Thanks for the Small Reminders, MLS

Today the Major League Soccer social media team announced this:

Basically, they decided to merge their @MLSinsider account and content with @MLS. Here’s a snippet of the reasoning (you can read their full release here):

Whether or not you think the move is a good one, there are two, very simple (but important) reminders to us all:

      1. We Need to Evaluate, Evaluate & Evaluate
        We live in a communications world that is constant evolving. In my opinion, that’s one of the things that makes working in this industry so exciting and challenging. But, because the tides are constantly changing, we have to constantly evaluate.We all know that community shifts, new platforms emerge and what works today might not work three months from now. It’s up to us, as social media / digital professionals, to take the time every couple months (or whatever that timeframe looks like) to evaluate what we’re doing. What’s working well? What’s not working?

         

      2. It’s Okay To Make Changes (even drastic)
        If you’re going to crunch data, analyze statistics and evaluate, then you need to be willing [and empowered] to make changes. Social media is all about trying new things. If you try a new platform, and then realize you don’t have an audience there, you can remove your presence and it’s going to be okay.  If something isn’t working, change it. You should never do something in social media / digital “because you’ve always done it that way.” That’s the beauty of the space we play in.  We try, we evaluate, we tweak.

I say kudos to the MLS social media team for evaluating their work and making the changes they felt were best for their brand. In a fast-paced world it’s often hard to sit back and ask, “why are we doing this, is this still working?”  The truth is though, there’s never been a greater need to ask those kind of questions as the communication world keeps on changing.

How Can I Create Compelling Content for Social Media With Limited Time, Resources, Etc.?

If you work in athletic communications, I understand time and resources can be half the battle when it comes to social media. Here’s the good news; you can create compelling content with a limited budget, time, resources, etc.

Yes, it’s true… you can create visuals like the one below with just your phone:

Screen Shot 2013-06-11 at 3.51.38 PM

During the 2013 CoSIDA Convention I shared the apps / platforms I use to create compelling content, like the graphic above. I’ve had several people ask me what they were, so I thought I would go ahead and compile a list for you all. So, without further ado, here they are…

Apps I use to create graphics with just my iPhone (please keep in mind it’s almost always a combination of apps):

  • PicFrame (.$.99)- This app lets you combine multiple photos into awesome collages.
  • SnapSeed ($4.99)- There are four great filters on this app- Grunge, Vintage, Drama & Tilt Shift. In addition, the app is great for basic editing (crop, rotate, etc.) and fine-tuning your image. You can really make colors pop with this app.
  • PhotoToaster ($1.99)-  This app is great for textures (canvas, old paper, antique, concrete, etc), vignettes and adjusting light.
  • Over ($1.99)– Add beautiful typography and artwork to your photos.
  • InstaFonts ($3.99)– Add text and filters.

Additional content generation resources / platforms:

  • Infographics– Check out Piktochart, Easel.ly, Info.gram if you’re looking to create infographics with little to no graphic design experience.
  • ThingLink– This app / platform offers an online tool to create interactive images. To create the image, you simply upload a picture, identify hot spots, and add text and links. The best part? The tool is integrated with Twitter.
  • StorifyStorify is a social network service that lets the user create stories or timelines using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Questions to Ask When Creating Video Content

Today I stumbled upon the latest college athletics video sensation (thanks to USA Today’s article here)… the Trackstreet Boys. The video features members of the Duke track and field team in a mock music video of the Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way?

Yes, it’s an instant classic:

 

The video might not be viral (yet) by YouTube standards, but for Duke Athletics, it’s certainly a hit. Posted just two days ago, the video already has the most views out of any YouTube video ever posted by Duke Athletics.  After watching the video, I started thinking… what makes great video content? 

Every video has a different objective, but there are certain things athletic departments, teams and leagues can keep in mind when they go about creating video content. Below is a sample of the questions to ask before filming.  If you can nail a couple of these things, then you just might have a winner:

  • Is it funny?
  • Does it humanize the players, team, etc.?
  • Does it evoke emotion?
  • Is it relatable to your audience and fans?
  • Is it surprising?
  • Is it different than anything you have done before?
  • Is it exclusive footage that only you can get?

The duke video works for me because it’s funny, relatable (come on, we all know that Backstreet Boys song / video) and it humanizes their student-athletes.

So, what do you think… what elements are needed to create great video content?

Under Armour Women: What’s Beautiful Campaign

A group of women– and Under Armour brand ambassadors– just got back from UA Camp Sweat at the IMG Academy in Clearwater, Florida. They won the trip through Under Armour Women’s latest What’s Beautiful? contest.  Here’s a video explaining the campaign (take the time to watch, or you’ll get lost with this post):

For anyone interested in social media and digital, their campaign is worth noting. Below are thoughts on Under Armour’s wins throughout the What’s Beautiful campaign, and also, a few lessons learned:

Campaign Wins

1. The Point of Entry is Clear and Defined
Users need to be extremely engaged to win and get noticed in UA’s What’s Beautiful contest, but that’s okay, because the point of entry is extremely clear and defined:

  • Step One- Declare a goal.
  • Step Two- Complete challenges.
  • Step Three- Win UA glory.
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