THE FAX MACHINE
One Shining Moment.
— Eastern Michigan Football (@EMUFB) February 4, 2015
No, we’re not quite to March Madness just yet. But, today was the one shining moment for fax machines everywhere.
Today was National Signing Day (or National Letter of Intent Day) in the college sports world. As coverage of it has grown, so has the creativity of schools. Social media posts have been crucial to connecting with fans during this day. Facebook and Twitter (link-sharing and pictures) are the stalwarts. Instagram is part of the mix too. On this day, however, there is a new kid in town.
When I look at social media activity by teams, schools, leagues and athletes, I look at it from a fan perspective. I don’t look at it from a marketing or social media perspective – just as a fan. And, what do fans want?
- Information – if it’s about “my” team, I want to know about it.
- Something new – give me something I can’t get anywhere else.
- Access – I can’t be at every event. Show me what’s happening behind the scenes.
- Connection – Show me “you” want to connect with me.
For all of its security issues (which are ones to consider before joining), Snapchat content comes in a form that is easy and consumable. Whether it’s a single snap or the popular Stories feature, Snapchat content has been able to give fans all of the above – in ways that Facebook, Twitter and others haven’t really been able to…yet (more on that – Twitter video – later).
That’s not to say that Snapchat is any better than the other platforms. It’s just…different. It’s a mobile-centric app, which speaks to the ease of relaying new information and access. The content that is used by many in sports shows me that they want to be connected with me. A Story does exactly what it says – tells a story. And, on National Signing Day, there were many Stories to tell.
An appropriate way to start the Stories for aggiefblife – a simple greeting. Let me tell you, before 5 am PT it’s a lot easier to be told Good morning through a Snap than it is by someone who is extra cheery to start the day. Much easier.
The Aggies were not alone. The snaps began early…and often. UMass, Baylor, Missouri, just to name a few, all began their day through Snapchat. Those three schools also made sure to add a hashtag. As a fan, I don’t necessarily know what the hashtag is for an event like this. Seeing it on a Snap gives me a bit of extra information I need in case I want to search it on Twitter or tweet about it myself.
One of the more interesting Stories I saw, came courtesy of Michigan. Although they didn’t start out by adding text in their Stories, they added later in the morning. Call it time stamping – letting fans know the exact time when a recruit signed with Michigan. It may seem silly to some, but that’s information that I would want to know. It adds a bit of extra context to the “story”.
I love lists. Twitter lists are one of my favorite things about Twitter. No such feature on Snapchat. Thinking as a sports fan, I figured others might want to know what other schools were on the platform. So, I started to create a graphic. I shared it on Twitter and asked people to let me know of others. People started to retweet it and my list grew. Even when I was putting this post together, I had more schools to add as replies kept rolling in.
So, as of post time, here is a “short” list of schools on Snapchat. If I’ve missed any, please let me know.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF STORY
A unique spin on National Signing Day came courtesy of Stanford Athletics.
— Stanford Athletics (@GoStanford) February 4, 2015
A day in the life of a student-athlete. Content fans love because it personalizes the athlete. It helps us to feel like we actually get to know them. Terrific idea, Stanford.
ADDING TO THE DISCUSSION
Another different take on the day happened to come from my employer, Sportsmanias. Through the Sportsmanias Snapchat account as well as one of my bosses, Vicente Fernandez, we were able to share how we were connecting with fans during the day. We hosted a special National Signing Day event at Dave & Buster’s in Miami.
According to Fernandez, since the creation of the account a few months back, Snapchat has become the strongest platform in our social media family. “Since launching, our following is growing at a rate of about 75% every week,” Fernandez said. Whether it’s through the daily news updates or an event like today, Snapchat has been a great way to connect with fans.
A FINE DEBUT FOR TWITTER VIDEO
While I was scoping out the Snapchat content, there was one other resource that caught my attention. Making its debut on this National Signing Day: Twitter video.
Twitter recently added a 30-second native app video feature. For me, this was a long overdue move by Twitter. Although I look at things from a fan perspective, I’m also a journalist. A live event occasion like National Signing Day opens up the possibilities for coverage.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to this yet. Or, they haven’t had time to practice with it. But, a few schools took advantage of it like EMU Football did at the top of the post. But, another active user of video today was Western Michigan Football:
— WMU Football (@WMU_Football) February 4, 2015
30 seconds on Obbie Jackson with @CoachVinsonWMU pic.twitter.com/k2rnYlc3Jy
— WMU Football (@WMU_Football) February 4, 2015
Before the press conferences took place later in the day, Western Michigan took the opportunity to use Twitter video to give fans commentary from the coaches. THAT is connection with information that fans want.
They weren’t the only two schools using video, however. Boise State’s Recruiting team used the time to connect, not so much with fans, but with the players too. Making it personal.
— BSURecruits 🔷🐴🔶 (@BSURecruits) February 4, 2015
The moment. The moment when the fax machine spits out the paper with a recruits letter of intent, and…
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) February 4, 2015
The set-up of the Tennessee Volunteers video is perfect. Entertaining or suspenseful, in its own way. Maybe even surprising to some. I liked it.
Even the Pac-12 Conference got involved with video
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) February 4, 2015
Expect to see this trend grow in sports. These moments allow teams to share those special moments with fans. It doesn’t have to be just on a National Signing Day. It could be after someone on the school baseball team hits the game-winning run. Or, the gymnastics team just upset their rival at a key meet. Moments happen every day during sports seasons. 30-second moments can be all the time one needs to tell that story.
While some saw Twitter adding this video feature as a threat to Vine, I see it as more of a challenger to Instagram and yes, Snapchat. Twitter is an extremely popular platform as it is. Adding video could drive people to share their content all-in-one-place versus on A, B, C & Z platform.
Will that actually happen? Time will tell. As one friend told me today, social media is maturing. Might that mean social media strategies become more streamlined? I’m sure Twitter hopes so.
I noticed a little something-something going on with BYU early this morning. Maybe it was the fact that it was so early and well, the guys were just so hyped that I just said to myself there’s no way they’ll do this all day.
Several hours later, there was this:
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) February 4, 2015
I was so very wrong.
The climax of a long day. This really was just a tease…
— BYU Football Recruiting (@BYUrecruiting) February 4, 2015
For the glory that is the BYU coaching staff:
FINAL THOUGHTS: And so ends National Signing Day. The fax machines One Shining Moment has come to an end. Until next year,
— Alex Gold🎙 (@AlexGold) February 4, 2015