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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Group of 5 Schools Find Ways to Amplify Content Through Student-Athletes

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(*INFLCR is a Proud Partner of Front Office Sports.)

Over a decade ago, Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist, and all that could be said about your “personal brand” was what people actually knew about you and perhaps who your top friends on MySpace were.

Now, Instagram has one billion users and Twitter has become the place to know about news or trades, if you follow the likes of Woj and Schefter, the moment they happen.

The other thing that has happened as these platforms have grown to prominence is the attention of people has shifted from traditional media outlets to the personalities and stars that make up everything from people’s favorite TV shows to their favorite sports teams.

Nowhere has this become more apparent than college athletics, where relative unknowns can be transformed into overnight social stars thanks to the exposure provided by most programs.

SEE MORE: University of Miami Turns to Tech to Help Student-Athletes Deliver on Social Media

Although Group of 5 Programs might not play in prime time every weekend, they still have ardent local and national fanbases who look to the team and player accounts to quench their content thirst.

For schools like Troy, where the marketing budget is not massive, social media becomes their best available tool.

“I think any G5 program will tell you that we have to make every dollar count,” said Jeremy McClain, Troy’s athletic director. “Therefore, social media is the most critical tool in our marketing ‘bag’ because the reach and ROI is so great. We can spend minimum dollars while reaching a much larger audience than all of our other mediums combined.”

It is these platforms that have given college athletic programs and their ambassadors the chance to have a two-way conversation with their constituents — something that wasn’t possible not that long ago.

“Marketing went from being a one-way conversation to a two-way conversation,” said Andrew Goodrich, senior associate director of athletics for external relations at the University of South Florida. “When I started as a marketing intern at Notre Dame, all of our advertising or promotion went one direction, from us to the fans, but the fans really had no ability to come directly back to us. Now, we can put a promotion out and we get instant feedback.”

Beyond having what is essentially a free way to reach a targeted user, social media has allowed schools like Fresno State to tell their story across multiple different platforms. When coverage from national media can be hard to come by, give these programs a more level playing field.

Stephen Trembley, director of new media at Fresno State, points to the opportunities to create regular engagement that can help build a successful brand and content foundation.

“We have the opportunity as an athletics department to be able to tell our story directly to our fans and engage directly with them. There’s no one perfect way to reach everybody, but when you start putting together different pieces to that equation you are able to build a foundation that turns into regular engagement.”

Helping make all of the aforementioned professionals lives easier is software company INFLCR. While the platform is the exact same for everyone, each program uses it in a way that is uniquely their own.

Troy is focused on using the platform to drive awareness to its “One Troy” mantra, Fresno State views it, among other things, as an educational tool that can help teach student-athletes how to better leverage their personal brands, and USF is focused on leveraging it to drive awareness among their staff, student-athletes, and prospective student-athletes that the USF Bulls’ five consecutive victories over Power 5 opponents is just as strong as their social media branding and student-experience tools.

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Trembley put it best saying, “At the end of the day it is a win-win for everyone involved. We now have a product that we can showcase when we are recruiting potential student-athletes and for both the department and current student-athletes we have a tool that makes it possible for us to grow our reach and them to build their brand. At that point, what more could you ask for?”

(*INFLCR is a Proud Partner of Front Office Sports.)

*If you’d like your men’s and women’s basketball teams to experience the power of INFLCR starting with the 2018-19 seasons, click here to set up a demo.

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