When Drexel University wrestler Dave Pearce was behind in his match and time was running out, he turned his fortunes around by pinning his opponent with a move called "the flying squirrel." The flashy move was caught on video, and head coach Matt Azevedo saw the opportunity to get his program some national attention. The YouTube video currently has about 50,000 views and Coach Azevedo's team is the impetus of a push to get the video on ESPN's Top Ten segment. For Azevedo and his team, social media success is one of the keys to social media success.
Coach Azevedo is an example of the disparity among college coaches when it comes to social media use. Today, coaches are divided about the benefits of social media, mostly afraid that student-athletes will embarrass the program or the university through irresponsible use. Some, who are not native digital users, bristle at the commitment it takes to learn the media and don't see a return on their time. Many just see it as a nuisance they can live without.
Azevedo is part of a new cadre of coaches that are finding out that social media marketing is a powerful recruiting tool, in addition to an effective tool for promoting a program to fans. A new Pew Internet study recently revealed that video and photo posting is on the rise. People are finding that posting their experiences visually online creates a bond with those of similar interests. A picture is worth a thousand words...or maybe a thousand fans.
"Sharing photos and videos online adds texture, play, and drama to people's interactions in their social networks," said Pew Internet's Maeve Duggan, author of a report on the new findings. "Pictures document life from a special angle, whether they relate to small moments, personal milestones, or larger news and events. Mobile connectivity has brought these visuals into countless lives in real-time. This all adds up to a new kind of collective digital scrapbook with fresh forms of storytelling and social bonding."
The study reported that 54% of internet users have posted original photos or videos to websites and 47% share photos or videos they found elsewhere online. Offering opportunities for fans to post and share video and photos will put a brand on a faster track to fan engagement.
What are some takeaways from the Pew information?
- Make sure you have outlets for fans, coaches, and students to post pictures and video online. You may want to set up a special Instagram account or Pinterest board just for fan photos. Here are ten great tips for creating Instagram content from Nitrogram using higher ed examples.
- Consider selectively sharing fan photos on your main social media accounts. This can help encourage more fan sharing.
- Run video and photo contests periodically for fans. Here's a great recent example: UConn's 2013 Thanks for Giving Video Contest for students to thank 2013 donors.
What are you doing with photo and video sharing? Would you take a moment and let us all know in the comments. Be sure and add a link, if you have one, so we can all see your handiwork.