I'm excited to announce that the UC-Irvine Department of Athletics has joined the ranks of the social media elite with their launch of Zot Com, a social media command center. The release below comes from Fumi Kimura, Assistant Director of Media Relations at UC-Irvine.
Inspired by several high-profile social media command centers such as Gatorade's and the New Jersey Devils' "Mission Control" centers, as well as Oregon's Quack Cave, the Zot Com command center coordinates UCI Athletics' social media efforts across its website, 17 Facebook pages, eight Twitter feeds, two Instagram accounts and official YouTube channel.
Located in the lobby of the Mesa Office Building, the center features three 47-inch TV screens and three 30-inch monitors powered by four computers that follow UC Irvine's sports-related content across a range of platforms.
Five undergraduate students man the Zot Com center and are tasked with engaging UCI's athletic fan base, monitoring the Anteater programs' presence in cyberspace as well as helping to create unique content that connects UCI Athletics with the campus and community. Working with full-time members of the Media Relations and Marketing staffs, the student interns provide detailed reports that are used in shaping social media strategies and messaging for the department. The interns also are responsible for identifying athletic advocates, monitoring advances in social media as well as proposing new tools and practices to be integrated into the current workflow.
UCI Athletics has recently partnered with Tickr to filter the web for mentions of the Anteaters, organize them on a timeline, and display it on a single page. Tickr has partnered with major brands such as PepsiCo Gatorade to build social media command centers and activate social media promotions. "This helps us to engage with our fans and build a stronger community," said Robby Ray, assistant athletic director. "If someone tweets about Peter the Anteater, or if people share an image of Leonardo DiCaprio wearing a UCI baseball cap as he did a few years ago, it will be on display in our center. Then we can grab it in real time and share it with our fan base."
UCI has also launched a program, "Eaters all Win" powered by row27, that rewards Anteater fans for their social media support. Fans earn points for posting content about UC Irvine sports on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, buying tickets to events and donating to the Anteater Athletic Fund. On game days, fan photos can be sent in to "UC Irvine Fan Photo" and points are awarded if their picture is displayed on the video board. Points from the rewards program are then used to claim Anteater memorabilia and prizes. Soon to be added to the prize store are unique fan experiences available only to "Eaters all Win" registrants.
"We want to energize our fans," said Ray. "In this digital age, it's important to recognize and reward those who not only support us by attending our events, but who are digital advocates for the Anteaters as well."
As part of the unveiling of the Zot Com social media command center, an open house will be held Thursday, Mar. 7 for members of the media as well as marketing, public relations and communications professionals. The UC Irvine Athletics staff will share their experiences in creating Zot Com as well as discuss content and engagement strategies. Scheduled to speak is Matt Prince, Disney's social media manager, who created Disney's first social media command center. Also speaking will be Nani Saffer of Tickr.