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I'm Kelcey Blanks, a 23-year-old public relations/marketing professional. I'm obsessed with all things social media. My family, friends and pup make my world go 'round. Clothes, jewelry and shoes make me happier than a kid on Christmas. And chances are I'm already planning my next meal in my head. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Facebook PR introducing “WatchWith” party during Super Bowl

by Kelcey Blanks 

Excitement is in the air leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl match up between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, and Facebook is also finding a way to be a part of the big game. The public relations team at Facebook has decided to involve and reward celebrities who share updates, pictures, and posts with fans throughout Super Bowl XLVIII.

These famous people are connecting with fans during the “WatchWith” party. Celebrities and fans are being encouraged to use the hashtag #FBWatch during the game when posting anything relative to the game.

  • CNN host Rachel Nichols
  • Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams
  • New England Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty
  • Tennessee Titans cornerback Jason McCourty
  • Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo
  • Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson
  • Actor Josh Duhamel
  • Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones 

This PR move by Facebook is to get famous people to start sharing “public content” much like what is done on Twitter. Facebook sees how well it is working out for other social media sites and is trying to get a foot in the door of celebrities using their site for more than just the typical fan page. Celebrities don’t usually do a lot of interacting with fans on Facebook, and the PR folks are trying to change that. And they figure it might not hurt to throw some incentives in while they’re at it.

That’s right, these celebrities aren’t in it for some fun and to socialize with fans over the biggest night in football. Facebook is planning on hooking them up with some awesome perks, including free advertisement, partnership with press to highlight those who participate in a feature about the “WatchWith” party, amplified promotion and the list goes on.

In order for the celebrities participating to receive these incentives, they have to achieve a few things on the social media site first. They must share a pre-game photo, answer fan questions, comment on the half-time performances, share their favorite commercials and promote the #FBWatch hashtag with fans.

It all seems simple enough, but it sounds strangely familiar. Sounds like Facebook may be taking a play straight from the Twitter playbook. And why wouldn’t they? Twitter’s interactive approach seems to be working very well for them. Celebrities and companies appear to be interested in Twitter’s approach for promotion and branding tactics. It is huge in the world of marketing, advertising and public relations. Twitter is also so fast-paced that is constantly changing and evolving, while Facebook has remained stagnant over the years. Even though Facebook claims to not be morphing into an exact replica of Twitter, they have recently added verified accounts, hashtags and are introducing trending topics

Facebook has over a billion users. Why do these semi-famous people need to be offered incentives to participate in an event that will probably help them gain an even bigger following? It all just seems like a promotional tactic to get people to switch from Twitter to Facebook.

Facebook has been all about changing in the last couple years, so maybe this might put them ahead of their competition. Or maybe, people will just realize that they prefer the original Twitter. As innovative as Facebook is, it shouldn’t be this hard to create something new and fresh for social media users to latch on to.

It seems like a good try by Facebook PR to try and shift Facebook in a new direction. It’s justifiable to give consumers what they want, and everyone appears to be interested in the interactivity that Twitter has to offer. I’ll be eager to see if the Facebook Super Bowl party is a success for the organization or a complete bust. It is time for the social media site to be making changes, I’m just not sure if ripping off Twitter is the way to go about it.


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