A Sweet 16 Loss But a UofL Family Win

Although, last night was rough, our men’s basketball team lost a sweet 16 game to our cross-state rival. The days, hours and minutes leading up to the last minute of the game were not only exciting but amazing from my point of view.

Managing the main academic social media profiles for UofL is both rewarding and sometimes frustrating. Our academic fans are much more discriminating and show interest (engagement) in a wide variety of content, sometimes athletic-related but never with the passion or population of our athletics fans. It’s a fun challenge to find content, several times a day, that reach one of our audiences while not losing fans who are completely disinterested in (and some despise)  athletics.

Over the last week we saw a couple of opportunities to leverage the athletic event to engage our academic audience and the results were spectacular, not because of the numbers but because of something wonderful…FAMILY!

A family, 780 strong, came together with little notice to show their support and love, not just for sports, but for the University of Louisville. It was AWESOME!

A “Selfie” Video

Alicia - plays the Selfie lead

Alicia played the lead part in our UofL Sweet 16 Selfie video.

A song that makes fun of people who take constant “selfies” is perfect internet fodder. One of our social media professors (Karen Freberg, @kfreberg) suggested it to our UofL Social Media Swat Team and several people responded.  We started the legwork of changing the somewhat crude lyrics to something equally self-centered and funny but focused more on the NCAA Sweet 16 Tournament. One of our employees (Kendra Dennis) came up with an amazing first draft, which we ended up using most of. Only slight changes were made to include our Women’s Basketball team and knocks on all of the team uniforms (UofL ranked 9th worst but Baylor’s green ranked the worse of the teams still in the Tournament)

Hannah plays the Selfie lead

Alicia played the Lead part in our UofL Sweet 16 Selfie video.

We put a call out for 300 photos for the video and in under 4 hours we had over 300. Over the next 8 hours another 180 photos trickled in. Normally, when we ask for photos on Twitter or Facebook we get a few, rarely over 100. It was a great sign that this was going to be fun. We continued, looking for actresses for the lead and extras, again, in minutes we had several options and ultimately, three AMAZING leads and several perfect extras. In the end, we put together three versions of a music video parody with over 400 fans participating. Did I mention, all of this took place in about one week. It was amazing, fun, exciting and without much sleep.

Jordan plays the Selfie lead

Jordan plays the Selfie lead in our UofL Sweet 16 Selfie Video

Viral Video Lesson 1 – never pick a song by a band from Canada that did not agree to YouTube’s global copyrights. Many people couldn’t see our video on mobile and had to find a work-around. Otherwise our numbers would have been 4-10X higher.

Photos, photos, photos

As I mentioned above, normally when we ask for photos on Twitter, Facebook or other social networks, our response rates simply aren’t very high. On game day between 2-3 a.m. (because I was working on the Sweet 16 Selfie video) I put a request on Facebook and then Twitter asking fans to send us their pictures to add to a Facebook gallery. I expected the usual response (between 50-100) for a big game. Instead, we received 305 photos from UofL family members and fans! In fact, I missed most of the game because every time I looked down, I was getting another 3-20 fan photos from around the world, including fans in China and serving overseas in the military.

Fans of the university sent their support all day and throughout the game (even after the game)

Fans of the university sent their support all day and throughout the game (even after the game)

As I drove home from campus last night, I wasn’t depressed or let down by our CARDS. Basketball aside, last night was a HUGE win for our family, a family who came together from all around the globe to support their team, their school and to be part of something great, the University of Louisville.

The UofL Social Media Swat Team is a private and hidden Facebook group created to connect those interested in social media, viral videos, flash mobs and other activities that can go viral. The group consists of anyone who loves UofL and can actively participate in one of any of our social media plans. The only people not allowed in the group are competitive schools (any) and the media because we don’t want one of our ideas leaked/stolen before it comes out.

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About Jeff

Director of Digital Marketing at The University of Louisville. http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffr/ http://www.facebook.com/rushton
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