How South Carolina Makes Video Content That Stands Out

With more than 100M video views consumed on Facebook a day, there is no longer a debate about whether to invest in video. Social video has arrived. And, as platforms, apps and brands continue to put a focus on video, the numbers will continue to arrive. By 2020 it’s predicted that online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020 (CISCO, 2016).

Video in sport powerful because of its ability to deliver on emotion. From humor to awe, the best type of content is one that evokes a feeling. Show it, don’t tell it, sort of thing.

If you’re looking for new video inspiration, the South Carolina Gamecocks are a great place to start. In the 2017 football season they set the bar for what social video should look like. How did their content stand out?

To start, they vary it. From illustrations to short videos, they always deliver something new and with top-notch quality. Often their content is short, simple but very impactful. It’s made for short attention spans. And, the more long form video is the kind that tugs at emotions to pull you in. They understand that good content is good content. Period. If you have not seen their work, below are a few examples that stand out:


"South Carolina Graduate" Has a nice ring to it.

A post shared by Gamecock Football (@gamecockfb) on

We in here 🤙

A post shared by Gamecock Football (@gamecockfb) on

Welcome to Bailey’s House of Pancakes!

A post shared by Gamecock Football (@gamecockfb) on


All of this fantastic work is spearheaded by Justin King, the Associate AD of New and Creative Media, and his team. In his role, King oversees the production of graphic and video content used in athletics recruiting and the Gamecock Football social media platforms. Below he shares some insight into their vision and success. Enjoy!


It’s clear you all have made a shift to video. Why was video important to invest in?

Video is such a powerful tool for capturing emotion in a way that just isn’t possible with other mediums. You can tell people about something, or you can SHOW them.


From a strategy perspective, what are the three biggest goals you have for the content you produce?

We have one BIG goal: Help the University of South Carolina win.

When people watch our content. We want reactions, even subconscious ones, to be “wow, this is awesome. I want to share this with other people so they can enjoy it too”. The beauty of social media is that it makes it easy for people to share things they enjoy with friends – giving us the world’s best distribution platforms.


What’s your team’s process for ideating new ideas or formulating your content strategy?

Honestly, I could break this entire question into 2 steps:

Step 1) Gather an incredible team of talented people passionate about creating great content.

Step 2) Constantly toss ideas around and make sure everyone knows they have the freedom to experiment.

If we try something and it doesn’t work, it’s not a failure at all. In fact, that is a success because we always learn something new during the process. The only failure is not trying.


There is a lot of debate about video lengths these days, from the six-second ad to long form. What’s your philosophy on video length?

Love this question and I have a strong philosophy on it:

Length should always be dictated by content.

In other words, if you can achieve the goal of the content in 6 seconds, then it should be 6 seconds. If your video is truly captivating at 2-3 minutes, then that’s what the length of the video should be.

As with 99% of rules in this industry, there are exceptions and things that need to be taken into account, but we have had tremendous success simply focusing on producing captivating content and not worrying as much about length.


How do you all define and measure your success?

This varies wildly. Our goal is to help the University of South Carolina recruit top athletes by showing that it is a great place to be, so sometimes we might release a video that doesn’t get a lot of views/likes … but that video has a specific message that reaches its target audience, then it’s a success.

Of course, thousands of RTs, likes and shares isn’t bad either.


What’s been the best performing piece of content for you all this season? And, do you have any insight into why?

I’m surrounded by such an incredible team and because of that we’ve had a number of pieces do well – in fact, it’s tough to say what our best performing piece actually was because they are all within similar numbers in terms of how widely shared they were. Below are a few highlights:

A lot of the reason for their success has to do with capitalizing on moments and opportunities. When you create quality content based around events people care about, it’s a strong recipe for success.


For teams looking to step up their video game, what tips and advice do you have for them?

Be willing to invest in people who are passionate about creating. Hire people who are so passionate that when an idea comes to them on a Saturday afternoon while they are just relaxing, they jump up and are excited to execute that idea.

After you hire them, provide them with a good place to work. This field is a lifestyle as much as a job – so when someone doesn’t come into the office by 8AM, trust that it’s because they were probably up until 2AM the night before finishing a project.

TL;DR – Invest in good people and enjoy the results. What a crazy theory, right?


Finally, what trends do you see will emerge with video content in 2018?

Right now the biggest trend I see is that consistency and quality of content will continue to rise as the tools needed to create that content become more and more accessible.

