The following post is written by Kristy Ward, a student at Clemson’s Social Media Listening Center which utilizes Salesforce Marketing Cloud and StatSocial to work with the marketing departments of major brands:
Many sports teams have been on social media for years but their strategy has changed drastically. From once only posting stats, player bios, and team news, to now letting the fans experience the organization through different lens, letting them into all aspects that are involved in putting on a show. One team that is spearheading the use of social media accounts to reach fans is the staff of the Clemson University Football program.
Clemson’s Football team has had a successful regular season this year. In addition to getting press from their time spent on the field, they have also received plenty of attention from their social media activity. Jonathan Gantt, Director of New and Creative Media at Clemson, was recently featured in a Forbes article that highlighted Gantt’s use of Vine to give fans a first-hand view of Clemson Football. Clemson was also awarded the CFB Best Creative Content of the year.
Some of the Vines posted on the Clemson Tigers account show stunning pass plays, while others show coach Dabo Swinney dancing in the locker room. With a Vine following of 79K, Clemson has captured and retained the attention of a large audience with these tantalizing snippets. Clemson Football’s Vine account has over 101 million loops on their videos. To put this into perspective they rank 2nd when we look at the reigning champion in each professional sport. The Golden State Warriors have over 118 million loops, the Patriots have 53 million, and the Royals have 22 million, and the Chicago Blackhawks have 16 million loops. The most watched Vine was of Coach Dabo Swinney dancing in the locker after Clemson upset Notre Dame which has over 12 million loops
Leading up to the game of the week, Clemson posts stats of key players, videos of practice, and hype videos that include the highlights of the prior game.
Clemson Football turns the best visuals into post game videos, infographics, and digital content to highlight the game and players.
Fans also get a behind the scenes look at media events like awards dinners, interviews, and university events. The social team has let fans in to the teams volunteering, coaches and students talking the media, the Heisman awards, and of course the famous pizza party.
This compilation of visual social media posts across platforms targets fans’ desire to feel as if they are a part of the action of the football team. When I spoke with Gantt, he perfectly summed up how successful visual media has been for Clemson Athletics when he said:
“Social media is a crucial element to our communications plan. Every day we need to engage prospective student-athletes, current student-athletes, current fans and prospective fans and social media gives us an opportunity to do that. Through social media, we’re able to tell the stories of our student-athletes, coaches and staff and better serve all the stakeholders in our athletic department. And by putting an emphasis on social media management, we’ve been able to gain a competitive advantage in recruiting and marketing that’s helped us better accomplish our goals.”
Creating exciting visual content not only engages the fans, it establishes Clemson Football as a brand that fans can then be an ambassador for.