How the Mall of America and Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Rock Social Media

How Two Minnesota Brands Harness the Power of Social Media.pngWhat do Twitter blizzards, Pokémon GO trainer lounges and football-shaped ice sculptures have in common? They're all part of social media campaigns from the Mall of America and the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.
Below, we dive into what the two Minnesota brands revealed about their creative social media strategies at last week's Convergence Summit in Minneapolis, put on jointly by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Minnesota and the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication:

Mall of America surprises & Delights with social media

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Erin Vande Steeg, Social Media Senior Communications Strategist for the Mall of America

Now that 82 percent of consumers research their major purchases online, the Mall of America (MOA) saw an opportunity to join that online conversation and use social channels to act as a concierge service for guests and help drive revenue to the physical stores.

“We strive to provide a seamless experience before, during and after each visit,” Erin said during the "Convergence of Social Media and Real Life" panel at the 2017 Convergence Summit. An enhanced service portal provides the MOA team with a complete view of the social media usage in the mall using a geofeed system. This system allows its social media strategists to draw a perimeter around a mall location and view relevant posts based on keywords. This enables more customized engagement and interactions with MOA guests, who, no matter if it's Twitter, text or webchat, can expect a personalized response within two minutes – and most times within seconds.

But, more than just being responsive, the MOA social team is also working hard to explore new avenues of engagement, and has recently entered the realm of content creation, surprise and delight tactics (e.g. customized birthday gifts), and “phygital” events.

Pokemon Go.png

For example, when the Pokémon GO craze hit, Erin said her team dropped everything to accommodate the players flocking to MOA to hit the more than 25 PokeStops and two gyms within the mall. The team created the:

  • Pokémon GO Trainer Lounge that featured mobile phone charging stations and options for photo ops (see tweet above);
  • Customized hashtag (#PokeGoMOA) that was mentioned more than 1,300 times in three days;
  • Tips for Playing Pokemon GO at MOA” article, which is still the MOA blog’s most popular post; and
  • Facebook event for a Pokémon GO Meetup that reached 202,000 timelines and resulted in 2,800 attendees to the mall.

In addition to increased foot traffic, the MOA’s Pokémon GO social media campaign garnered coverage in media outlets such as AdWeek.

Another innovative strategy that the MOA social media team undertook was combining the physical and digital worlds. Recently, this took shape as the Mall of America Twizzard, or tweet-activated blizzard. Over a three-day span in November, people from all over the world controlled the weather inside the MOA by tweeting #Twizzard; the blizzard was activated once 1,000 tweets rolled in – creating a winter wonderland without having to step outside.


Active social media channels and creative strategies such as these allow the MOA to even further capitalize on the more than 100,000 citizen journalists (e.g. MOA guests who could potentially engage on social media) who frequent the mall every day.

Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee caters to fans alike

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Laney Austin, Digital Media Coordinator for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee

The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is also taking tips from the MOA as it enters the countdown to Super Bowl LII on February 5, 2018. To expand the Super Bowl beyond the actual football game, Laney and her team created the Bold North campaign, which features activities such as concerts and festivals, and inspiring individual stories and company recognition, in each of the 52 weeks leading up to the game. Celebrating Minneapolis and the region, the campaign goes beyond hot dish and lutefisk clichés to reflect the diverse and innovative culture of Minnesota.

Social media will play a role in inviting Minnesotans and others to embrace the Bold North. The campaign is promoting the #BoldNorth hashtag for fans to use when taking a selfie, for example, in front of U.S. Bank Stadium or participating in the 2018 City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival. One recent Instagram campaign that garnered quite a bit of attention involved football-shaped ice sculptures that were sent to all of the NFL teams around the country.   

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Laney says social will be crucial for engaging with the more than one million fans, guests and visitors who will descend on the Twin Cities, and capitalizing on the billions of social media impressions expected throughout the 10-day festival leading up to the main event. Partnering with the Explore Minnesota and Meet Minneapolis tourism boards will also ensure there is a steady stream of content, prompt response to visitor questions, and assurance of overall positive experiences. Laney mentioned that as soon as someone arrives in Minneapolis, they want to be able to tell them where to head for the best burger and how to get around town – all in real-time. 

Andrew Zimmern Bold North.png

Before you dive in to a campaign like the Bold North or Pokémon GO MOA, it's important to develop a solid strategy to ensure your efforts really do surprise and delight, answer burning questions, or provide a phygital experience - whatever your goal may be! 

What are some of your favorite social media campaigns? Share your inspiring ideas in the comments below!
About the Author

Kara Turtinen

Kara Turtinen is a senior account executive at Minneapolis-based Maccabee, a strategic public relations and online marketing agency.

Topics:  Social Media, PR Perspectives

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