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This weekend, a select group of brands with big bank accounts will spend big dollars on ads that run during what is arguably the biggest marketing event in sports, the Super Bowl.

But thanks to social media, savvy marketers can take advantage of the big game without spending millions of dollars on a Super Bowl ad by following these tips.

Know what's going on

First things first: it's hard to capitalize on the Super Bowl buzz if you don't know much about the big game. Before Sunday, marketers should give themselves a crash course on the teams and players participating in this weekend's huge event. 

And because the commercials are themselves a star of the show, they should also familiarize themselves with the ads that brands are shelling out millions to show off, because much of the digital buzz before, during and after the Super Bowl will focus on these ads.

Participate in the conversation

With over 114m viewers, last year's Super Bowl was the most watched broadcast in US television history.

While a similar audience will tune in this Sunday, a sizeable percentage of Super Bowl viewers won't have their eyes completely fixated on the television.

Large sporting events are increasingly two-screen events, and tens of millions of consumers will also have their tablets and smartphones handy. Many will become active participants in the event. 

Last year, more than 28m tweets were posted globally during the Super Bowl, making the football game one of the most prominent single sporting events on the popular social platform.

While cutting through the clutter of tens of millions of tweets is no easy feat for marketers, the digital conversation around the Super Bowl is an opportunity for marketers to reach the very same consumers that some brands are paying millions of dollars to reach.

To take advantage of the opportunity, it's important for marketers to commit to participating in the Super Bowl conversation through their presences on popular social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and to familiarize themselves with emerging best practices for owning these events on these platforms.

Be ready to pounce

Live events always have the potential to surprise and the Super Bowl is no exception.

In 2013, a power outage created a great opportunity for nimble marketers.

Oreo, which has proven itself to be quite adept at agile marketing, capitalized with a clever tweet that quickly generated significant online buzz and led some to declare Oreo one of the biggest victors of the Super Bowl ad wars.

While marketers can't count on the 2016 Super Bowl to throw them a similar touchdown pass, marketers with an agile mindset and capabilities can ensure that they're prepared to take advantage of every opportunity that does arise regardless of how big or small.

Don't spam

Although it's easy to get excited about the Super Bowl, marketers shouldn't be aggressive to a fault.

Tactics like those used by Toyota in 2012 aren't likely to have the intended effect.

Patricio Robles

Published 5 February, 2016 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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