Businesses aren’t the only ones that know how to take full advantage of social media platforms. Many athletes, coaches and entire collegiate athletic departments have taken to Twitter. This is a forum untapped by the world of athletics until just recently. Social media practices in athletics seemed to reach a new level entirely in 2011 and only appears to be growing exponentially.
Of course there have been teams that have had their fair share of apprehensions in terms of getting involved with social media practices, but there are increasing numbers of success stories.
Take the University of Kentucky’s basketball program for example. the team, led by their head coach, John Calipari, all have personal twitter handles. This has allowed them to keep in close contact with their fan base in the “Big Blue Nation.” Kentucky’s athletic department took their love for social media to ESPN and asked them to display the players’ Twitter handles while broadcasting one of their games. Obviously this was well received in today’s Internet-obsessed society and as many will agree, cross-programming is a great social media practice for a brand
The 2012 NCAA basketball tournament proved to be a key time to gain followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook. Kentucky’s basketball team gained the most Twitter followers over the course of the tournament with a whopping 18,405, followed by University of Kansas and Duke University with 6,040 and 5,436 followers respectively. For a full list of where all 68 teams fall in the realm of both Twitter and Facebook check out “Who Won Socially During March Madness?” Just like the actual tournament, Kentucky was virtually an untouchable team, which was translated by their social media practices.
Kentucky is just one of many success stories of good social media practice, Duke University used YouTube to get their fans a closer view of their day-to-day lives. Baylor University has also dabbled in the pool of social media with coverage of Robert Griffin III’s race to win the Heisman Trophy. He is unquestionably talented, but his popularity is arguably due to the social media practices of Baylor and his teammates.
Maintaining proper social media practices are key in maintaining any brand and it seems the world of athletics may be catching the fever as well.