On Monday, Meredith talked about how to get in the game of social media, school, and athletics. Today, we’re looking at a couple case studies of apps and social media efforts that do just that. From friendly feuds to sharing playlists, each of these groups has recognized the importance of reaching out to fans. This is an across-the-board smattering of what it looks like to put emphasis on social and mobile media.
iRivalz: In Utah, two rival schools have teamed up to take their feud mobile. Fans are already updating their smack talk on Twitter, Facebook and text, so why not create an app that lets them earn rewards for their loyalty. The iRivalz-BYU and iRivalz-Utah app allows fans to register a vote for their team by downloading their team’s app. Once downloaded, you can tap the logo to hear your school’s fight song. Once your team hits 100,000 votes (downloads), the rival school will donate to your school’s athletic scholarship fund.
BU's Dean Blog: Boston University’s Dean Kenn Elmore keep students, faculty, and fans in the loop with his musings on daily life at BU. This social media effort deserves attention because it’s an example of breaking down the barriers of information between students and school administration. He encourages students to connect with him on Twitter and even to friend him on Facebook. Elmore swaps the traditional clinical, objective tone of university writing for conversational writing injected with personality. He's shares his playlists and favorite YouTube clips and that willingness to engage on a social level with students boosts, rather than detracts from, his credibility as Dean of Student Affairs. He shows how schools don't have to be afraid to stray from the professional in favor of the personable.
Tablegaters: Even when you can't make it to the game, there's no reason to miss out on the comradery of a stadium tailgate. Tablegaters provides a way to meet up with fellow fans and alums to eat, drink, and root for your team. No matter where you are on gameday, you can open up Tablegater's "Find Your Fans" feature and find people to cheer with. The app locates venues that have been registered as official game watch locations so that you can attend events that are already happening, even if you're on vacation or stuck at home. You can list your own event (along with a picture of the party) on Tablegater and serve as a beacon of hope to lonely fans everywhere.
In the process of researching mobile applications that engage fans, students, and alum, I found that the best apps are not coming out of the universities themselves, but from the fans. The universities themselves are best-equipped to anticipate these desires and cater to them through their social media and mobile strategies, yet the apps they produce (if they produce them at all) are clinical records of scores, calendars, and events.
The three examples above show wildly different takes on the same idea: connecting fans with the resources and community provided by higher education. Each of these apps or social media campaigns saw the possibility provided by an increasingly mobile mindset. It’s time for a change in the world of higher education. It’s time to seize the opportunity to connect to a loyal community that’s always eager for more.
Author: Lane Jones is our Fall Editor & Word-Smith here at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.