Should Brands Take a Seat on the Social Media Sidelines?
Content Creation

Should Brands Take a Seat on the Social Media Sidelines?

By Alyssa Zinar

First and foremost, Go Birds! Philadelphia is headed to the Super Bowl, and even the Empire State Building couldn’t help but bleed green in support – at least for a few hours Sunday evening.

It was all part of what’s become an annual tradition, in which @EmpireStateBldg lights up in the colors of the two teams that advance to the Super Bowl.

As a Philadelphia fan, I reveled in the fact that the official account of the World’s Most Famous Building – as it bills itself on Twitter – located in the city of our NFC East rival, who we took out in a 38-7 blowout in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, decided to celebrate our victory.

Giants fans, however, did not feel quite the same.

And while I certainly would share their outrage if any building in the Philly skyline lit up for the Giants, or any other team for that matter, the situation made me think about the role of a social media account like the Empire State building.

When should organization accounts suit up and get in the game? And when should brands take a seat on the sidelines of online conversations?

The line between to tweet or not to tweet in these situations is about as clear as if Brett Kern’s punt hit the sky camera’s wire.

Did the Empire State Building need to light up for the winner of the NFC and AFC Championship Games? No. Then why did they do it? It won’t drive visits to the building, but it will drive visits to the building’s digital presences. Its Eagles tweet has 45.3M views, while their other posts typically average around 30,000 views. Put simply, it was done for social media content. And it did it again when the Chiefs beat out the Bengals for their spot in Super Bowl LVII.

Brands such as Wendy’s have made bold social media moves a must-do for name recognition. This has plusses for sure, but it has also resulted in brands joining conversations that don’t necessarily move the needle on their business objectives. Content is great, but content also needs to be strategic.

Audiences are already drinking from the firehose when it comes to the amount of content out there. So, it’s important for companies – and even buildings – to make strategic decisions about what to post and when to post. Before pressing send, consider asking yourself these questions:

  • Does this post accomplish a goal for our organization?
    • If increasing social media impressions was the goal, the Empire State Building crushed it.
  • Does this post make sense right now?
    • Timeliness is always important, and the Empire State Building’s post was right on time.
  • Is our organization’s input important to the conversation?
    • This is the biggest question to consider. Did people need to see the Empire State Building’s celebration for the two teams going to the Super Bowl? Not really.
  • What are the downfalls of posting this content?
    • Were the impressions worth aggravating the Giants fan base?

The risks for the Empire State Building were small, but that might not be the case the next time a big brand account enters a conversation that is out of their league. What riled up Giants fans today, will most likely be forgotten tomorrow. But I won’t forget that the Empire States Building is an Eagles fan.

Fly Eagles Fly.



Alyssa Zinar

Alyssa Zinar

In her role as Associate Vice President and Senior Digital News Producer, Alyssa provides client strategy and support, manages social media pages, and engages in media outreach, strategic communications, event planning, in-depth research and video content creation.