Editing programs that were once a $2,500+ investment are now a $20-a-month subscription for students. Everyone has a camera in their pocket on their phone. More and more people are starting to learn the art of creating content at a younger age so once they go through a good internship program they come out at a level that you typically didn’t see until someone had 7+ years of professional experience.

(PS: That doesn’t mean they should come cheaper, though. Invest.)

Thanks again to Justin King for his fantastic input. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@JustinKing) as well as the Gamecocks Football accounts (@GamecocksFB).

College Football & Video, Video, Video

One thing was clear if you scrolled through Twitter during the first weekend of college football. Video is now the crown jewel of content. Yes, it was everywhere.

There are a lot of reasons why teams and brands are investing more in video. The average user spends over 16 minutes watching online video ads every month. And, social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combine (Brightcove). When done right, video has the ability to captivate an audience more than any other medium right now.

But, the key is that video content has to be strong. To get people to actually stop and watch within their feeds take something special. Below are a few things to keep in mind:


1- The opening matters.

The first three seconds of any video are critical to pulling people in. You don’t get the luxury of getting to the heart of the matter 10 seconds. Fans will already be long gone if you haven’t pulled them in. Make sure your first few frames capture attention, hearts and mind or all the labor of love will be fruitless.


2- Evoke emotion.

What draws people into content is emotion, of all kinds. When people watch and share videos, it’s because something about the video resonated with them. This article in FastCo said it best:

Popular brands had multifaceted personalities. They could make you laugh, or cheer, or lean forward and take notes. They’d stopped hammering away at a share of mind, and were expanding to achieve a share of emotion.

When you think about video content, ask what type of emotion you want to evoke. Focus on delivering a piece that achieves that share of emotion.


3- Storytelling comes in all lengths.

Six-second ads are all the rage these days. Of course there is value in catering to short attention spans, but it’s more about eliciting AND sustaining emotion that matters. Don’t be afraid to produce a longer video if the quality is there. The key is to test different lengths, mix it up and make sure the content is as compelling as can be.


4- Quality over quantity.

Investing in video is a commitment. It takes time and resources, so they key is to focus on quality over quantity. I would take strong photography and graphics offer lackluster video any day because a mediocre video isn’t going to get any traction. Don’t feel the pressure to have every piece of content be video. Instead, make sure your content strategy includes a strong mix of video, photos and graphics.


5- Think about the platform.

Different video formats, from live to vertical, work better on different platforms. As your approach content planning, think about how to diversity the type of content and a/b test on what works best.

Now, let’s get to the fun stuff. Below are some standout video creations from the first weekend of college football. This list spans from brand storytelling to shorter clicks and live video. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration in it:



This video is rooted in the history, the brand and the emotion of Michigan. It’s beautifully produced and a great example of a longer video that works. Turn up the video on this one because the script is especially strong.


Clemson- First-Hand POV

Every year Clemson delivers on elevating their content. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, they offer a completely fresh take on creative. This video puts fans in a player’s shoes, offering a first-hand perspective the work it takes to get to game day.



It doesn’t take an Iowa fan to appreciate the emotion that’s brought to life in this video. Like the Michigan video, this isn’t a hype reel. It’s a video rooted in the Hawkeye’s brand, history and nostalgia and it will give you goosebumps.

Another thing worth noting is that Iowa leveraged former players to help share the video. A smart distribution play:



Auburn’s video have taking on a unique style this season. The perspective and editing alone is enough to capture attention.
The first video is great example of tapping into something other than a highlight reel. It’s not a long emotional story. It doesn’t show big hits. In fact, it doesn’t show any on-the-field footage at all. This video works because of the unique approach to production. The editing and video style what make it stand out—and the engagement numbers show it.

The second video is a great example of how you can make something as simple as sights and sounds compelling. Again, it goes back to the perspective and editing in this video.


South Carolina

The Gamecocks had several video highlights. From a snackable video that offers a firsthand perspective to a more emotional hype video, the Gamecocks show us what it means to produce a variety of video content that is quality.





This video is completely different than anything else covered. It’s illustrative, fun and has a bit of an Oregon vintage feel. Not everything has to be overly emotional or hard hitting – don’t be afraid to focus on something that’s different and fun.



The Sooners produced a live pre-game show that was over three hours long. They did a fantastic job of mixing in studio coverage with sights and sounds from game day. Fans from all across the country were able to get amazing access and information, for free, all from their phone. This is the future of programming and something all teams and leagues should be thinking about:

What videos stood out to you the first weekend of college football? Share your thoughts below.

