Great Social Media Idea: Highlighting Student Fans

In case you haven't noticed, I don't spend a whole lot of time on this blog talking about athletics. The main reason is because Andy Pawlowski's Digital Hoops Blast has been around for years and is way, way, way better than anything I could do.

Also, typically the athletics social media accounts are distinct from the "official" university ones and are run by different people. And often they tend to be much more "salesy" in terms of constantly promoting upcoming games, trying to sell tickets, etc. I help out with UP's athletics social media stuff sometimes (particularly in-game tweeting of gif highlights, something I've experimented a lot with this year and have had some great success with), but for the most part I'm not really involved.

So what brings me to this post today? I love when things zig instead of zag. When norms and stereotypes are played with and things are flipped on their head. 

If you're a fan of sports like me, you see endless (truly endless!) features on athletes. Especially so during the Olympics. It makes sense - you have to get people care about the people they are watching and create some emotional attachments to players on the teams they root for - but it's also very formulaic and rote. 

Which is why this awesome example from Duke University, which highlights fans instead players, immediately jumped out at me as something new and fresh:

This promotion is just now starting, but the website says it plans to highlight a different fan for every upcoming game day. Also, however they did the 3D rotating photo feature is super, super cool.

What student wouldn't want to be featured in this? Just asking that question means you know you're onto something good with social media.

As important as it may be to let people know about the athletes, it's also important to make fans feel like they are a part of the team's success. Highlighting passionate fans only encourages those emotional ties further, and makes people feel ever-more passionate about your school's athletics teams, which are some of the primary ways alumni stay connected to their alma maters.

A team only has a handful of players on it, but there can be thousands of fans. It makes sense to highlight them and their contributions to the team, and Duke found a really fun and cool way to do it.

Really looking forward to watching this promotion grow and develop. Well done, Blue Devils!

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