Building Social Media Strategy A Shared Task Across All Colleges

From left, Alan Babbitt, Jil Price, Baylor’s Associate Director of Athletic Communications, and Benjamin Stockwell, Assumption’s Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications

Instagram Stories. Facebook videos. Twitter graphics. Snapchat filters. Rapidly evolving social media presents similar challenges and opportunities for colleges all across the country, whether they are trying to promote student-athlete success in the classroom or in athletic competition.

The questions asked and answers sought here at Hope College aren’t much different than the ones asked at scholarship-offering institutions such as Baylor University in Texas and Assumption College in Massachusetts.

I recently was invited to speak on a panel at the annual College Sports Information Directors of America, National Association of College Marketing Administrators, and National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Conference in Orlando, Florida, along with athletic communication professionals and marketers from NCAA Division I member Baylor and NCAA Division II Assumption.

Jil Price of Baylor, Ben Stockwell of Assumption and myself shared our insights on and experiences from developing a social media strategy with fellow athletic communication professionals and athletic administrators. We covered topics ranging from covering all of your sports without making teams feel inferior, to how to emphasize how to focus on a positive social media message, to teaching coaches how to support the college’s social media reach and how to utilize the coaches who already excel in social media.

We stressed how important communication and consistency are to creating a social media strategy that is both engaging and celebratory of all student-athlete accomplishments, no matter the varying levels of public and media interest.

While there are an increasing number of promotional options in social media, the fundamentals and keys to success remain the same for all institutions. Be focused. Be intentional. Whatever you do, do it well to maximize your opportunity to connect with the public, whether it be student-athletes, coaches, fans, or prospective students.

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