College athletics departments across the country invest heavily in visual content. Teams are playing with live video, Snapchat Spectacles and GIFs. In our last post, we went over 5 Innovative Visual Storytelling Tricks for College Social Media Teams to Try in 2017 (and you can get more ideas from our on-demand webinar, 17 Hacks for 2017: How to Win with Visual Storytelling).
Now, we’re sharing the ultimate list of college sports teams to follow on social media. These teams are setting an example for visual communication on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more. Check them out and get inspired!
The Ultimate List of College Sports Teams to Follow on Social Media
— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) January 5, 2017
The Clemson Tigers creative team is exactly that: creative. The Tigers are setting the standard for outside-the-box social media. When the team went to the College Football Playoff National Championship, they fought a battle on the field and on social media. The Tigers’ graphics and photos are consistent and eye catching, and their videos are fast-paced and snackable. Every post makes you feel like you’re getting an insider’s perspective.
Ohio State Buckeyes
In a feature for Sports Illustrated, Pete Thamel went behind the scenes with the Ohio State creative team and found they are driven by recruiting.
“It was making this recruiting department the best in the country and having someone in here on a daily basis produce the content and get it out to the recruits,” Zach Swartz, Ohio State’s Director of New and Creative Media, told Thamel.
Like in the Snaps above, where a member of the women’s basketball team is wearing Snapchat Spectacles during warm-ups, Ohio State’s social media gives recruits (and fans) a feel for what it’s like to be a Buckeye.
Stony Brook Seawolves
— Stony Brook U. (@stonybrooku) March 12, 2016
When the Stony Brook men’s basketball team pulled off an underdog win during March Madness, the school’s social media account sounded like it was run by a fan. Tweets ranged from “THIS IS ACTUALLY GOING TO HAPPEN” to “NO YOU’RE CRYING,” and caught the attention of Seawolves fans and national media alike for their genuine human emotion.
Your team’s account doesn’t have to sound so official – have fun and let your school’s personality shine!
Michigan Athletics has a bold visual identity across social media platforms. The team’s signature blue dominates every post, whether it’s a high quality photo, a GIF or a graphic. Their graphic game is particularly strong: graphics are simple and tailored to each platform.
The Terps created an internet sensation with the Running Man Challenge, inspiring athletes across the country to join in and show off their dance moves. It all started on a student athlete’s Instagram account, and led to national media attention from the likes of Sports Illustrated and Ellen Degeneres.
Remember, your student athletes are the best ambassadors for your team – embrace their creativity!
— Lady Vol Basketball (@LadyVol_Hoops) January 19, 2017
The Tennessee Volunteers are committed to video storytelling. As you scroll through the Tennessee Athletics homepage, video thumbnails are seamlessly woven in with photos and headlines. Plus, the videos are more than highlight reels. Check out the video above that profiles a student athlete on the women’s basketball team.
Virginia Tech Hokies
2017 HOKIES FOOTBALL
📲 » Twitter Headers pic.twitter.com/wLTxAlrfLX
— HokiesFB (@HokiesFB) January 24, 2017
The Hokies share top-notch photography across social media. To announce the 2017 schedule, the football team tweeted images for fans to use as iPhone wallpapers, desktop wallpapers and Twitter headers. These images let the team communicate a list in a compelling, visual way, and they will have a broader impact as fans use them on their channels and devices.
— Purdue Basketball (@BoilerBall) January 21, 2017
The Purdue Athletics team shares high resolution photos on social media during the game to catch their fans’ attention. The team understands that a photo has a better chance of going viral and defining the moment if it’s a professional quality image with a unique point of view. Learn more about Purdue’s visual media strategy.
Earned it. ⚪🔴
— Indiana WBasketball (@IndianaWBB) January 20, 2017
Whether it’s through interesting camera angles or slow motion footage, the Hoosiers get creative with video. The video above not only catches my attention with a unique look and feel, but holds it with strong storytelling. The team regularly produces videos similar to the one above, using a consistent style for visual storytelling.
— Razorback XC/TF (@RazorbackTF) January 20, 2017
The Razorbacks are experimenting with new storytelling tools, from Snapchat Spectacles to Periscope. The account for cross country and track and field is even letting fans in on the fun – and promoting their Snapchat account on Twitter in the process.
— Razorback XC/TF (@RazorbackTF) January 19, 2017
— Kansas Basketball (@KUHoops) January 24, 2017
Kansas’ GIF game is on point. This team knows how to tell a story with a GIF, whether they’re hyping tonight’s game, sharing the final score or giving fans a unique perspective. The GIFs are clean, eye catching and well-edited.
The 3rd installment of the Sunflower Triangular begins today! Victorious last year, @KUTrack looks to repeat.
— Kansas Jayhawks (@KUAthletics) January 12, 2017
— Auburn Basketball (@AuburnMBB) January 22, 2017
I have a soft spot for time lapse video, and it seems someone on Auburn’s creative team loves time lapse as much as I do. Auburn uses time lapse to catch fans’ attention on social media and to add a unique perspective to brand entertainment videos like this one:
— Auburn Gymnastics (@AuburnGym) January 19, 2017
Formats like time lapse aren’t just fun – they’ll also stand out in your fans’ news feeds because reporters are less likely to use them.
South Carolina Gamecocks
The Gamecocks have a consistent style for branded video that combines simple design elements and smooth editing. The videos are perfect for social media – short snackable spots that feel like music videos.
— GoDucks (@GoDucks) January 20, 2017
Oregon uses eye catching motion graphics to spice up videos on Twitter. The team’s Instagram also has a unique look and feel infused with the Ducks’ bright yellow and green.
Warming up inside the drum. Tipping off at 8 CT on ESPN. https://t.co/9keD16DObv
— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) January 24, 2017
The Oklahoma men’s basketball team is consistently using Periscope to give fans a behind the scenes look at their favorite team, from starting lineups to warmups. It’s an interesting test for live video – the team is giving fans real time access to the moments they can’t always see on TV.
George Washington Colonials
Sometimes you just need to hand the camera over to your student athletes and let them have a little fun. GW is running Tuesday Takeovers on Snapchat, like the one above with the school’s squash teams.
Everyone loves a good throwback photo, and the Gators are great at digging through their visual media library for a #ThrowbackThursday or #FlashbackFriday. Whether they’re sharing an old photo to remember an important day in Gators history or to celebrate a former player who plays in the NFL, this team knows how to find a photo fans will love.
Cover photo courtesy of Virginia Tech Athletics.