Thursday, February 18, 2016

Collegiate Marketing Directors: 3 Action Items to Consider Regarding Social Media Marketing in Athletics

        As an Director of  Collegiate Marketing and clearly a college sports enthusiast, you are well aware of the impact of social media when generating buzz and how effective social media marketing can benefit a department. As a graduate in the Northwestern Medill IMC program and a former student athlete, I have found two articles that address both sides of the spectrum of the effects of marketing on different social platforms.
      Julie Blakey's article, “The Intersection of Collegiate Athletics and Social Media” explains the upward trend of social media engagement in collegiate athletics. She details how the ability to connect with passionate fans on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can help develop a community where these collegiate brands can effectively engage fans with hopes of this increasing fan loyalty, with beliefs that this interactivity will produce future returns on investments. She goes on to give great examples of institutions that effectively use social media to help further their fanbase. For example, the Michigan Football Facebook page utilized the ability “like” button to get fans exclusive access to season and individual ticket packages before anyone else, which this sort of buzz pays huge dividends for the university. The University of Oregon has a room called the “Quack Cave.” that is dedicated to monitoring everything Oregon from the coaches, to the players,  and various sports. The approaches from both colleges signify a turn in collegiate marketing that  Julie believes is a win-win if universities continue to effectively utilize social media.


         In Arash Markasi’s article “Social media is a double edged sword in the sports world,”  he talks about the mindset of young athletes of today and their interactions on different social media platforms. In a study from the Pew Research Center showed that 92% of teenagers are online daily, and 90% of teenagers operate on at least one social media platform. Athletes of today tend to operate with a carefree mentality on these platforms, in which this mindset has had numerous examples of individuals ending up on the wrong end on the court of public opinion. For example, Yuri Wright lost scholarship offers from schools like Michigan and Notre Dame because of his explicit persona on Twitter and multiple BCS football coaches have admitted to social media activity playing a factor in college recruiting as well.  It is sort of tough to be so highly critical of these young athletes because they are young high schoolers and they should make mistakes, but essentially they are future ambassadors of the University as a whole, so that sort of responsibility weighs heavy on the minds of whether or not to offering college scholarships. Overall, it’s a great piece that effectively communicates the importance of being critical of what to post online.

         After reading these two articles and from my graduate studies in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, I have three action items you should consider in your next steps moving forward with utilizing social media, which are:

  •  Get Started: Utilizing every platform may not be necessary at first, so start with one(maybe Twitter first) and figure out an online persona that effectively conveys the desired  image/ message of the athletic department.
  •  Get Educated: Understand that everyone involved in the athletic department is a representation of the University as a whole. Education of social media etitique is a must from faculty to student-athletes to avoid any situations that would disrupt the public image.
  •  Get Noticed: In respect to the image of the University, try to differentiate your university from the rest. Be able to answer these questions. What makes people pledge a sincere allegiance to your university for years to come? How do you want to be perceived by someone who knows nothing about your university?

Hello my name is Deonte Gibson, and I graduated from Northwestern with a BA in Communications and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications in June 2015. I am currently enrolled in the IMC graduate program with an open-mind and eagerness to learn about the ever evolving field of marketing communications. The blog was inspired by my career goal to work on the marketing side of collegiate athletics, and how incorporating my knowledge of social media platforms to further marketing success. For more content or just to chat about the ever evolving field of marketing or just about sports, my twitter handle is @deontegib_13!

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