College Football Programs Winning at Social Media

Post originally published on 10/6/16

As a Social Media Manager, one of my favorite hobbies is studying how other businesses I respect use social media. Looking at things like the type of content posted, media used, tone-of-voice, and writing style can provide great insights into how I can deliver better work.

As a diehard (read: borderline-obsessed) sports fan, my favorite business pages to follow are those of sports teams (professional and collegiate). Managing social pages targeted at information-starved, demographically diverse, ultra-critical, and technologically savvy rabid fans is no easy task – so I take great interest in seeing what teams are doing to effectively reach their massive and demanding fan bases.

In celebration of college football nearing its midpoint, I figured it would be a fun exercise to study college football’s top contenders’ social pages (as ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll) and discuss the things they’re doing really well.

Looking through the top ten, each school does an outstanding job of reaching and engaging fans with great content – but in particular, three schools’ social tactics really popped out to me as especially impressive – Texas A&M Football’s unique two-pronged social strategy, Michigan Football’s post writing style, and Clemson Football’s innovative use of video. Let’s dive into each!

Texas A&M Football’s Two-Pronged Social Strategy

While most programs simply funnel their football social through one designated official brand (usually titled “[School Name] Football”), A&M Football runs their social through two brands – the aforementioned traditional styled Texas A&M Football brand and a unique, one-of-a-kind recruit-centric brand called “AggieFBLife.”

While Texas A&M Football’s target audience is mostly former students, AggieFBLife’s focus is on attracting high school football recruits to attend and play football for Texas A&M one day.

Take a quick glance at both brand’s recent Instagram posts and you’ll instantly see a big difference in the look and feel of both:

Texas A&M Football

Aggie FB Life


See a difference?

Look closer at the copy and you’ll see both use a completely different writing style and tone:

AggieFBLife recognizing Armani Watts and Daeshon Hall as Defensive Players of the Week following the Ag’s victory over Arkansas:

aggiefblife These men came to eat Saturday. And the dub tasted pretty good. #itsaboutus #aggiefblife

Texas A&M Football spotlighting Armani Watts as SEC Defensive Player of the Week after the Arkansas game:

12thman @armaniwatts_23 named @SEC Defensive Player of the Week after team-high 8 tackles, forced fumble & fumble recovery against Hogs #12thMan

AggieFBLife’s writing style is bit hipper and edgier, while Texas A&M Football’s copy is more straightforward and to the point.

From a graphic perspective, AggieFBLife focuses on high-impact, darker imagery, while Texas A&M Football’s look and feel is a little more clean, crisp, and professional.

While Texas A&M Football’s end user (former students) probably prefer to engage with (and share) simple and clean imagery with straightforward copy, high school athletes are likelier more drawn to the hip and casual tone of AggieFBLife.

While extremely different, both deliver beautifully for the end user in their own unique ways.

Michigan Football’s Writing Style and Photography

What stood out to me studying Michigan Football’s social was their posts’ use of short and to-the-point copy:

Michigan understands people don’t want to (and probably won’t) read paragraph after paragraph of copy when scrolling through their newsfeeds. They also get that people are less likely to share posts heavy in text. Instead, they let the photo do the talking. Which leads to my next take away – their incredible photography:

It’s clear their social team devotes big time resources to ensure each of their games produce gorgeous to look at, colorful, and emotionally-charged photos that – when posted on social – invoke positive emotional feelings in fans, and in turn, will generate high post engagement and share numbers. The beautiful photos also achieve the goal of projecting Michigan Football and the University of Michigan as top notch, world class institutions in the minds of the end user.

Nicely done, Wolverines.

Clemson Football’s Innovative Use of Video

What really impressed me about Clemson Football’s page was their frequent, diverse, and innovative use of video. Clemson’s social team understands the power of video and how it can better tell stories and reach the end user in a way normal photo based posts can’t.

Just take a look at a few of Clemson’s videos from their match-up against Louisville:

*Screenshot of post above. Video below.*

The above clip’s high resolution, brevity, and lack of voiceover means fans can enjoy the video on mute, quickly and easily.

*Screenshot of post above. Video below.*

While most schools highlight their Players of the Week in a static, graphic format, by using video in the above post, Clemson is probably better able to grab the attention of fans’ casually scrolling through their newsfeeds (thus better giving their star players the love and attention they rightfully deserve!).

