Aside from the Baltimore Ravens winning Super Bowl XLVII yesterday, the big news coming out of the game was a sudden power outage at the New Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome shortly after halftime.

As public relations pros, something we appreciated during this time was seeing some big brands taking the pause in gameplay as an opportunity for a little clever promotion via social media. While brands used a number of social media channels, including Flickr and Tumblr, to get some clever messages out, reports point to over 231,000 Tweets per minute during the unexpected break. For example, Walgreen’s tweeted, “We do carry candles. #SuperBowl.” Oreos also tweeted, “Power out? No problem” and posted the picture included in this post.

There are a few reasons why these fast-acting Tweeters caught our attention, and why these tweets worked.

  1. The power outage was harmless. With half the lights out in the Superdome, no one was in danger or injured; it was simply a temporary inconvenience. When connecting your brand to a current event, it is important to make sure you are not making light of serious situations that deserve reverence and respect. Make sure you consider this first and foremost when Tweeting about a current event so you don’t post anything that could put your brand’s reputation in jeopardy.
  2. The Tweets were ultra-timely. Walgreen’s, Oreos and others Tweeted while fans were waiting for the lights to warm back up – only a 34-minute time span. Had they waited until tomorrow, or even an hour, the power outage would’ve lost steam as a hot topic on social media channels.
  3. The posts had a captive audience. Chances are many football fans (both in the stadium and those in TV land) were passing the time using Twitter or Facebook mobile apps on their smartphones. The social media managers for these brands acted quickly enough to post before the game started back up and attention was no longer on Twitter.

You may have noticed that these lessons-learned not only apply to social media, but they are also applicable to communication in general; good communication is always about being appropriate and timely, and reaching your audience wherever they are.

If your Seattle- or Washington. D.C.-area company is interested in learning more about good communication and how to optimize your brand for timely PR opportunities, give us a call for more information.