Rivalry Weekend Highlights

Rivalry weekend is one of the best in college football. It’s a day rooted in history, emotion and unpredictable outcomes. And just as players and coaches pour themselves into preparing for the big game, so do countless social/digital staffs across the country (which means endless inspiration). Below are a few of the top highlights over the weekend, from a creative Instagram Story execution to GIF inspiration.


1- Video Storytelling

We don’t see enough video storytelling in sports beyond the highlight reel. Hype music and big hits are great, but what sets your team apart from the rest? It’s the history, the passion, the tradition, the people.

Rivalry weekend lends itself to fantastic storytelling, whether or not your team is having a storied season. From a quick scan, there weren’t a lot of emotional videos this weekend beyond the highlight reel, but below are two that stood out.


Remember that sport offers a lot more than just the scores. As you plan out your coverage for the season or a big game, find inspiration from your people (players past and present to fans), your history, your tradition and beyond. Tap into what makes the game and team emotionally compelling and you’ll create content that wins.


2- GIFspiration

The average person’s attention span is now shorter than a goldfish. Keeping this in mind, moving image is a great opportunity to capture fans’ attention. Below are some of the GIFS that stood out over the weekend.


3- Simple + Sharp Salute To Seniors

Since rivalry week is the last regular season game for players, it’s a great time honor them and their commitment to the school and team.  Tap into their reflections, their accomplishments, their sentiment.

Mizzou had a beautiful tribute on Instagram to their seniors. They went with a nostalgic feel to salute to their seniors, then returned to color imagery after win. The result was a visually appealing, beautiful execution. Here’s a look at how it played out:




In addition, this simple but powerful video from Clemson was a nice nod. There’s something to be said for strong, cinematic footage and simplicity.


4- POV Narrative on Instagram Story

Clemson executed an amazing Instagram Story during rivalry weekend. Under the premise of a point-of-view narrative, they told the story of “The Dream Gameday”.  If a fan could go anywhere on gameday, what would they do?

The digital team at Clemson put together a high level storyboard and then gave a student intern the keys to execute. And he executed brilliantly. The minute I started watching I wondered who the person was and where they were going next. The Story wasn’t just interesting; it felt personal and intimate (like a best friend’s account). Here’s a snippet of the content (sorry it’s not in order):

How many times have you seen a player run on to a field on Snapchat or IG Story? Too often “point of view” executions lack storytelling and creativity. The tools are abused before it’s easy to hold a button and capture content, but POV tools are only as good as the idea and the content creator. This from Clemson is a great example of elevating the game.



What else stood out to you over the weekend? Share below.

Thanks for reading!

2016 CFB National Championship Social Media Coverage

This year’s College Football National Championship was an instant classic. With back and forth leads, big plays and the beloved pylon cam, it was everything you could want from the National Championship game.

And like every other major sporting event, the social media + sports community tuned in to TVs, screens and everything eles to watch the coverage unfold. Early on it was easy to see the contrast different in the approach to both Clemson and Alabama’s coverage

There are a lot of great lessons, ideas and tidbits to take away from the coverage. Below are some highlights, with a little help from my #smsports friends:



Clemson might not have taken home the hardware that night, but they definitely won the social media and sports game. Equipped with a team ready to turn out quality content with speed, Clemson’s coverage of the game truly enhanced the viewing experience. Their focus was on a rich media experience, telling the story of the game through photos, videos, Vines, etc. Here are a few of the things that stood out about Clemson’s coverage below.

Repurpose stories.
Early in the season Clemson released a beautiful video called “The Dream”. Given the theme, it was almost as if they predicted the season they were going to have. Their team spliced, diced and shared this video and theme multiple ways throughout the year:

Clemson carried “The Dream” thematic with them to the National Championship, pushing out the original content again and also creating new content inline with the video. Here’s a look at a few pieces:

They dreamed of this moment… Now it's here. #ALLIN 🐅🐾 #Clemson

A video posted by Clemson Football (@clemsonfb) on

All too often we create good content, push it out once and walk away. Good content and good stories require building. Good content requires thoughtful and creative distribution if you want it to be seen. Not matter how good the piece is, you can’t expect to share it once and reach the audience it deserves. If you spend time developing a great story, make sure you spend the time thinking through how you can distribute it throughout the year and extend the story with additional content. Repurpose, retell and redistribute.

Timing is everything.
During games, timing is everything with social media coverage. Clemson has the manpower to act swiftly and nimbly, and it shined in their coverage. Content was pushed out quickly and always at the right moment. The best example of this is their tweet right after Alabama scored their first TD:

This was the perfect sentiment at the perfect moment. Instead of letting negativity find fans, the Clemson social team swooped in with an emotional piece of content to set the tone.

