On March 16, 2018, history was made. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County(UMBC) was ranked as the number 16 seed in the March Madness tournament and they were playing the number 1 seed, University of Virginia. Although the two teams were tied up at halftime, UMBC eventually pulled out the win for one of the biggest upsets in history. It shocked sports fans and reporters.
Although UMBC had beaten the number one ranked team, their social media team also won on Twitter. Throughout the whole game, Zach Seidel, who ran the UMBC athletic account during the tournament tweeted what he would want to read if he was at home because he knew a lot of people would be following Twitter.
We’re up 12 on Virginia with 4:07 left, but more importantly we heard their may be some cookies left in the media dining area, will report back soon
— UMBC Athletics (@UMBCAthletics) March 17, 2018
Seidel was right. This was a creative way to update followers on Twitter. He helped to grow the number of followers for the UMBC athletic Twitter account.
What is Creativity?
This is an example of how creative content can help engage followers. In today’s society, our culture thrives on media and technology. That is why it is important to learn digital media literacy skills.
Renee Hobbs expresses that creativity is “Composing or generating content using creativity and confidence in self-expression, with awareness of purpose, audience, and composition techniques.” It is important to know creativity is used on and off the court.
To be successful at playing or coaching a sport, you have to be creative. Sports are not just games where you follow the rules. You have to open your mind and constantly create new techniques or plays to win games. Here are a couple of examples where creativity comes into play on the court:
- create plays
- create drills
- create new moves
- create a starting line up and strategies
Creativity is important when you are playing, coaching, or createing the content on a sports team social media accounts. Like we see in the biggest upset in March Madness history, creative content can help build your audience.
Why Does Creative Content Matter Off the Court?
We live in a era where digital media is very powerful, so it is important to have creative content off the court on social media. College teams are constantly competing with other schools to get recruits. Expressing creative content such as virtual tours of the school could help engage recruits’ interest. Some recruits have no idea what the school looks like, but watching a well done video could help them see themselves there.
College teams use their creative content to help with their awareness of purpose. One of their motives is to get recruits to fall in love with the school. Social media is very critical when it comes to college teams recruitment, fundraising, and engaging followers.
Professional sports teams use social media as well, however their purpose isn’t to recruit players. Much like college teams, professional teams want to engage their followers and increase their fan base. Increasing fan bases adds more people to the stands and teams will start to see a rise in money.
Sports Teams Media Strategies
Social media is one of the fastest growing areas in the United States. Social media is constantly updating their networks so sports teams have to stay updated and come up with innovative ideas.
For example, Duke University men’s basketball team uses the new Instagram story feature to their advantage. The digital team will post scores immediately after the game with creative graphics. Instead of fans going to ESPN to check the score, they can easily do it on social media. This increases a sports team’s followers.
The Nebraska Huskers’ digital team engages their fans by putting together a highlight video of their fans’ reactions of close game wins. This content creates emotion and is powerful to their fans.
The Miami Hurricanes post photos on Instagram with high resolution. Their video and photo content is high quality. If they took a photo with their phone it is well edited before they post it. This is appealing to the eye and looks professional.
Sports team are constantly trying to create an active community. Although they are competing on the field or court, they are also in competition with gaining fans. That is why it is important to create unique content.
Sports teams use similar strategies to gain followers, get recruits, or engage their fans:
- Post preseason videos to raise awareness even during the off-season
- Post game day graphics
- Post highlights throughout the game
- Visual recaps of games
- Focus on an athlete with a story
- Create polls to get feedback
- Get behind the scenes footage
- Live tweeting
As you can see, sports teams have similar strategies on engaging followers and fans. That is why creative content is important because you have to standout on social media. Unique content catches peoples’ eyes.
Creative content is a win for sports teams on and off the court.