Last night, The Philadelphia Eagles upset Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl LII, clinching the team’s first Super Bowl victory ever. It’s hard to believe this historic victory could be outshined by a 13-year-old, but last night’s halftime performance proved just that.
Justin Timberlake’s halftime show was phenomenal. He sang all his major hits, brought in a marching band, hit us with his famous dance moves, and paid homage to iconic musician and Minneapolis native, Prince. It was no shocker that he killed it; that’s just what he does.
However, what perhaps caught most people’s attention was near the end of his performance. He went back into the crowd to sing the last verses of his final song, “Can’t Stop The Feeling.” JT noticed nearby 13-year-old Ryan McKenna trying to snap a pic of the hallmark moment and stopped to take a selfie with him.
— Ryan McKenna (@RyanMcKenna02) February 5, 2018
Afterwards, Ryan was shown fiddling with his phone and seemingly paying zero attention to the fact that Justin Timberlake, only one of the most talented musicians of our time, was right next to him. Kids these days.
Cue the internet.
Not only did this surely earn Ryan fame at school, but his distracted pose also launched him into instant social media stardom. Even the Twitter account of NBC show, This Is Us, used the incident to preface the highly anticipated and climactic episode where we finally found out how America’s favorite dad, Jack Pearson, died.
— Jamie McCarty (@JamieMcCarty) February 5, 2018
— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 5, 2018
For the record, Ryan does know who JT is. The teen, dubbed “#SelfieKid,” has already appeared on Good Morning America and acquired over 8,000 more followers. Watch the full interview below.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 5, 2018
This was not the only viral moment of the day.
Kylie Jenner dropped the mic by finally announcing the birth of her daughter on Instagram just hours before the Super Bowl. The beauty mogul/reality star revealed what we all suspected in true Kardashian fashion, complete with a video montage that documented her entire pregnancy, kept secret until that exact moment.
The internet-breaking news flooded Twitter and prompted many to poke fun at how Kylie hijacked the Super Bowl.
Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner’s baby girl has arrived ?
— ? (@EUniversee) February 4, 2018
A baby out-trending the Super Bowl may sound absurd. In fact, it kind of is. But, the fact that millions were waiting with bated breath for this confirmation goes to show just how powerful the Kardashians’ grip is on social media.
What can we learn?
As digital marketers, part of our job is to be aware of all things occurring online. We look at these instances through our professional lenses to see what we can learn for the future.
Virality is not guaranteed
The internet is not fair. So many companies and individuals work tirelessly to get even just one person to engage with a post or tweet. Meanwhile, this random kid gets thousands of new followers by being a typical teen of his time, glued to his phone.
Do you think Ryan McKenna walked into U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday with the intention of becoming internet famous? He had no idea what he was getting into; he just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Not all of us (read: next to none) can get a selfie with Justin Timberlake that earns us overnight success. Unless you’re literally a Kardashian or an organization ingrained in the American psyche – Coca-Cola, Amazon, Apple, McDonald’s, etc – the majority of us aren’t guaranteed overwhelming interaction or response from our efforts. This doesn’t mean you should lower your expectations or that it can’t happen. It just means you’ll have to work at twice as hard as those who seem to have it in the bag.
LESSON: Developing your social media profiles and garnering an audience takes time and consistent manpower.
Timing is everything
If you don’t think Kylie’s birth announcement wasn’t purposefully timed, you’re neglecting the point. Nothing that family does is an accident. The thought had to have crossed Kylie’s mind that the Super Bowl was that day and that millions would be on their phones.
This is nothing new for the famous family. The Kardashians have a tendency of waiting til the eleventh hour to drop social media bombs to keep everyone on the edge of their seats. Khloe’s pregnancy, Kim’s baby names and recent surrogacy, and other significant moments over the course of their show have all been postponed until the public seemingly can’t take it anymore, reduced to silence out of cluelessness. Kylie following suit is certainly no exception. Whether you’re a fan of the Kardashians or not, you can’t blame them for finding a PR strategy that works.
LESSON: Research the best times to post your most biting, exciting, or noteworthy news. Use your own personal social media experiences to customize your media deployment timeline.
Stay on top of relevant conversation
Want to be at the center of the action? You have to be in the loop. If we check Twitter or Facebook right now, hundreds of companies and individuals are probably using Ryan McKenna’s now-famous shot as fuel for their own profile engagement.
Virality, although effective, is fleeting. As Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last!” When you see something as rare as a Ryan McKenna moment that your audience would find interesting or entertaining, do not hesitate to use it. We’re not saying to forgo living in the moment with family and friends in favor of sitting on social media, waiting for something to happen. The incident simply speaks to the importance of monitoring your social media feed to uncover where the conversation is going and what is trending. Engagement works both ways: if you’re not engaged, your audience will look elsewhere for the timely updates and shareable content they seek.
LESSON: Monitor your feed on a consistent basis to participate in the conversation, reply to comments, follow relevant accounts, and post punchy updates.
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