Super Bowl sets Twitter record, as Volkswagen launches social war room

No big winners in the social Super Bowl but brands work hard for attention

The Super Bowl may have set a record for Twitter, but it was a tougher game for companies trying to score big on social media.

Sunday's Super Bowl game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos was a blowout so it may have been a bit of a letdown for football fans around the country. But it wasn't a letdown for social media.

Social networks -- mainly Twitter but also Facebook and Google+ -- offered up a Super Bowl party within the party.

As fans snacked on dip and hot wings in their friends' living rooms, they tweeted and posted comments about their parties and about big plays, as well as big goofs, in the game.

"Twitter has evolved into the premier fast-twitch social media tool," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. "Don't like that referee call or loved the play? Tweet it and receive instant feedback across the nation. It's very easy to turn away and tweet for 45 seconds."

Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner, Inc., noted that for big events, like the Super Bowl, it's no longer enough to just cheer and jeer with the people sitting next to you. People want to reach out to a wider audience.

"The Super Bowl has been a very popular event for decades," Blau said. "Combine that with how social networking is growing today and it makes sense that more people are going to be turning to online communications for sharing their own personal feelings and thoughts about what they're seeing on television."

Twitter reported more than 24.9 million tweets were posted about the game and halftime show. Despite the one-sided game and the lack of a mid-game blackout, the Super Bowl garnered more tweets than last year's game, which brought in 24.1 million tweets.

In comparison, 31 million tweets were posted the day of the 2012 presidential election. Last week's State of the Union address brought in 1.7 million tweets.

Companies, like Volkswagen, Tide and Priceline, were trying to make sure some of those tweets focused on their own brands.

Volkswagen, for instance, had set up a war room filled with social media monitors, actors, writers and a production crew so they could catch any big trending topics on Twitter and take advantage of them by coming out with their own related tweets and videos.

For instance, when Denver was showing little progress against a dominant Seattle, Volkswagen tweeted, "Hang in there, Denver," and posted an 11-second YouTube video of two Volkswagen engineers furiously trying to come up with a solution to Denver's losing problem.

Luckily for Volkswagen, just minutes later, Denver finally got some points on the score board and the company answered with, "Denver fans: Our plan is working! That's the power of German engineering. #Touchdown."

Raashee Erry, media and connections planning manager for Volkswagen, said their timing was spot on.

"It was in line with our strategy," she told Computerworld. "We weren't playing favorites, but we saw an opportunity to boost the conversation, boost the momentum... We had a lot of fun. We got what we set forth to do and all in all it went really well."

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