Welcome back to the 4th 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 be over halfway through the SEC, with 2 more installments coming next Thursday, and then we’ll wrap up the SEC on September 1st and 3rd, 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
Today: The Texas A&M Aggies and The Kentucky Wildcats
August 27th: 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 Texas A&M Aggies Use Social Media to Connect With Their Football Fans
The Aggies, like most other SEC teams, has dedicated football social media accounts on The Big Three; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As we’ve been discussing, visual content: photos and videos, are a big hit with SEC fans, and most teams are smartly using Instagram to distribute visual content, then seeding that content through other main channels like Facebook and Twitter. And the Aggies also have a YouTube account for the football program that’s giving a lot of video content around Fall camp, scrimmages, interviews with coaches, etc. Fall camp is tailor made for diehard fans. The average football fan may only follow his or her favorite team on Saturdays when they play, maybe they’ll read a few updates in the paper, but that’s about it. But true Aggie fans want more access. They want to delve into Fall camp, they want content that gives them daily updates on how each practice goes, which players are doing well, etc. So the Aggies are doing a great job of giving their hardcore fans that Backstage Pass they want.
Now so far, there’s nothing earth-shattering about the social media mix that Texas A&M is utilizing. It’s smart, but it’s also expected. But the Aggies aren’t done. Not only are they active on Periscope, it turns out the Aggies have been utilizing Periscope since at least March. I would think that would have to make Texas A&M one of the first football programs in the country to utilize Periscope, and since they are in Texas I have to wonder if their social team found out about Periscope at SXSW.
Also, Texas A&M has a pretty cool smartphone app that does a nice job of being a sort of content dashboard for football fans:
This is perfect for an Aggie fan as you have not only news but the latest social media content from Texas A&M right on your smartphone. I do wish the app integrated Texas A&M’s Periscope feed, but that may not be possible with a smartphone app since Periscope is live-streamed content with a 24-hour lifespan.
But from a marketing/brand advocacy standpoint, consider this: What if your company had a smartphone app like this for your Brand Ambassador Program? Perhaps the functionality could include options for you to create and share content directly with the brand, and also have options to contact the brand directly. It would be possible to snap a photo of something happening in a retail location (good or bad) and share it directly with your brand contact. Or your fans could even do an audio interview with a customer on the fly, then send you that video or audio content. The possibilities are endless and a smartphone app for your brand ambassadors could be a wonderful idea. Speaking of which, if you are involved in a brand ambassador program and the brand you work with utilizes a smartphone app for its ambassadors, please mention it in the comments!
Overall, I like what Texas A&M is doing with social media, they have a nice mix of content across several channels and I’m very impressed that they have been using Periscope for so long. Plus the Aggie smartphone app is pretty cool, although to be fair I believe a few other SEC teams have similar apps. Still, I think Texas A&M is probably making the best use of social media to give the fans the content they want than any of the SEC schools I’ve profiled so far, just ahead of Miss State and Tennessee.
How The Kentucky Wildcats Use Social Media to Connect With Their Football Fans
Once again, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are the main social media workhorses for distributing content to fans. One of the almost disadvantages that a team like UK has now that we’re halfway through examining how the SEC teams use social media, is that by now I’m not looking at how each team uses social media as much as I’m looking for how they are using social media better than the other schools. I’m looking for something that stands out, like with A&M it was the long history of Periscope usage and the smartphone app. Given that, I’m not seeing a lot of ‘wow’ in UK’s social media efforts for its football program. Which isn’t a bad thing, the Wildcats seem to be utilizing all the main channels which is what you want to see. I did think the Wildcats Instagram content was a bit weak, I would have liked to have seen a few more videos and photos that highlighted individual star players. For reference, I thought Miss State has an amazing IG page.
— Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) August 8, 2015
One thing that I thought was interesting is that UK promotes Head Coach Mark Stoops as its Twitter account for the football program. Interesting approach to have the head coach be the face of the football program on Twitter, but it does make some sense. Also, I noticed on Facebook that UK was sharing content and pointing fans back to its main website for detailed practice updates. I like this approach, South Carolina does the same thing. It’s always a good idea to move fans off of social media channels you don’t own and point them back to site that your school DOES own.
Also, UK posts video updates to YouTube on a regular basis, I think this is smart as well. While Periscope is the hot new tool and likely more popular with younger fans, it is live-streaming, which means it’s gone after 24 hours. YouTube videos stay up, so it makes sense to utilize both as well as Instagram for video content.
So that’s it for this week’s look at how the Wildcats and the Aggies are leveraging social media to deliver content to their fans. We’re getting closer to the end of this series, and closer to the start of the college football season! Next Thursday we’ll wrap up the Eastern Division with a stop in Athens to see how the Georgia Bulldogs are using social media to connect with their fans, then swing west to Columbia, Missouri, for a closer look at the Missouri Tigers’ social media efforts. See you then!