When planning for a national stage like this, it’s a good idea to have a bank of strong content you can pull for different scenarios. If you get the content generic enough, you can use copy to pull it into the scenario. Remember, you can plan for the unexpected in sports. You just have to get a little creative.

Capitalize on the moment.
When your team is on a championship stage, it’s an opportunity to get in front of a whole new audience. Capitalize on the moment to spread a larger message on what your school, team, traditions, etc. are all about.

Clemson didn’t focus only on the championship game that week; they also took it as an opportunity to shine a wider light on their university and academics.

How about that? #ALLIN 🐅🐾 #Clemson

A photo posted by Clemson Football (@clemsonfb) on

When you’re on a big stage—whatever it is—use the opportunity to tell a broader story far beyond the game. Whether it’s highlighting emotional stories on the team, showcasing academics, tapping into tradition, etc., you should absolutely capitalize on your moment in the spotlight.

Diverse portfolio of content.
This season Clemson did a fantastic job of telling their story through a variety of content. They always mix it up, from Vines to GIFS to photos, and it is anything but dry. In fact, their content is normally composed of one of two things: Emotion or swagger. From their touchdown GIFS to their video storytelling, here’s a look at some their content highlights from the night:

Content that is diverse and unpredictable makes it fun to follow along. It’s also more likely to standout from all the noise.

Thoughtful approach to a loss.
Clemson handled their loss better, and with more emotion, than a team I’ve seen in recent memory. They didn’t shy away from their content. Instead, they embraced the emotional journey of the loss, of their year, of their team.

Clemson found a way to tell a graceful and emotional story after the game. The content was extremely creative too, from paying attention to the stains earned to a recollection of a few of the players on their National Signing Day.

A loss doesn’t mean you have to hang your head and be silent, especially after the year that Clemson had. Clemson proved you can tap into the emotion of a heartbreaking loss and come out stronger. Every loss and situation is different, but for their situation, Clemson couldn’t have handled the loss any better.
A few other highlights from Clemson that stood out to the #smsports crew:



Alabama’s coverage of the National Championship game was vastly different than Clemson. They took a more traditional approach on Twitter, focusing on stats and play-by-play. At the end of the game they turned to more rich content—native video, photos and graphics.

When you’re on a national stage like the championship though, I believe content deserves to be stepped up a notch. As talked about earlier, there are more eyes on your program than ever before. While the dry play-by-play might have been Alabama’s strategy, it would have been nice to see a little more emotion, depth and storytelling. After all, it’s a storied program (and as an Auburn fan, that hurts to say).

Even then, Alabama owned their strategy through and through and it was wildly differently that Clemson’s—maybe that was the point. Below are a few other key highlights.

Graphics game on point.
The graphics Alabama turned out throughout the game were sharp and easy to consume. Their design game has always been strong; in fact, I wish we got to see more of it.

Native video.
While a lot of Alabama’s game coverage was dry, they did do a good job of utilizing native video on Facebook and Twitter.


Video tells a more impactful story than photos and text alone. And, video consumption continues to grow. Video doesn’t have to be long or edited for it to perform well either, as the content above shows. Take the time to integrate video into your plan.



Below are some other highlights from #smsports friends and/or content that stood out:





I would love your thoughts. What stood out to you? Share below!


Thanks for reading!


Insight Into Clemson Athletics’ Social Media Strategy

Clemson Athletics’ approach to social media this year has been on fire. It’s evident that their social media isn’t a siloed, but a team effort, through all the stellar, real-time content they have been able to push out. They go into each game with a plan and lots of prep beforehand. It’s paid off, as they have seen tremendous growth:

From Tennessee Athletics.

From Tennessee Athletics.

You can attribute winning to their success, but winning is FAR from the only reason why Clemson has sky rocketed on social. They’re also killing it on social because they focus on content… good content. From their Vines full of swagger to their near real-time video recaps, Clemson has consistently turned out some of the best content we’ve seen all season. They even became the first sports team to publish with Twitter Moments. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:


Video Storytelling




Short-Form Video







On to bigger things for one of the nation's best players… Great player. Better person. On to the @cfbplayoff! #ALLIN

A video posted by Clemson Football (@clemsonfb) on


Still No. 1. "And we're just getting started." — Dabo 🐅 What a time to be a Tiger! 🐾

A video posted by Clemson Football (@clemsonfb) on















Other Creative Content




A photo posted by Clemson Football (@clemsonfb) on




There is no question they have shared an impressive mix of content this season. Thankfully, we get to learn some of their secrets. Jonathan Gantt, the Digital/Creative Director at Clemson Athletics, took  time to answer questions about their approach to social media. Below he tackles everything from storytelling to making the most of Vine. Enjoy!


