PAC-12: SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT OPTIMIZATION

Challenge

We wanted to maximize the value we could get from our social media strategy. We figured a one-size-fits-all approach across platforms wasn't likely the best approach across every sport, school, and content type.

Solution

Find out what types of content performs best on which platforms for which sports/teams. 

Outcome

We focused the content in places where they get the most engagement. Women's gymnastics = Instagram, game-start tune-ins on Twitter and TikTok, "supercut" highlight videos on Twitter and Facebook. 

We also found when we created content specific to a school re: colors etc (rather than using Pac-12 conference colors) the school's social accounts were 3X more likely to repost/RT it and drive further engagement.

What content performed well, where? 

One thing we found was that, overall, softball content on social media did better than baseball, 2X in fact. People often presume that men's sports teams have larger audiences than women's sports.  

Sometimes that is simply wrong. And other times people aren't taking into account where else fans can get that content. 

The image here shows spikes in video views, engagements, etc on Facebook over the course of the 2018 academic year. 

Most people assume that the most viewed content would be football. But there is only one spike at the end of football season. The cluster of spikes in the winter is from women's gymnastics, and the clusters in the Spring are mostly from softball. Why is that? 

1) Football is popular. However, fans can get highlights and other content on ESPN and many other sites and properties. They may not be going first to Pac-12 for that. 

2) UCLA women's gymnastics was good for several viral videos a season, often from Black or NBPOC gymnasts doing routines to hip hop or incorporating popular dance moves. This sometimes coincided with events on social media that drove hashtags like #BlackGirlMagic. 

3) Women's sports teams tended to do more activities that were popular in a more general interest, sports-adjacent way. E.g. Pac-12 softball teams had a ritual during rain delays of challenging each other's dugouts to dance-offs. Clips of those always did good numbers because they were fun and uncommon. And there were a lot of rain delays that year!

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Spike in late fall: Football

Spike cluster in winter: Women's Gymnastics

Spike cluster in spring: Softball

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Understanding Social Opportunities

This is a summary of the (mostly) social traction Pac-12 got for the content we created and posted around ONE event, a UCLA-Utah women's gymnastics meet. 

Impressions and Likes are good and all, but what was most important to drive were 1) video views and 2) alerts set. Much of the content is connected directly to these options.

 

Thus fans had a seamless path from seeing something they were interested to getting a text alert when that event started, watching the even on the app, or watching and sharing videos (that generated revenue).  

And because we knew how much UCLA and Utah gymnastics fans were on certain social platforms, we knew targeting them leading up to the meet would drive meaningful engagement.