*Screenshot of post above. Video below.*

Two things I love about this post:

  • Only three seconds long, the video autoplays on users’ mobile devices in a continuous loop (thus giving the very cool illusion that fans are cheering live in real time)
  • The overlaying halftime score on the bottom communicates a message (the halftime score) so much more artfully than a normal graphic can

*Screenshot of post above. Video below.*

The above post features another short, to-the-point video that’s mute-friendly (doesn’t require a voiceover) and is easy to digest on the run.

*Screenshot of post above. Video below.*

The above post was originally recorded via Facebook Live. Although it doesn’t show anything special (literally a camera walking around a mostly empty stadium pre-game!), it achieved massive engagement (36,000 views and 3,000 Likes). The moral of the story here is that Facebook’s algorithm loves live video and ensures it reaches a solid audience, no matter what it’s broadcasting.

As you can see, Clemson really gets social video and is better able to reach fans than more static, graphic heavy based pages can.

All in all, while most of the football programs I studied in the AP top ten are incredibly good at social, these three schools really caught my eye.

5 Things the Spurs Can Teach Us About Successful Teams in Business

As of Sunday night, the San Antonio Spurs have become NBA Champions for the fifth time! After facing a devastating loss to the Miami Heat during last year’s finals, the Spurs came back with a vengeance and were in it for the kill. Other than a drive for redemption, the Spurs had something special this year. Perhaps, it was a methodology that the Heat just weren’t prepared for. Besides their amazing skills on the court, the Spurs are able to champion many characteristics that a lot of companies are surprisingly lacking. In order to turn your organization into a well-oiled machine like the Spurs, you’ve got to take a few notes from Pop’s playbook.

Individual Performance is Important

Yes, but team performance will always triumph.

One thing that the Spurs do best is that they value team play over individual accolade. Notice that the Spurs aren’t Gatorade or Nike athletes because they sell themselves as a team, not as an individual. Basketball is a team sport, after all. Just like with the Spurs, your organization must work as a team because each and every player plays a key role in operations. Each department should be as important as the other, just like how a shooting guard is as important as the center or point guard. A team can accomplish more than any individual can. Do you believe that your organizational structure is team or individual performance based?

Trust Your Peers

How can Ginobili score if Parker weren’t there to create the opportunity for him to sink a basket?

Trust is essential to any team or company. You have to trust the graphic designer to create a logo in time for you to build a website similarly to how the Spurs trust Duncan to get the rebound or for Ginobili to drop a three when it’s crucial. Without trust, there are unwanted boundaries that can hinder the productivity and work of any organization. When you don’t trust your peers and only yourself, you take on a lot of burden that could easily be spread amongst your coworkers. You take on work that can be done by someone else if you trusted his or her ability to do so. Instead, you do all of the work, which would only create mediocre outcomes due to thinly spread efforts. Can you say that you trust your coworkers?

Have a Strong Coach

There’s a reason why everyone tunes into Pop’s post-game interviews – no team is complete without a strong coach.

A team is nothing without its coach. Where would the Spurs be without Pop? A coach, manager, CEO, etc. is the focus of a team. The coach is the one who delegates what the play will be, what values should matter most, and what goal to set your sights on. Pop calls the shots and the Spurs follow, but not because they technically have to, but because it pays to listen. Popovich has developed a familial culture within the Spurs. You may notice that Pop rarely smiles, but you know there’s love behind his stern façade. His mix of grumpiness and love make him a “grandfatherly” leader. He shows great concern for his players, and the team realizes that. They in turn want to play better for him and for each other. Are your coaching tactics “grandfatherly” or stern and cold?


Turning failures into successes takes patience and optimism.

Have patience. Nothing comes immediately. After losing in last year’s finals in game seven, it took a lot of patience, drive, and optimism in order for the Spurs to make a strong comeback. It all takes time and a positive attitude. It takes time for a company to build its clientele and revenue. It took time for the Spurs to build a legacy. Patience is key in everything because nothing comes easy. Work hard, stay true to your ethics and values, remain optimistic and all good things will come naturally. What are you determined to make your next success?

Live in the moment and have fun!

