It’s GAME DAY, y’all! College football begins in earnest tonight, and both the South Carolina Gamecocks and Vanderbilt Commodores will be in action from the SEC tonight. This is my favorite time of the year, the weather is cooler and football is in the air, I love it! Today we are going to wrap up this series with a look at how the final two SEC teams; The Alabama Crimson Tide and The Ole Miss Rebels are using social media to connect with their football fans, and maybe recruits as well.
How The Alabama Crimson Tide Uses Social Media to Connect With Its Football Fans and Recruits
As with most SEC schools, Alabama focuses most of it content delivery via the Big Three of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. On Facebook and Twitter, there’s a good mix of content from Fall camp, as well as visuals designed to program the larger football program, etc. One thing I noticed was that Alabama was using social media to promote a ‘flash sale’ of tickets to some of its game at a special low price for only 4 days. Smart thinking, and Alabama also uses Facebook and Twitter to push its fans back to its main RollTide.com site for practice updates and information.
But its on Instagram where Alabama really shines. The football program is an absolute beast on IG, they have the perfect mix of promotional content, but also giving you photos AND videos from backstage at the program and fall camp:
In fact it was the fan reaction online to this short video posted on IG during the Summer that prompted me to do this series:
Commitment takes no days off. #HuntFor16 #BuiltByBama #RollTide A video posted by Crimson Tide Football (@crimsontide_fb) on
Fans LOVE this type of content that goes behind the scenes and gives them a Backstage Pass. Alabama is the template for how every college football program should be using Instagram to connect with its fans. They pump out an insane amount of content, both in visual and video form, and they cover all the bases. Promotional, behind-the-scenes, spotlighting accomplishments of key players both past and present. They do it all, the only quibble I have with Alabama’s IG usage is that they have two different accounts, this one that’s billed as the official account of Alabama football, and then this one that’s run by the Alabama football staff. Not sure why they have two different accounts, and amazingly, they post different content to each. Still, Alabama’s IG usage is amazing, in fact it’s so good it makes me wonder if in another year or two Instagram could become more important to teams like Alabama than even Facebook or Twitter, as the site becomes more mainstream.
But it turns out that Alabama has one more social media trick up its sleeve. Remember that on Tuesday I mentioned that September 1st was the beginning of the period where schools could reach out directly to recruits in the 2017 class via email and DMs on Twitter? Bama did exactly that on Tuesday, sending recruits they are targeting in the 2017 custom graphics like this one:
Roll Tide Roll ??. pic.twitter.com/IqlPMSCYUu
— JJ⁴ (@jerryjeudy) September 1, 2015
Remember when I mentioned that schools can leverage social media to connect with fans AND recruits? This is a perfect example of how Alabama is doing the latter. Alabama DMed these ‘interest cards’ to 2017 recruits starting on Tuesday. It’s a great tool to let recruits know you’re interested and to make them feel good about playing for your school. Click the recruit’s tweets above and you’ll see he got similar DMs from other schools like Tennessee and Florida State.
Overall, I’m impressed with Alabama’s social media usage. It’s solid on Facebook and Twitter, but they really shine on Instagram. BTW no Periscope for the Crimson Tide, it seems. If they had a killer Periscope and YouTube presence, they would clearly be the class of the SEC when it comes to social media.
How The Ole Miss Rebels Use Social Media to Connect With Their Football Fans And Recruits
The first thing I notice is that Ole Miss football has an account on Facebook and Twitter….but no dedicated Instagram account? Wow that’s surprising, the athletics department as a whole has an IG account, but I couldn’t find one for just the football program. As this series has developed, we’ve learned that most every SEC team is making great use of Instagram to create visual and video content that connects with fans. I’ve come to expect it and Ole Miss not having an IG account for the football program really seems like a fumble. They are making extensive use of Facebook and Twitter, but the sparse content on IG really puts their overall social media efforts in a weaker light.
The Rebels also have a main YouTube account for the athletics department. One thing I did notice is apparently the Rebels last year and this year are producing a video series chronicling their football season. I thought this was pretty interesting, here’s what appears to be the first episode, covering Fall Camp:
Best single piece of content that any SEC school has created for its fans. I’m blown away by this video and if I were an Ole Miss fan I would so excited about this series! The quality is on point, this looks like a series that would be produced by ESPN or The SEC Network. As disappointed as I was with the Rebels lack of a solid IG presence, I’m far more impressed with this content, and am honestly surprised that more teams aren’t creating long-form video content like this. Well done, Ole Miss, well done.
So that concludes my look at how each SEC program is using social media to connect with its football fans and recruits. This series has been SO much fun that I’m not ready to end it. I think I’ll give away some awards….
Best Overall Social Media Usage: The Texas A&M Aggies. Solid from top to bottom, but the fact that the Aggies have been on Periscope since the Spring really puts them over the top, I give them major early-adopter points for that. Honorable mentions go to Alabama and Miss State.
Best Single Piece of Content For Football Fans: The Season – Ole Miss Football Fall Camp 2015. Mentioned it above, just blown away with the quality, it gives fans a recap of the 2014 season plus about 15 minutes of behind-the-scenes coverage of Fall camp, even lets you go inside a football staff meeting. Excellence.
Best Single Piece of Content For Football Recruits: Dreams by the Georgia Bulldogs. This video is spectacular, you will want to lace up your sneakers and play for the Georgia Bulldogs after watching this.
Best Facebook Usage: The Alabama Crimson Tide. Several SEC teams do a pretty good job on Facebook, including Alabama. But at the end of the day the Crimson Tide has something that no other SEC program comes close to matching: Over 1 Million fans on Facebook.
Best Instagram Usage: The Alabama Crimson Tide. Not only does the Crimson Tide produce a ton of content on IG, they cover all the bases; a mix of video and visual content. They focus on promoting ticket sales, on covering Fall Camp, and spotlighting current as well as former players in the NFL and even past legends. This is the blueprint for how a college football program should use IG to connect with its fans.
Best Twitter Usage: The Arkansas Razorbacks. The Hawgs not only tweet up a storm on Twitter, they’ve also been known to live-tweet football press conferences, which I think is a brilliant idea that I’m shocked other teams haven’t thought of doing this.
Best Periscope Usage: The Texas A&M Aggies. The odds are your favorite program isn’t even on Periscope yet, as only a handful of the SEC teams are so far. When you think about that, understand that the Aggies were Periscoping during their Spring Scrimmage back in April! That’s being an early adopter!
I hope you had as much fun reading this series as I did writing it! If you want to catch on the entire series, here’s each entry:
August 13th: The LSU Tigers and The Miss State Bulldogs
August 20th: 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
Today: The Alabama Crimson Tide and The Ole Miss Rebels