While students wait for sports games to begin in late November, the Athletic Marketing department has taken to social media to keep morale high and fans engaged.
Jarren Duffy, director of athletic marketing and promotions, said before the pandemic, his job involved getting the word out to students about sporting events, creating promotions and giveaways for each game, curating music and finding entertainment for half-time.
Now, Duffy said, his department is working to engage students through social media to keep them informed and excited about athletics and upcoming sports seasons.
“Since June, through all non-Power Five schools, we’ve been in the top five for total social media interactions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram,” Duffy said. “We focused on social media before this, but now even more so. (It’s) a great way to stay at the top of people’s minds.”
Some of the department’s creations include a video series with Football Coach Bob Nielson and Zoom calls with season ticket holders. The department also hosted the screening of the 2019 USD vs. SDSU football game for D-Days.
Kelsey Bathke, Assistant Director of Athletic Marketing, said the department is extremely busy working on creating social media content. She said they have had to set healthy habits for how they handle their social media work.
“Social media can be a 24 hour a day, seven day a week job, and I don’t want that for myself or anybody on my staff. We schedule posts to make sure that if we have to post something at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday … it can automate itself,” Bathke said. “Anytime we can catch a break right now, we need to.”
Bathke said it takes more work to create so much social media content without games to tie the promotions to.
“I think there’s this misconception right now that there’s no sports so we’re not doing anything, and that is totally false. We’re coming up with new ideas — very different ideas to stay relevant,” Bathke said.
The department’s social media presence is a mixture of promotional and fun content, Duffy said. One of the departments posts asked students to caption a photo, while another, which Duffy said got hundreds of responses, had students tag their favorite friend to go to games with.
“Our primary point with social media is entertainment,” Duffy said. “If you have nothing but promoting your upcoming events and nothing but just straight news on there, people are going to get tired of seeing that on their feed, so we try to make sure we have a good number of fun posts each week.”
Bathke said having such high engagement on social media shows fans are invested and want to stay connected to sports even without games being held.
“I think our student athletes see it now more than ever because … they’re not competing and people are still showing up on the internet to support them,” Bathke said.
The department is still planning for scenarios where fans can attend games once seasons begin, but right now, Duffy said, they’re working to handle whatever comes next and stay at the top of people’s minds — and social media feeds.