Clemson Football: The Strategy Behind Winning Social

Here in the Clemson athletics department, the Creative Solutions team tackles several areas of focus, including design, video production, revenue generation, website maintenance, etc., acting as an in-house agency for our 19 sports and our support departments. Social media is our main driver in all those facets, and its many platforms have been instrumental in the Clemson’s rise in popularity.

Keying in specifically on Twitter, the Creative Solutions staff has a lot on its plate in just that capacity alone. Obviously, the Clemson football program has enjoyed a great deal of success recently, which came to a high point in the 2016 season when the Tigers won the national championship. Aided by the additional spotlight, Clemson’s football platform on social media, Twitter especially, has expanded its following to more than 1.5 million, and beyond the threshold of just those who support our university and its athletics programs.

We certainly view the @ClemsonFB accounts as some of our most valuable drivers of the Clemson brand. We look at our Twitter account as a platform to showcase our success, our uniqueness, our assets and our sportsmanship in real-time. To boil it down, we’re trying to answer the question “What is it like to be a Clemson Tiger?” We point a great deal of our messaging at the prospective recruiting base to support our coaching staff and recruiters with content that helps sell our football program to some of the highest-character, best young people in the country.

This season, we have looked at our @ClemsonFB Instagram account as another recruiting measure. We looked to highlight 9-12 of the most important aspects or cornerstones of the Clemson football program and showcase those visually. To keep content on that account fresh and relevant in followers’ timelines, we’ve gotten creative in how we can visually stimulate and narrate the storylines for the upcoming week through beautiful, bold and captivating imagery.

Our Twitter account, due to the quick nature and because of its high volume of followers, ends up as a catch-all for all in-game and weekly content. We want our narrative to be unique, proud and bold, but also be informational as well. We prepare a lot of content specifically for our Twitter account, mainly for in-game usage to blast out when things occur in real-time but we also try and craft a specific and detailed message each week, and Twitter is the perfect place to showcase that and have it be shared.

On gameday, our team of photographers, videographers, editors and publishers gather—home and away—at our Creative Studio in the WestZone of Memorial Stadium. In this command center, we help to coordinate more than 100 deliverables each gameday, ranging from pictures posted almost as soon as they’re taken, to high-production highlights and recaps that help to inform and entertain our page. Our gameday content plan is usually around eight pages of description, which each person’s role is clearly defined, and each deliverable is laid out from production to post.

A typical gameday sees more than 100 tweets, which can be score updates, notes and facts around the coaches or players, as well as helpful information, like where to watch the game and how to follow.

For our most recent game against NC State, a 41-7 win, we spend a great deal of time, as many as 3-4 hours postgame, organizing our content, finishing up production, and scheduling for the next day(s). While we have many people that contribute to the account throughout the week, from undergraduates to full-time staff, most of the posting is funneled through two main points of contact, with a few more with access for spontaneous posts within our game plan.

Finally, we go back in and check the performance of our content and provide regular reports to our internal stakeholders.

We feel this year has been successful but there is still plenty of stories to be told. We want to continue to challenge ourselves to be different but also stick to the gameplan that helped our platform be what it’s developed into today.

Tell Us What You Think

Social media serves as the face (and personality, when done right) of your university. It’s often the first place people go to when finding information about the school, so you have to ask yourself “what’s the purpose of all of this content?

About the Authors

Mark Majewski Associate Director of Creative Solutions

Jeff Kallin Director of Creative Solutions, Design & Digital

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