Welcome back to the 5th week of the SEC Social Media Fan Experience. Each week leading up to the start of the college football season, I’ll be looking at how the SEC teams are leveraging social media to connect with their fans. After today we’ll have 2 more installments coming next Tuesday and Thursday, as the season starts that night. You can catch up on former entries in the SEC Social Media Fan Experience here.
Here’s the schedule for the series:
August 13th: The LSU Tigers and The Miss State Bulldogs
August 20th: The Texas A&M Aggies and The Kentucky Wildcats
Today: The Georgia Bulldogs and The Missouri Tigers
September 1st: The Auburn Tigers and The Arkansas Razorbacks
September 3rd: The Alabama Crimson Tide and The Ole Miss Rebels
How The Georgia Bulldogs Use Social Media to Connect With Their Football FansRecruits
As I’ve been going through the SEC Social Media Fan Experience series, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how each team does with sharing behind the scenes content from its Fall camp. Fans love these videos as it gives them a sense of how practices are run, which players are doing well in practice, etc. So I was a bit surprised when I checked the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels for Georgia Football and found almost no content from Fall camp. No videos, no recaps, nothing.
So is this an example of Georgia really dropping the ball when it comes to giving fans the content they want? Maybe….or maybe not. While Georgia isn’t sharing very much content from their Fall camp, they are also sharing a lot of content devoted to how former Georgia players are doing in the NFL. Also, I kept seeing the phrase ‘Commit to the G’ sprinkled throughout the content Georgia was sharing.
Then I came across this awesome video on Georgia’s Vimeo channel:
Now Georgia’s content focus makes a lot more sense. Georgia isn’t targeting fans with its content, the Bulldogs are trying to connect with recruits. Remember when I started this series I said that social media was a great way for college football programs to connect with both fans AND recruits. Georgia is the first SEC schools in this series that’s focused the majority of its social media content on connecting with recruits instead of fans. BTW note that one of the last shots in the above video is Todd Gurley posing with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during this year’s NFL draft. That’s no accident, the video is designed to show recruits how amazing it is to play in Athens, and that playing for Georgia will also help them go on to play in the NFL.
This goes to the heart of what all good social media strategies are about. Last week we looked at how Texas A&M is doing an amazing job of leveraging social media to connect with its fans through Instagram, Periscoping practices, even a kickass smartphone app that pulls all their social media content together in one place. It’s easy to look at what Texas A&M is doing with video, photos, livestreaming, and then look at what Georgia is doing and think the Bulldogs are behind the Aggies.
But you have to remember: Georgia is creating content that helps it reach its unique goals for social media. Texas A&M is trying to connect directly with its fans, while Georgia is trying to connect directly with recruits. Different goals which means a different approach to content creation and distribution. Both programs are doing a great job of creating content that connects with their desired audience.
How The Missouri Tigers Use Social Media to Connect With Their Football Fans
Missouri’s social media efforts seem to be a bit lax, to be honest. And it’s also a bit difficult to find the football program’s social media accounts, when I clicked on the main site’s Social Media section, I was pointed to the Facebook page for the Tigers’ football program, and the athletic department’s Twitter account. Some Googling led me to an Instagram account for the football program as well as a YouTube account(which hasn’t posted new content in 10 months) and one for Twitter. If I had looked at Missouri’s football social media accounts at the start of this series I probably wouldn’t with such a critical eye, but after seeing how well some of the other SEC programs are leveraging social media to connect with football fans, what Missouri is and is not doing stands out.
Yet the Tigers do seem to hit most of the high points. There’s a good mix of fan-oriented content, especially content that highlights players and markers that let fans know how close the season is to starting. Also, one thing Missouri is doing that I like is they are leveraging Twitter and Facebook to drive fans back to their website for in-depth practice reports, as you see here:
— Mizzou Football (@MizzouFootball) August 27, 2015
Maybe there’s a Periscope channel I just missed or something similar, but I’d like to see more content from Fall camp from Missouri’s channels. Although, it may be a conscious choice by Coach Pinkel not to share content from Fall camp. Many coaches are very protective of sharing what happens during fall practices (and rightly so). In fact, I would wager that Georgia is also purposely not sharing content from Fall camp, as Coach Richt is notorious for limiting exposure to the facility and practices during the Fall. In this case it can be a trade-off between giving your fans the content they want, and potentially giving opponents information about your team. But with the level of control that each program has over the content it creates, I think they can edit it down so they share content from practice that doesn’t give away their secrets, but does excite their fans for the upcoming season.
So that’s it for this entry in the SEC Social Media Fan Experience. We are down to our final week, next Tuesday we’ll cover how the Auburn Tigers and Arkansas Razorbacks are using social media to connect with their football fans (or maybe football recruits!). See you then!