. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin. You can find Brian on .

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  1. [...] Bowl! Since I have no vested interest, I just hope for a compelling game with few turnovers, great special teams play, and quarterbacks keeping their eyes downfield for opportunities to make the game-changing [...]