Your team has always produced great content, but it seems like you’ve stepped it up a notch even more this football season. What’s your overall approach/strategy to social and digital strategy for this year? And, how did it shift from the previous year?

We have four target audiences we’re trying to reach: current student-athletes, potential student-athletes (recruits), current fans and potential fans. We focus our content strategy on recruits because that approach has the greatest probability of engaging all four groups.

The social media element of our digital strategy is to use content (photos, graphics, videos, articles, etc.) to help answer the question “what is it like to be a Clemson Tiger?” So, for instance, the goal of our @ClemsonFB account is to illustrate what it’s like to be a part of the Clemson Football program. By doing that, we feel we can accomplish specific goals for each audience: 1.) Support our coaches in recruiting by giving them a 24/7/365 asset (social media) to aid in their efforts to bring the highest-character, most-talented student-athletes to Clemson 2.) Make our IPTAY donors and ticket/merchandise purchasers feel strongly that they’ve made a great decision by committing their hard-earned money to the development of our student-athletes 3.) Enhance the Clemson experience for current student-athletes 4) Show potential fans something special that they might want to be a part of.

Our strategy hasn’t shifted this year. I just think that our industry outreach and success on the field have generated more awareness and resulting national recognition. Our Sports Information Department underwent a transformational change (led by Dan Radakovich and Tim Match) beginning in late 2013 and we’re now starting to hit our stride as we progress in that transition. The core strategies were in place beginning in 2014 but restructuring personnel to fit those strategies over the last 12 months is what has led to the more noticeable changes in output this year.


What platforms are you currently on? How does your team decide where to activate?

Our department has varying levels of activity on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Snapchat and Pinterest. Our decision to be active on a platform ultimately comes down to whether the lines of value and resources intersect – if the personnel availability we have matches the opportunity, we activate.


Your video content is on fire. From more long-form content (The Dream) to epic Vines. Any secrets to how you all brainstorm / ideate to come up with great ideas?

When I first started at Clemson, we really had to narrow the scope of ideas to things that were doable. Now that we have the proper structure and guidelines in place, no idea is too big. I joke that it’s really just like when you were a little kid and you’d go make home movies with your friends. We start with trying to answer a question that advances our mission, come up with an idea and then just go out and do it. Like any skill, we’ve gotten better with practice. We’re creating video content now that we wouldn’t have thought of or been able to execute at this time last year.

We’ve really focused on short-form as that’s the best approach for the target audience of recruits. And though we only have one full-time videographer (Nik Conklin, best in the business), we have several passionate, talented undergraduate students who make significant contributions to our digital video and help give us a consistent output.


In similar vain, what’s your team’s key to telling a great story?

Focusing on what matters. With 19 teams, 500 student-athletes, 14,000+ IPTAY donors and countless other groups we service, we could spend our time in so many different ways. So it’s really important for us to drill down on the most valuable things we can do and spend our time doing that. Otherwise, we’re not providing the best service possible to our athletic department. And then with each “story,” we try to identify connection points between our subject and the target audience and shape the story around those relatable elements. I’m very fortunate that I get to work with some amazing storytellers with our staff and students.


I love how you all have focused on Vine as I think it’s vastly underutilized. What tips do you have for teams and leagues looking to step up their presence there?

Take the time to learn what makes Vine special and then determine how your team can contribute to that community. I believe the Vine community is the most unique of the social media platforms and I really didn’t understand it until I jumped in with two feet and spent time on the channel as a user. It’s a fun, fast-moving community on its own but it’s also an important element to consider in your Twitter strategy. The new features (Vine Music) also make it that much easier for teams to start publishing engaging Vines, so it’ll be interesting to see how our industry starts utilizing it.

But it’s important to note that our Vine strategy is just a subset of our overarching video strategy and focus on short-form. We still do long-form pieces occasionally but short-form video posted natively to social channels has proved a much more engaging approach for our target audience. Once we determined that’s how we wanted to utilize our video personnel, it made sense to tap into Vine in addition to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

And, how do you decide between all the short-form video content (whether it becomes a GIF, Vine or native Twitter)?
The “loop” is the biggest determining factor – if we have a short clip that people will want to watch more than once (either because of the footage or the audio loop), we put that on Vine. If we create four short-form social videos for football in a given week, probably two of them are edited with the audio loop in mind.


