June 15, 2023 • Athletic AdministrationTechnology

Effectively leveraging social media to promote your athletic department

Tell your story so someone else doesn’t have to. 

An effective social media presence can not only reach a broader audience and showcase the achievements of athletes while building an influential digital platform that resembles an athletic department’s real-life platform. 

social mediaBuilding out that digital presence can seem painstaking at the onset, but there are digital tools to help athletic administrators and coaches promote their programs in a uniform fashion. In an ongoing on-demand discussion about emerging technologies in the athletic industry called ‘Tech Time,’ Coach & Athletic Director spoke with Matthew Glick, CEO of Gipper — a company that specializes in building an influential digital presence. 

“You have to be doing the work at the building level. You have to be doing the work day in and day out. And as athletic directors you are,” Glick said. “From a visual perspective, when you use your brand effectively and positively, that’s an extension of your work. That can influence people from a visual standpoint in a very positive way. On the flip side, if you’re branding is done poorly that can negatively affect your public perception — even if that’s not the reality of the situation.”

People often talk about how athletic facilities are the front door of a program. And if you walk into a facility and there’s trash everywhere, you may not have a great perception of that department. And maybe that even extends to the athletic director — right or wrong. 

social media“The same thing can happen digitally,” Glick said. “Your social media presence is the digital front door to your program. So be thinking of that when putting together your digital brand.” 

Jared Hunt, athletic director of Academy Independent School District in Little River Academy, Texas, has used Gipper to effectively position his athletic department online. 

“We use our graphics to feed the positive and get as much positive information to our families, extended families, community members, and surrounding communities,” Hunt said. 

It also helps to have a unique mascot to help your program stand out. Academy ISD is the home of the Bumblebee — the only mascot of its kind in The Lone Star State and a little more nationwide. 

“We want people to see our brand and not only think of the logo but the culture and the people inside too,” Hunt said. “We use our branding to tell our culture and who we are. That also involves conveying that message on and off the field as well. So it’s not just one-sided.”

social mediaHunt praised Gipper’s ease-of-use interface to upload photography to each program and create templates that bring uniformity and brand recognition in a streamlined way. If you build a strong, recognizable brand and you’re out in the community, social media can be a revenue driver for your department. 

But there are uses that go beyond just increasing a department’s digital presence. Hunt uses his digital graphics as visual aids for presentations on the local and state levels. 

“I can send my superintendent some graphics to put up on a projection screen behind me when I’m talking,” he said. “I’ve also used them during presentations at the state level as well. So it goes way beyond just social media use.”

He added, “When people see the ‘Bee, we want them to know who we are not what we are.”

*This conversation with Gipper and Jared Hunt was part of Coach & A.D.’s inaugural Tech Time series — a digital, on-demand video series discussing how technology enhances the athletic experience for student-athletes and coaches. To view the full discussion, visit coachad.com/tech-time.