The Mississippi State social media philosophy and strategy changed this year as our social team made an effort to better offer a variety of content that is preferred by the user on varying platforms. Our new media team went away from long videos and focused on grabbing the attention of the user for just a short period of time as we have learned that the amount of time a social media consumer will engage with a post is decreasing. We made efforts to create varying content on different platforms rather than posting the same thing on all three. For example, on Instagram everything is visual. Limited text is most preferred. On our athletics accounts we created a zero graphic policy for this platform. We enforced new creative ideas to provide the user with high quality static and video imagery.
Our department has traditionally been one of the best in the business at informering. Informing our fans on what is happening around our athletic department and within our sports programs specifically. While this is extremely important for our department, we have made new strides to better entertain via our social platforms. That means more. More photos, more engaging graphics, and most importantly more video. Our video content has tripled in quantity this year and our number prove that it has been successful.
BULLY’S PULPIT PODCAST
In January 2017, we worked with new Athletic Director John Cohen to help roll out his vision of a weekly podcast for the athletic department. This podcast, known as “Bully Pulpit,” features unique guests and stories surrounding Bulldog Athletics, including interviews with former and current players, coaches, and even die hard fans. The weekly podcast is available for fans to download on both MSU’s SoundCloud and iTunes pages. “Bully Pulpit” is hosted by Matt Wyatt of the MSU Sports Network and features Director of Athletics John Cohen and Hail State BEAT’s Bob Carskadon interviewing guests each week. This podcast has served as a tremendous way to connect with fans, distribute information, and provide fans the opportunity to hear from some of their favorite bulldog greats.
HAIL STATE GIPHY CHANNEL
In keeping with the ever-changing social media world, we launched a custom “HailState” giphy channel in 2016 in order to have our GIFs appear via the Twitter GIF button, and now also available inside of the iOS Giphy Keyboard. We are consistently updating the channel with new content to engage fans. It can be found by searching “HailState” in the search box on Twitter.
ADIDAS / SNAPCODES
During our women’s basketball national championship rematch game this year we partnered with our apparel provider, adidas to perform some pretty cool social activations leading up to the game. Just days before the game was played adidas launched an exclusive “White Out” collection via .com. The collection consisted of adidas apparel such as shoes, hats, t-shirts and the game specific “Make Noise” t-shirt that would be given out in the lower bowl the day of the game. After launching the collection online we worked with Dak Prescott and his agent for him to promote the product and the game. Our social team performed some scavenger hunt activation on campus to promote the collection and bring awareness to the rematch.
We partnered with adidas and snapchat to do a giveaway that included a snapchat code on the handle of a white pom pom that linked directly to the White Out collection page on gameday. We place 5,000 of these pom poms across the entire lower bowl of the arena. In order to educate fans we performed several public announcements during the game instructing fans on how to perform the activation.
RT TO WIN CONTESTS
Retweet to win, sounds simple right? Most schools will post, “RT for a chance to win X.” At Mississippi State we approach this a little differently. We utilize the tool as a way to one, give out some cool gear, but most importantly a way to promote our events and the students do all the work. For example, let’s say the basketball jersey is the prize. Our street team will go around campus with a student athlete and have the regular student take a picture with the jersey and the player. We then tell them that if they want the jersey, just get the most RT’s. We usually provide a suggested copy of “RT and help me win this jersey tonight at the Men’s Basketball Game.” What we have found is that they then text all their friends asking for a RT. Next thing you know after taking 20+ photos we have RTs flooding our timeline with Gameday info. It has been a fun tool for our student athletes and our student body that we have seen have a significant impact.
BOXOUT SPORTS / INFOGRAPHICS
During the 2017-18 year we made a change in our infographic partners and strategy. Rather than proving our former partner with a creative direction where we were forced to except the final product, me made a change and went a company called BoxOut Sports. BoxOut allowed us to have full creative control. Our graphic designers would work on the actual template and create the entire graphic based on our branding. Once completed those templates are send to BoxOut where they are digitized to curate for the sports information directors. This partnership has been more seamless for our staff and has truly streamlined our branding for infographics.
This year, we decided to spice up our photoshoots by having our student-athletes pose with different holiday paraphernalia so that we could make custom graphics for each sport to wish happy holidays on social media. We set-up different teams with santa hats and lights, some with easter baskets and eggs and others with halloween baskets and masks. We feel that this gives a personal touch to our generic graphics wishing our fans happy holidays throughout the year.
BKC MEMBERS OF THE WEEK
Presented by a the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Bully’s Kids Club Member of the Week showcases one lucky BKC member. Fun facts about each member include their favorite sport, their favorite current student-athlete, their favorite all-time MSU athlete, their hometown, and their favorite MSU memory. This gets parents and family of the chosen member involved who like and share the posts. An exciting response we didn’t expect was from the favorite players listed on the graphic. Current and past student-athletes and different MSU teams often like and retweet the graphics on Twitter. Such athletes include former women’s basketball player Chinwe Okorie, former Diamond Dawg Wes Rea, current quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, and current basketball player Quinndary Weatherspoon.
PIECING TOGETHER THE BANNER
One of our most unique projects of the year is our men’s and women’s basketball mural downtown. As mentioned earlier in brand awareness, this abstract piece of art was designed and printed in 16 individual pieces, each of which when looked at individually, appear to stand alone, with their own individual look and message. However, just like a team or a community, once each piece was placed together it became stronger than ever, creating a powerful mural made up of our players, coaches, and the community. “Together We Are Stronger” became the message at the core of this project, and the foundational message for the season to come.
After the mural was complete we knew we wanted to continue this conversation and saw social as the perfect way to so. Again, each piece was created to stand alone with a specific message. We pulled each piece and animated them to be posted throughout the season on twitter and IG. We were able to continue the conversation as it was the symbolism all coexisted with the bigger message for this campaign.