We took a deep dive into the usage metrics of four Influencer (INFLCR) Power Five college football clients during the 2018 college football season: Auburn and Kentucky of the Southeastern Conference and Miami and Syracuse of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Using the INFLCR software and mobile app, our clients distributed content to their student-athletes and other brand ambassadors, who then shared their content across their personal social-media channels such as Instagram and Twitter. The clients were then able to track the additional social “lift” the content received via convenient INFLCR dashboards and weekly INFLCR client-success reports.
“We are proud to work with some of the biggest brands in college sports,” INFLCR founder and CEO Jim Cavale said. “What the numbers clearly show is the power of partnering with your brand ambassadors to reach a larger audience and in the process help those student-athletes grow their personal brands within the context of the team. The reality is, people follow people on social media more than they follow brand accounts and there is a tremendous opportunity to reach a larger audience by distributing all that content you are investing time and money to create to those athletes who are featured in it.”
The four clients collectively uploaded almost 15,000 content items to INFLCR during their 2018 college football season, with athletes and other brand ambassadors producing more than 6,000 downloads and shares and reaching a combined audience of more than 6.3 million. Instagram was the most popular social network for the athletes, who received more than 850,000 “likes” of content they posted via INFLCR during the season.
Another key number stood out: the number of athletes visiting the INFLCR app each week to access their personalized content galleries. Syracuse led the way with 81 players per week, followed by Miami and Auburn at 79 reach and Kentucky at 71, with each of the four clients also averaging between 84 and 164 downloads and shares per week.
“The bottom line is that athletes use INFLCR,” Cavale said. “They clearly are hungry for content to tell their story, in their own voice, on social media. INFLCR makes it easy for them to access that content in personalized galleries right on their phones.”
Let’s take a closer look, team-by-team:
Auburn uploaded more than 1,500 content items to INFLCR, with
Its student-athletes and other brand ambassadors producing more than 1,000 downloads and shares. Collectively, the Tigers reached an Instagram + Twitter audience of almost 1.8 million via the brand ambassadors’ personal channels as well as more than 312,000 likes on Instagram.
Keys to Auburn’s success included distributing content beyond game action such as pre-game activities and post-game celebration. Star senior linebacker Deshaun Davis, for example, posted nine pre-game or post-game photos to his Instagram account during the season. Other highlights:
— Auburn capitalized on the CFA Classic to start off the season, such as this post from star quarterback Jarrett Stidham:
— Athletes averaged almost 25,000 likes per week on INFLCR posts.
— During the Music City Bowl week, Auburn recorded the highest Instagram audience for any INFLCR client ever. The Tigers also got the highest number of likes and the most athletes in the app in a single week.
— Auburn’s content team aggressively distributed content from the bowl victory. In fact, with Auburn jumping to a big lead over Purdue in the Music City Bowl, players already had content in their personalized galleries from the first half by the time they stepped back onto the field after halftime.
— Auburn fans loved the content from the bowl game. Auburn saw a 232 percent increase in average total audience compared to the rest of the season, jumping from an average of 116,000 per week to an audience of more than 386,000 on Instagram and Twitter from the bowl game.
Kentucky’s content team uploaded more than 4,800 items to INFLCR and athletes downloaded and shared almost 2,000 items. Collectively, they reached a social audience of almost 1.5 million with their posts and achieved more than 323,000 likes on Instagram.
Kentucky posted the most items to INFLCR of any of the Power Five clients studied, demonstrating that the most content it made available, the most content players shared.
For example, Kentucky uploaded its most content after a victory over Vanderbilt — a week in which UK players also set season highs for highest Instagram audience, most players in the app and most downloads + shares. Other highlights:
— Kentucky star Josh Allen used the access to content via INFLCR to grow his personal Instagram audience reach by 388 percent during the season. His IG account had 6,300 followers on Aug. 8; by Jan. 15, he had 30,800. Allen, one of the top NFL Draft prospects, took what he learned from Cavale’s preseason campus visit to speak about personal branding and put that knowledge into action on his social accounts during the season.
“I love the INFLCR app,” Allen said. “Before INFLCR, you might have to wait two weeks to get a picture,” Allen said. “But with the INFLCR app, all the pictures are right there. You never have to ask for your pictures. Having everything at the tip of your fingers instead of having to ask someone is awesome.”
— Kentucky’s bowl trip to Orlando resulted in lots of popular content that the team was able to leverage by distributing to the players, including a trip to Universal Studios.
— The bowl game week set a season high for Twitter audience thanks to posts like this from star senior running back Benny Snell.
Miami’s creative team uploaded more than 4,600 content items, with athletes and other brand ambassadors downloading and sharing more than 1,500. Collectively, they reached a client-record 2.8 million in additional audience on Instagram and Twitter and achieved more than 455,000 likes on Instagram. Their biggest week came from their rivalry victory over Florida State.
— Miami used INFLCR to release new jerseys; the most popular content on social seemed to always be “turnover chain” celebrations.
— Miami’s content team uploaded an average of more than 300 content items per week, ensuring the athletes and other brand ambassadors had a wide range of items to choose from.
— Despite a tough loss in its bowl game, Miami players still were highly active from the trip with 90 athletes visiting the INFLCR app during the week to download 101 content items.
— Content from their practice in New York City was a great way for players to hype up the game, such as this post from senior safety Jaquan Johnson.
— Miami also got a very solid audience on Twitter as a lot of players took to Twitter in the weeks following the bowl to welcome their new coach Manny Diaz using content they accessed through INFLCR.
Syracuse activated midway through the season, with players literally downloading and launching the INFLCR mobile app together on a bus between the airport and a game at Clemson, demonstrating the ease with which the onboarding process can work for clients. During the season, 91 Syracuse players were active in the app.
Despite only a partial season of use, Syracuse’s creative staff uploaded more than 3,600 items to INFLCR and Syracuse athletes downloaded and shared almost 1,500. Key to Syracuse’s strategy was providing players with multiple shots of big plays, which the athletes’ loved and led to their high number of downloads. More highlights:
— The bowl victory over West Virginia resulted in season-highs for athletes active on the app and Instagram audience.
— The 147 downloads and shares from ther bowl game came on just 172 pieces of content
— The most popular photos came from the celebration on the field postgame. Fans love to see things they cannot see on television.
So what does it all mean?
“It means that empowering your student-athletes and other brand ambassadors to tell their story is a win-win for the brand ambassadors and the brand,” Cavale says. “Instead of telling your athletes what not to do on social media, this strategy empowers them to use social media responsibly while staying ‘on-brand’ within the context of the team.”
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.
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 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://188.8.131.52/