Sharing a state with college football behemoths Alabama and Auburn, Group of 5 programs UAB and Troy will never get the media attention of their national-championship-winning in-state neighbors.
That fact makes it even more important that UAB and Troy — and schools who share similar situations in other states — tell their own story effectively. And that has never been easier, with social media platforms connecting directly to fans and content delivery platforms such as Influencer (INFLCR), which helps the teams partner with their players and other brand ambassadors to distribute compelling content to a larger audience on a daily basis.
“We say athletics is the front porch to a university, but in my opinion, social media is the front porch to athletics,” UAB Associate Athletic Director Ted Feeley said.
UAB, Troy and other Group of Five programs may not have the staffing and budgets of the Power 5, but they absolutely can get major value for their investment in telling their own story to their fan bases and communities. INFLCR works with several top programs from outside the power 5 conferences, such as South Florida of the American Athletic Conference and Fresno State from the Mountain West Conference.
“I think any G5 program will tell you that we have to make every dollar count,” said Troy Athletic Director Jeremy McClain told Front Office Sports. “Therefore, social media is the most critical tool in our marketing ‘bag’ because the reach and ROI is so great. We can spend minimum dollars while reaching a much larger audience than all of our other mediums combined.”
Troy has generated its share too with program-building wins over the likes of LSU and Nebraska recently.
UAB’s return to the football field in 2017 after a two-year absence certainly generated its share of headlines, as did making a bowl game that first season back. This year, the Blazers are off to a 3-1 start heading into a Conference USA Western Division showdown with Louisiana Tech.
Social media, with some help from INFLCR, has been part of UAB’s strategy to build on the hype of #theReturn.
“Social Media is our main priority on messaging and fan engagement,” Feely said. “Throughout the return of UAB Football, we gained more than 13,000 followers on both Twitter and Instagram and now have an account with more than 22,000 followers on Twitter and 14,000 on Instagram. Along with using it as a news source, we want to have compelling, flashy graphics and information that will not only continue to reach our fan base, but also target recruits as well.”
Through the INFLCR content delivery platform, schools such as UAB can intentionally distribute their creative digital content directly to the mobile devices of their players, coaches, staff and other brand ambassadors such as alumni and former players. Together, they can reach a much larger collective audience than the team could reach on its own, while also helping the players grow their personal brands with great content within the context of the team brand — a valuable branding that recruits see and care about.
The strategy struck a chord with INFLCR client South Florida and others like USF who are looking for a competitive edge in a crowded sports landscape.
“Here at the University of South Florida, we don’t have a 100-year history to cling to,” said Dr. Andrew T. Goodrich, USF’s senior associate Athletics director for external affairs. “Rather, we embrace the role of a challenger brand, which is why we feel our partnership with INFLCR is so appropriate. In a biased world that clings to fallacies about who is deserving of respect based on history and tradition, we intend to show the world the truth about performance in the 21st century, and we will accomplish this, in large part, with INFLCR’s ability to amplify the personal triumphs of our student-athletes ands brand them as champions on and off the field.”
That is exactly why INFLCR was created.
“I couldn’t be more proud to serve our Group of Five college athletics clients with the INFLCR content delivery platform, to tell their brand story together on social media with their network of influential student-athletes, coaches and alumni,” said INFLCR founder and CEO Jim Cavale.
In the end, it’s all about the student-athlete even when the team brand benefits.
“Student-athletes are the reason social media is successful in college athletics, and the reason we all have jobs in college athletics,” UAB’s Feely said. “It is vitally important to tell the story of our student-athletes so our fans can know who they are supporting on a deeper level. Sports have a way of galvanizing a community and fan base, and UAB Athletics is a living example of that.”
*If you’d like your men’s and women’s basketball teams to experience the power of INFLCR starting with the 2018-19 seasons, click here to set up a demo.
INFLCR is a SaaS platform for sports team properties to store, track and deliver their content across their influencer network of athletes, coaches, former athletes, media, etc. Each influencer can access their personalized gallery of content on their INFLCR mobile app, which they can use to download and share specific content to their social media platforms, with all influencer user activity tracked back to an INFLCR dashboard for the sports team properties. In its first year, INFLCR has signed and renewed software subscription partnerships with more than 20 college, high school and professional sports team properties, including iconic college sports team brands like the University of Miami Football and the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball. For more information or to request a demo, visit http://18.104.22.168/
Sign up for the INFLCR #SMsports newsletter.