Front Porch Athletics intern Seth Jones, a senior at Montclair State University, took a deep dive into how 10 different schools – of all sizes – utilized their Twitter accounts to share information.
Twitter as an outlet for Athletic Departments usually attracts those who are already invested in various sports and the Athletic program as a whole. But I believe the school feeds can also be utilized to engage even more people which means developing more content that falls outside of the “game trap” and is more engaging. Those falling into the “game trap” will almost exclusively utilize their social channels to share pre/post-game content, scores, highlights, etc. without a focus on more beneficial “storytelling.”
I also found too many of the schools I studied do not seem to have a social media strategy and therefore have little or no engagement. Social media, like everything else we talk about at Front Porch, requires a goals, objectives and a plan of attack. Twitter is a dissemination vehicle and the schools should work on creating content that can be more engaging and shareable, not just a rehash of ESPN.com.
Here is a look at 10 schools I studied in February:
University of Pittsburgh- ACC
Pitt did a fantastic job in utilizing social media to show the school’s relationship to Black History Month. They had African American alumni talk about how their experiences shaped their careers at Pitt. With these interviews there are also photos and pictures from the 1960s showing the racial disparity in college football. They made multiple videos throughout the month.
They also did great job using their players and coaches to make content as well. One notable piece was done by a kick returner for the Pitt football team. They took a quick dive into one of the returns for a touchdown and I enjoyed getting a feel for him as a player and person.
Between all of the content that has been posted by Pitt, they receive anywhere from 5,000 to 12,000 views when they post player content. While thy do post a lot of game trap content, Pitt gets credit for sharing player focused content every 3-5 post.
University of Maryland- Big Ten
I was a bit disappointed at the type of content Maryland shared, For a well-known school in the Big Ten that has a large football and basketball following and a large team in marketing, I believe they should be able to get plenty of non-game-related content.
There was little to no player or alumni content posted anywhere on the page. The one short clip that was posted was from their gymnastics coach giving a postgame speech to their players as well as celebration after a win. For this 30-second clip they were able to rack up 3000 views. While part of the game trap, this video had higher engagement that most that generated between 300-700 likes for more popular content and under 20 likes on other posts. This is a low average for an account with over 150K followers.
Liberty University- Atlantic Sun
Liberty uses their network called Flame Central to give updates about what is going on across all of its sports. They show highlights, game feed, interviews, and more through this network. They do not post the important parts of their content on their social media. Instead, they show a quick clip of what their network had covered over the week. It lacks information to draw much attention to their players lives. Most of their content on Twitter is posting short hype videos and game-related content which does not get much interaction from their 45k followers.
Seton Hall-Big East
The majority of the content that Seton Hall posted was game related and highlights. But I was impressed that they used video to capture player emotions and thoughts after games. I got a sense of who their players are as people and they hooked me in, even though I don’t go to Seton Hall. I wanted them to win. Basketball seems to be the only sport with this type of unique content.
Princeton- Ivy League
I call Princeton a “serial poster” and they seem to be “doing it to do it.” Each day in February, Princeton posted 10-20 times a day on Twitter but registered little to no engagement. The school averaged about 2 likes per post and, for video content, 50 views. There are many posts on their page that have received no likes or interaction at all. Most Princeton content is in the game trap. Princeton, with so many incredible student-athletes, should be a leader in college sports in sharing great and engaging content.
I felt that Siena was too focused on game content. But I really liked the video segments where their head coaches posted mental health tips for players and students. With so much being written about this topic, it was really interesting to learn what coaches talked about and how they are paying attention to mental health. Siena is another school that seemed to have relatively low engagement and therefore could use a stronger strategy.
They post a very small amount of content each day. They are a well-known HBCU but, unlike Pitt, had very little historical black content posted during February’s Black History Month. Most of what they posted fell in the game trap. The other content that they usually posted were articles about either an upcoming game or the results from a win or loss. There is little to no engagement on their pages and have post with likes between 5 and 25.
I really liked what Wagner did with National Girls and Women’s in Sports Day. They had different women from each sport talk about what the day means to them. Each of the videos got between 300-500 views which is more than their average. Most of their other posts are article links regarding each team or fall into the game trap. But, I have to add that I liked the “mini movies” about the basketball team. As a film major, I noticed how these would have been even better if they had the players talk more through these videos. Wagner has limited engagement too.
Lehigh- Patriot League
The only content on their feed that was not in the game trap was one video about National Women in Sports Day and another of an alumnus talking about her career after leaving Lehigh. Both videos were well put together and showed the personality of the head coaches at Lehigh and how successful their alumni can be. Unfortunately, this was the only real content on the page. Minimal likes and views as well.
Hampton- Big South
There was little on their Twitter page. It looks like they only post every couple of days… if that. The account has less than 5,000 total followers and, when they do post, it is only about games. There is little to no engagement due to content and lack of daily posting.