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Friday, June 21, 2024

The Social Media Seven: 8/28–9/4 (College Football Kickoff Edition)

By: Parth Shah, @shah_parth_

Welcome to College Football Kickoff Week on the Social Media Seven, your weekly home for notable tweets, posts, and social media strategies in the world of sports. Thanks for joining us! It’s almost time to take the snap so let’s huddle up and choose a play:

1. Nebraska

Nebraska and the entire college football community watched this weekend’s game with heavy hearts. Playing their first home game of the young season without punter Sam Foltz, the community paid tribute to their beloved teammate and friend. In one of the most moving moments in sports, Nebraska lined up to punt with 10 men, missing Foltz, as a sign of remembrance and respect. After taking the delay of game penalty (which was respectfully declined), the social media team offered a tribute to Sam Foltz, with the entire nation watching. Great picture selection and great caption for an emotional situation. With the game still to be played, the Huskers’ team won on social media as well, putting together short, fun clips to recognize players and big plays, while trying to create a powerful atmosphere around Nebraska football. Most teams tend to utilize GIFs or high quality graphics to share scoring or turnovers, so the videos are a really nice touch.

2. Florida

The Gators’ social media team has started this season with a bang, producing high quality video content in lead-up to kickoff weekend. The video above is extremely well put together, doing well to showcase the buzz around The Swamp. Videos are successful because they capture and build upon a palpable excitement, and are much more engaging than simple pictures or graphics. The hype video did well across the football community, with many social media experts offering rave reviews at the quality of its content. It was shared extremely well across different social media platforms, offering Florida a great opportunity to cross-promote without cost.

3. Clemson

Clemson’s social media team, also ranked highly in the AP Top 25 (kidding, I think), proved itself once again this weekend as one of the best in the business. They produce sharp, beautiful GIFs that are just stunning to look at. These get even the casual fan excited, and again, are shareable. Noticing a trend with successful content on social media? Another creative part of the Clemson social media strategy includes weekly phone wallpapers, with the week’s theme and message along with the game. Not only does this increase engagement with fans, allowing them to show their pride, but it also sets a tone for the week, connecting with fans beyond gameday. It allows Clemson football to remain in fans’ minds all throughout the week, becoming a part of their day to day l

4. Utah St vs. Weber St

Fans witnessed history this weekend, as Twitter streamed its first live college football game on its platform. Early signs point to a successful first step, as fans appreciated the quality of the stream as well as the simultaneous sidebar of curated tweets. It will be interesting to see the ratings of the stream, including viewership, engagements, and reach. There are kinks that need to ironed out, including its ability to be shared and viewed on a timeline, along with better promotion of streams. However, this may have been the first of many live college football games on Twitter, as the platform tries to reinvent itself in an effort to stay competitive with the likes of growing Snapchat and Instagram.

Check out the finished telecast here!

5. Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report has grown tremendously as a sports news and entertainment media platform in the past few years. The organization does a great job curating and sharing shareable content for social media, including Vines of plays as they happen and shows, recaps, and more that aim to engage fans in conversation. As the platform continues to establish itself as a top-tier sports option for fans, it has ventured into hype videos to capture excitement, increase shareability, and grow the brand. With college football kicking off, Bleacher Report’s video graphic team, one of the best in the business, put together a really cool montage of the powerhouse teams and their chants/traditions that resonate across the sport. A must-watch for any college football fan, the video not only pumps up the start of the season but grows the brand in the process.

6. Snapchat

The growth of Snapchat has forced many teams and organizations to utilize it as part of their social media strategy. Individual programs are able to offer behind-the-scenes perspectives, account takeovers, and more. With kickoff weekend in full force, it was well done to have multiple geofilters detailing the upcoming games and getting fans excited to watch and share their experiences. Having interactive filters, including those giving fans an opportunity to predict their winner and auto-refreshing scores, are great for casual and dedicated fans alike. Because they are so easy to use, they are easily shared and generate buzz around the weekend, even reaching those users that don’t necessarily watch college football. Having an all-encompassing filter for a weekend’s duration can be expensive, but in a sport flush with money at the top, it is a worthwhile investment to try and increase viewership and engagement on social media.

7. Shah’s Social Media Strategy

Don’t force your content when you’re struggling. If your team or program is in the midst of a poor performance, don’t patronize your followers or make them feel as if the game is going well or doesn’t matter. Reduce your curated content, post less frequently for the period of time, and even aim to echo sentiments of dissatisfaction in a tone that is respectful and understanding to the fans and the program. Don’t de-value the program’s brand, but acknowledging sentiments that mirrors fans gives them something to relate to.

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