Social Media Efforts Positively Impact Recruiting for Clemson Athletics
Creative video clips result in more than 27 million social media video views and opportunities for student staff with top media outlets.
Founded in 1889, Clemson University attracts students from across the world to its historic South Carolina campus. The university is committed to academic excellence through quality teaching, innovative research, and hands-on experiences that help students succeed in their future careers. Outside of the classroom, the men and women of Clemson’s athletics teams are also finding success.
By sharing video on social media channels that captures the passion of Clemson sporting events—from plays on the field to fans in the stands—Clemson shows young student athletes what it’s like to be a Clemson Tiger. Jonathan Gantt, Director of New & Creative Media, and Nik Conklin, Coordinator of Digital Content for Clemson Athletics, discuss how video and social media help the school reach its target audience of future Clemson athletes.
Adobe: Why is social media so important for Clemson?
Gantt: Social media is great for keeping Clemson students and grads connected, but it’s also a huge way to reach out to potential future Clemson applicants. Our main target audience is teenagers 13 to 18 years old who are still thinking about where they want to go to college. If we can show them why Clemson is special through a piece of digital content, it can spark a connection and make an impact in their recruitment.
Adobe: How are you using video to reach your audience?
Gantt: These potential students are highly connected and always online, use social media heavily, and respond well to video. But there is also a lot of competition for their time so our content needs to cut through the clutter in their feeds. Our social video strategy concentrates on concise, impactful videos, rarely longer than 30 seconds, which focus on exciting or interesting aspects of the university, coaches, teams, or individual student-athletes.
It’s not about re-purposing traditional advertising or broadcast formats for social and re-cutting those deliverables to 6, 15, or 30-second formats—it’s about building content with the target audience and distribution platform in mind from the very beginning. So knowing how people use social and that long-form videos don’t engage well in these platforms, we have our staff and students focus on telling the best possible story in 6, 15 or 30 seconds and we usually produce anywhere from 10-25 videos per week.
Adobe: What’s different about Clemson’s video coverage?
Gantt: One thing that makes us unique is our approach to content velocity during event coverage. We want to maximize our output and impact during the time when people are paying the most attention—during the event—so we’ve built our personnel structure and workflow around that strategy and utilizing Adobe Creative Cloud is a big part of that because of the collaboration it allows.
Conklin: We also might be unique in how much we work with students and the structure we’ve put in place that maximizes their contributions. Clemson likes to offer hands-on experiences for students, so I’m the only full-time staff videographer. A lot of work is done by undergrads. We have students who are passionate about drone aerial footage or short Vine formats. I learn just as much from the students are they learn from me.
Adobe: How does Adobe Creative Cloud fit into this mix?
Conklin: All Clemson students have access to Creative Cloud. I was a Final Cut Pro guy, so I had to get used to Adobe Premiere Pro CC but it wasn’t difficult at all to make the switch. It’s very user-friendly, and the fact that we can work with an integrated set of software across Creative Cloud makes it easier to build familiarity with how these apps work.
The Creative Cloud workflow is a big part of our speed. From Premiere Pro, we can deliver formats needed across channels—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, YouTube, and our website. We’ve fine-tuned the workflow so much that we don’t think we can get any faster at this point.
Adobe: How important is collaboration to your workflow?
Conklin: With speed so key, we need to work well with students. Creative Cloud Libraries is now an integral part of the way we produce content. We have a library of watermarks, logos, overlays, and other graphics created in Adobe Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC. We share this library with students so that everyone has the right branding for the videos.
We also worked with Adobe Anywhere, which resulted in one of the smoothest game day productions we’ve ever had. A student videographer was covering a football game with Jonathan 850 miles away in Syracuse, while I worked with a graphic designer back at Clemson. The videographer would shoot content, upload and tag it with Adobe Prelude CC, and I could instantly start editing clips in Premiere Pro. Everything was so incredibly fast.
Adobe: What kinds of results are you seeing from video?
Gantt: We had a vision to transform our sports information office into an in-house marketing team. We knew it was a long-term transition that would take several years, but working with Adobe and Creative Cloud sped the process up to where we hit major milestones within 18-24 months. We’ve added half a million followers on Twitter and had more than 27 million video views across all social media platforms in 2015 alone. We’ve been covered by ESPN, CNN, and Forbes, and Sports Illustrated named Clemson the number one Twitter account in college football.
But more importantly, we’ve seen a difference for our current and incoming students. We’ve been hearing from coaches how it’s helped them on the recruiting trail. The number one high school linebacker in the country visited Clemson, and he actually called to tell us that we’re doing a great job on social media and eventually committed and enrolled here. Seeing our content about the team made an impact for him and that’s a good illustration of the value it has.
We’ve also seen great opportunities for our student staff. Based on their work here and the connections we’ve made, several of our students have had amazing experiences creating content for other companies like ESPN (X Games), Vine, NCAA (Final Four) and they’re starting to land great full-time jobs, too.
Adobe: How else are students using Adobe Creative Cloud at Clemson?
Gantt: All students, faculty and staff have access to Creative Cloud, so the use cases are incredibly varied. Students can also work in the Adobe Digital Studio in Clemson’s Cooper library. It’s got a green screen room, an audio room, computers, and expert support. Because of the enterprise partnership, I truly believe Clemson students, faculty and staff are maximizing the opportunity with Creative Cloud and are helping to forge a new path for what’s possible with these tools. Students are really using it to tap into their creativity and develop skills that will help them in the workplace, no matter where their careers take them.
Watch Jonathan and Nik’s theater presentation at NAB Show 2016:
Learn more about Adobe Creative Cloud video and audio tools