Don’t forget to let loose a little and enjoy the moment you’re in. Do not dwell on the past or worry about the future. The Spurs take a loss or win, learn from it, and then prepare for the next game. You can always see the Spurs players goofing off with one another on the bench and off the court. When you enjoy the game, you perform better, so love what you do and have fun! Seriously.

So be like the Spurs and champion these five team habits. You may not win a NBA Championship title, but you’ll win so much more. You’ll come to work in a transparent environment, have trusting coworkers and, a boss that disciplines like a parent. You won’t win everything in life, but at least you’ll have fun doing it!

Ready to venture into the wild, wild west of digital marketing? Reach out to Tribu, and see what new worlds we can show your customers.

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5 tips that will make creating kick-butt content seem easy

Trying to find the perfect content and draw in your audience can be overwhelming, but don’t let it be! When you are digging to find the perfect words just put yourself in your buyers’ shoes… would you what to read a page-long sales pitch, or would you rather be educated in something you are already interested in? Kick- butt content will draw in your customer organically and delight your readers without having to sell them. Establish yourself as an industry thought leader, and start creating engaging content for your audience!


Here are 5 tips that will help when you’re trying to pull killer content out of thin air:

1) Stick with ONE topic 

Don’t overflow your audience with a ton of ideas. Pick one topic and commit to it. You don’t want your main point to get lost in your wording or all interest will go right out the window.

2) Determine your goal 

Find the purpose for your content and go with it; simple as that.

3) Keep it short and sweet

Less is more!  People are busy so make sure you don’t bog down your audience with wordy content. Make a point, and get there.  You want real people to read your words, not robots.  So make sure you are writing something real people will want to take the time to read.

4) Focus on your persona and buyers journey: 

Know who your audience is. Who do you want to read your content, and how can you get those people to take time out of their day and read what you have to say?

5) Keep your content educational; not promotional

You want to create something that helps people and is valuable to your readers. There is no need to promote your brand.  Feed them information that they need, and trust will happen naturally.
So when you are trying to find the perfect thing to say, just go with the obvious and keep it simple. Don’t try and throw all of your topics into one blog, and really try to figure out what you are trying to get accomplished when writing a blog, ebook..etc. Stick to these five tips and finding the right words will become easier than ever!

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The Power of Having a Tribe

Having a tribe saves advertising cost in the long run…

Ask people how many iMac commercials they’ve seen this year? Probably none. Apple doesn’t have to spend 90 million dollars on TV campaigns and Radio ads for the iMac to be a success; their tribe does the talking for them. Apple’s profit rose 78% in 2010, and every time they released a product the press went into a frenzy for the fastest and most on-point story. Apple didn’t need to rely on television commercials for stimulus or exposure. Their Tribe did it for them.

Tribes speak on your behalf and their messages are more powerful than your advertisements.

No matter how many TV/radio ads you see for a certain product/service, it’ll never be aspowerful as a recommendation your best friend gave you. Tribes are the most powerful campaign an organization can have. They are the human campaign, and the messages they spread don’t come with an “expiration” date and are much more impactful.

Having a tribe shows the world that your business has a soul and establishes trust and credibility.

In a world of skeptics and a growing lack of trust from today’s consumers (don’t believe me? Just look outside Wall Street and count the protesters) it’s important to communicate the benefits of your business and let people see your soul. If your business has a Tribe it’s like communicating to the world that you’ve touched people strongly enough to side with you and your mission. Your Tribe is walking proof that your business has a purpose and can be trusted to deliver.

Tribe’s empower your target audience and your organization.

Arguably, the communication you’ll receive from your Tribe may be Tribu’s greatest gift to any single one of our partners. Having a Tribe means you don’t have to pay millions for marketing research and to answer day-to-day operational questions or even the long-term ones. You just need to ask your Tribe. Tribe’s are empowered groups of people that are willing to share and actually yearning to be part of a conversation with you. Having earned their loyalty, they will probably be more than willing to give you honest answers. Imagine the ease of running your business with less ambiguity. Imagine knowing exactly how your consumer’s wish you’d improve a product line or a service offering. Imagine the power in that. An empowered and properly organized Tribe can offer you information that you couldn’t purchase for any amount of cash.

If you don’t start a Tribe your competitor will.

Tribe’s set you apart from the competition. They establish loyalty, suggesting that members of a Tribe aren’t going to so easily stray to your competition. If you don’t have a Tribe and your competitor does…uh oh.

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