It’s time to continue our journey through the NCAA Digital Landscape, revealing my ten favorite digital and social media best practices from the Pac-12 Conference. The goal remains the same: to shine a light on programs who are trying new things in the hope of inspiring the rest of us towards something even greater.
Here we go.
10. Arizona State, Oregon, and Stanford Show Us Women’s Sports Posters with Swagger
After looking at so many conferences, it becomes tougher for schools to truly stand out. Perhaps that’s why I was so drawn to the attitude and confidence projected by three women’s programs through the visual approaches of their Facebook pages. Or maybe I just love seeing programs give the same social media love they would put into men’s basketball or football into all sports. Take a look below and feel each program.
9. Oregon Basketball’s Trip to Nike
We all know that Oregon and Nike hold a close relationship. But that relationship goes beyond a logo on a fresh set of uniforms. As you’ll see below, the Ducks give us a video look into their tour of Nike’s campus, including their practice session in Nike’s gym. Really cool to see and feel all the elements of what makes going to Oregon an experience, not simply a decision you make.
8. Arizona State’s Swag Scavenger Hunts
Who doesn’t want free gear? Every time I go to a sporting event I get amazed by how crazy fans go for the t shirts or hats or whatever is being tossed into the crowd. Which of course made me think, why not do the same in your social media channels? Enter Arizona State. As you’ll see below, they teased the fact of free gear being dropped into their gymnastic meet. This is not a one time thing, it’s a series they can “Find it Friday.” Which means that by repeating and building on the idea, the Sun Devils can create an extra reason for fans to engage with (and pay attention to) their posts.
As you’ll note in the tweet below, every winner creates an opportunity to both draw attention to #FindItFriday and to create the feeling that you, as a fan of ASU, can’t afford to not tune in and pay attention to posts.
— Sun Devil Athletics (@TheSunDevils) February 23, 2013
7. Did Washington Reinvent Player Bios in Facebook?
I’m not sure if this was anywhere near the intention (and no, I didn’t see this applied to every player…yet). But when I saw the image below (or here) on the UW Huskies Facebook page, my mind started racing. What if we took this idea and ran with it? Built powerful, repeatable branding for each of our players and delivered it into the fan communities? That just might be too much to take. So inspiring.
6. Stanford’s Signing Class YouTube Playlists
Signing Day. It’s one of my favorite days in college athletics because it is full of one thing… hope. Every fan base is reminded of what could be as they see new student athletes agreeing to join in the vision for their program. And, of course, as a potential student-athlete, this is a sign that you’ve made it to one step on your journey.
I also love signing day because (outside of the school and some very niche sites) no one knows anything about the new student-athletes. It makes for a perfect opportunity for the school to tell the story, as they have more insight than anyone. Stanford does just this and then some, creating a full YouTube playlist breaking down all members of their incoming class.
As you’ll see in the Inside Linebackers segment below, the Cardinal combines coach insight with highlights and special effects to show how the player could fit into a bigger vision. Incredibly impactful idea that could apply to all sports.
5. Washington Basketball Shows Us Instagram as Art
Instagram is not simply a way to take and upload a picture with an iPhone. It is a way to tell a story of the perspective you see. This act of taking a photo and sharpening it — of putting the focus on what you are trying to share makes Instagram part photography and part artwork. Washington Basketball is doing just this – using Instagram as a way to tell a series of stories on what it means to wear their uniform. As you’ll note below (or here), it’s pretty inspiring.
4. Colorado Basketball Unveils Raw and Emotional Post Game Video
It’s extremely rare that we as fans or prospective student athletes get a look into the locker room postgame. Yet this is exactly the place where we have the most potential to fall in love with a program. As you’ll see in the video from Colorado below, you get a peak into what happens after a big win under Coach Boyle. The view is authentic and raw, not overly produced. And the impact you’ll feel is genuine.
3. Stanford’s Commitment Documentary
Stanford Basketball takes this another direction — telling the story of their program as they build it, under the name “Commit to the Court”. These videos are definitely authentic… but they feel more like a feature film than they do a quick look into the program. The takeaway is strong: you begin to believe in their vision, and of course pull for this vision. And the other thing I took away, both from the storyline and the style is this: Stanford believes in this vision too. There’s a lot of power in that thought.
This message is extended through social media to their Facebook and Twitter communities, as you’ll see below.
2. The Oregon Digital Quack Cave
There was quite a bit of buzz around the physical Quack Cave, a place where Oregon students and staff could monitor the social media conversations on the Ducks in realtime (I even blogged about it here). But today’s profile is about the digital manifestation of the Quack Cave. As you’ll see here and in the images below, Oregon has created a realtime hub of the social media conversation in three areas: Ducks student athletes, Ducks coaches, and Ducks staff.
I’m digging this for many reasons. It definitely is a visual pulse of the program, but it’s more than that. This is an easy way to get a feel for the program. This is a much easier way to explore their social media conversations than clicking individually on every coach and program. Now I’d love to see how the Ducks can take this model and introduce it into the physical world in a disruptive way…. something I’m thinking the program may know a little about.
1. Washington’s Brings Video Game Simplicity to Signing Day
Washington Football brings you the information on their newly-signed players in an incredibly easy to digest and apply way. As you’ll see here, they start with a simple football lineup for us to navigate. Then, as you’ll note in the images that follow, they add scouting information and three key strengths per player — giving us a sense for what makes them special. It’s very visual, very simple, and makes quite a statement.
Thanks for reading!