You all are able to turn around stellar content quickly during games. How is your team able to get this done? Any tips and advice for others?

Speed and timeliness is always a major factor in our content creation but it certainly moves up the priority list for event coverage. Our approach is to shift our personnel (staff/students) to single-focus roles on gameday. We determine our list of deliverables and then assign staff based on the roles needed to produce those deliverables. We try to make each person’s role as meaningful as possible and eliminate extra or unnecessary responsibilities. And once people understand their role in the process and the vision of what we’re trying to accomplish, they work as a streamlined team to capture, edit and publish content. I feel confident we’re as efficient as possible with the resources we currently have. And our resources (staff size & equipment) are nothing really unique at Clemson, we just arrange them in a way to be most effective in that fast-paced, high-pressure environment.


From your team’s experience, what are the keys to creating engaging content?

Knowing your audience and combining personal skill and experience with available analytics/feedback to drive decisions. We’ve referenced Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” – it’s usually best to trust the natural tendencies of our talented staff because they’ve spent the necessary time perfecting their craft. But we also try to do some basic reporting to either reinforce (or debunk) those “gut” decisions. And we’re fortunate that we can also occasionally show drafts of content to current student-athletes and get their perspective on it since they have a similar perspective to our target audience (recruits).

We have to focus on creating content that gets people’s attention and keeps people’s attention—specifically teenagers—which is difficult, certainly, but also a fun challenge. So every element of the content is developed with that strategy in mind – it needs to be concise and impactful and always made with the end user in mind.


Let’s talk about your talented digital/social team. How many people help bring this vision to life, and what are their roles?
Our structure is similar to that of a marketing agency.

Department Head: Joe Galbraith
Digital/Creative Director: Jonathan Gantt
Sport Contacts: Tim Bourret, Phil Sikes, Libby Kehn, Carl Danoff (GA) and Chas Williams (GA)
Photography/Publications: Brian Hennessy
Designer: Jeff Kallin
Videographer: Nik Conklin
Historian: Sam Blackman
Broadcaster: Don Munson

We’re also fortunate to have a very talented, hard-working group of undergraduate and graduate students who make significant contributions as writers, designers, videographers, stat editors, photographers and digital media assistants.

Our sport contacts serve as the “account reps” for our teams and handle the day-to-day social content that focuses on helping to show “what it’s like to be a Clemson Tiger.” They do a great job of building relationships with our coaches and student-athletes and creating, capturing and sharing content every day on social. When they have an idea that requires more support, they can call on the creative team (designers, videographers, writers, photographers) to help tell the story.

Each team member plays an important role and it’s so fun much seeing the everyday collective output. The community and culture we have is unique and it’s a great place to come to work every day.


For people that might not have the same resources from a social/digital point of view, what recommendations do you have for maximizing potential?

I started my career in minor league baseball, so I’m very familiar with the struggles of creating maximum impact with limited resources. The interesting element of college athletics is that every single school—no matter how big or small—has a population of students who can contribute. And if you take the time on the front end to give those students the right guidance and support, you can then exponentially grow your resources. And again, that’s something any school can do.

We overhauled our student worker program last year so we hire students with some level of skill, experience or passion in specific content creation areas: writers, videographers, designers, etc. We don’t let undergraduate students publish to social media because part of their experience should include the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes and it’d be unfair to put them in a spot where they have to deal with the significant consequences of public missteps on social. But they absolutely create the content that goes on our channels and serve other operational roles — they write articles, edit videos, design graphics, create basic analytics reports, stat events and a variety of other responsibilities. And that, of course, frees our “SID’s” to handle other tasks if they need to while still enjoying a consistent, frequent level of quality content posted on social.


In its simplest form, what does it take to be successful on social media?

Obviously, there’s a lot of different ways to be successful on social, depending on your organization’s objectives. For our approach, we just really, really have to be entertaining. Ultimately, people aren’t on social media to communicate with brands. They’re on social to communicate with their network of family and friends and to be informed and entertained. So, as a brand, if you’re going to play in their space I think the biggest requirement is you have to be entertaining. We want to recruit the best and brightest to come to Clemson so we have to be entertaining to get their attention and get them excited about our university.




A big thanks to Jonathan Gantt of Clemson Athletes for taking the time to answer questions. You can give him a follow here: @Jonathan_Gantt