For many college football players, competing in bowl games can be the pinnacle of their accomplishments, as well as a team and individual showcase. It’s also a tremendous opportunity for players to build their personal brands at a time when fans are excited to follow them in their big season finale.
Influencer (INFLCR) helped its clients maximize the opportunity of the 2018-19 bowl season. By partnering with their brand ambassadors — student-athletes, coaches, staff, et al — on social media, programs such as Auburn, Kentucky, Syracuse and others across America reached more unique people on social media with university-created content than they could have on their own through their team social media accounts.
We tracked the usage of seven INFLCR college football clients during their bowl game week: Miami, Kentucky, Syracuse, Auburn, UAB, Troy and South Florida.
As they did during the regular season, clients saw significant audience opportunity and player activity on social media, within context of the team.
Collectively, clients uploaded 3,750 content items into the INFLCR platform for their bowl appearance, with their players, staff, and brand ambassadors downloading/sharing 1,925 times to reach a collective cross-platform social media audience of more than 1.1 million people.
“The opportunity to capitalize on a bowl appearance is magnified when you work with your student-athletes and other brand ambassadors to tell their stories on social media,” said INFLCR founder and CEO Jim Cavale.
“Fans want to share in the excitement of a bowl game and want to go along for the journey with their favorite players on social media. And the players want great content from this memorable experience to grow their personal brand. It’s win-win for everybody.”
Auburn University experienced an audience boost by partnering with its student-athletes, who downloaded and shared content at a high rate. Auburn only uploaded 227 content items from the Music City Bowl — contrast that to Troy uploading more than 1,200 items from the Dollar General Bowl — yet Auburn players downloaded and shared 217 times. A total of 96 Auburn athletes were active in the INFLCR mobile app to access content during the week of the game, a victory over Purdue.
Collectively, Auburn reached more than 386,000 additional unique viewers via the players’ posts of university-created content. So efficient was the process of content delivery that by the time players stepped back onto the field for the second half, they already had content waiting for them in their personalized galleries that they could access via their phones to share when the game was over.
“In a social media world, it’s important to stay ahead of the game,” said Patrick Suddes, former Auburn assistant athletics director for football, during the 2018 season. “INFLCR provides our staff with the tools needed to help promote the Auburn brand, support our players’ personal brands and evaluate future brand ambassadors.”
Like Auburn, Kentucky also scored a huge bowl victory to cap one of the greatest seasons in school history. Stars such as Josh Allen and Benny Snell took to social media after the game, sharing content produced by UK’s digital team to celebrate the victory.
Kentucky’s bowl victory and subsequent social media blitz capped a season-long strategy facilitated through its partnership with INFLCR: Empower the athletes to tell their story.
“In the past, until the past couple of years or so, our primary goal would have been to protect them and make it so that they don’t do damage to themselves on a social media,” said Guy Ramsey, UK’s director of strategic communications.
“We now want to teach them how to best take advantage of the platform they are afforded and to build that for whatever comes next for them. We want them to take advantage of the content that we produce and the resources that we have and our huge fan base. It’s quite a change.”
But a program didn’t have to have an SEC-level fan base to reach additional eyeballs using INFLCR. Troy (465 downloads) and UAB (464 downloads) were the team leaders among INFLCR clients for downloads and shares during bowl week. UAB led in total athletes visiting the INFLCR app, with 101 Blazers accessing in the aftermath of the program’s first bowl victory, over Northern Illinois in the Boca Raton Bowl.
The universities helped the athletes share their full bowl experience, including content from pep rallies and other events surrounding the game that they could access in their personalized INFLCR galleries. Both Troy and UAB reached more than 80,000 additional unique viewers on Instagram and Twitter with content shared by players during bowl week.
And South Florida, which lost to Marshall in the Gasparilla Bowl, still saw a high percentage of its players active on social media, using university-produced content to tell their stories on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter via INFLCR. A total of 88 USF players accessed the app, downloading and sharing 198 content items to reach a combined Instagram and Twitter audience of more than 110,000 unique viewers.
In a social media-dominated world where it costs brands as much as $10 for every thousand people their paid messages reach (CPMs), INFLCR is helping clients reach people for a fraction of that cost with organic storytelling content from the key individuals that are truly their brand ambassadors.
But beyond the eyeballs, partnering with the brand ambassadors holds tremendous advantages for the brand in areas that positively impact recruiting, brand protection and increased value to existing partnerships. Don’t have a brand ambassador strategy? Here are 10 reasons you should.
“Keep in mind that much of this content produced by the university would otherwise go unused,” Cavale said. “Universities invest time and money to create all of this content but cannot possibly use it all on their brand accounts or in their media guides. So much of it would go unseen, but it is incredibly valuable to the student-athletes and other brand ambassadors who appear in it.
“INFLCR makes it possible to deliver all that content, in personalized galleries, right to the brand ambassadors’ phones so that they can share it on their personal accounts. And then INFLCR can help measure that additional audience with our dashboards and client-success reports.”
INFLCR is a SaaS platform for sports team properties to store, track and deliver their content across their brand-ambassador network of athletes, coaches, former athletes, media, etc. Each brand ambassador 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 30 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://22.214.171.124/