When it comes to social media, few athletic departments do it better than Nebraska Athletics. They’re led by Kelly Mosier, the Assistant Athletic Director for Digital Communications, and consistently bring high-quality, engaging video and graphic content across all platforms.
Mosier has been overseeing the athletics website for five years and took control of the social reigns three years ago. Previously, he worked for Husker Vision and his video skills are apparent throughout Husker social accounts. What began with Mosier and an intern is now a team of six full-time staff members, a graduate assistant and six students who do much more than post and retweet.
“This last year we’ve taken on all the graphic design across the entire department,” Mosier said. “We’re doing print posters and media guide covers and all that stuff as well as the digital. We’re essentially a content-creation, advertising agency-type model with an ear always toward the social space first.”
Mosier considers everyone on his team to be a jack-of-all-trades. That way, he said, they’re able to scale their operation and easily alter the allocation of their resources on special occasions like game days.
Each Husker team has three people assigned to its digital media efforts. There’s someone from Kelly’s corner, there’s someone from the media relations department and there’s someone from the team — normally an assistant coach or GA. These three are tasked with developing a strategy for the account and, Mosier said, it’s typical that one of those three handles the majority of the posting.
opendorse was able to touch base with Mosier about the structure of his team, how they develop strategy and what he envisions for the future of social media marketing. Q & A:
What is the the goal or strategy you guys have for social media? How do you keep that in the front of your vision with so many different people involved in the process?
In my area, we just try to lead by example. What I’ve noticed is the smaller sports will typically try to emulate what we’re doing and then ask for help in emulating that. Right now, that’s a lot of video content. Video has taken over a little bit. It’s just us taking a little bit of a lead from our larger accounts and making sure that we’re paying attention to what’s working and what’s not working on social media and assisting the other accounts when they’re asking for assistance.
When you say you’re paying attention to what’s working and what’s not working, what do you mean by that? How do you define and measure success?
I consider social media as a branding tool so I always value our success in terms of eyeballs — eyeballs that are on our content. That’s a pretty simple metric for pretty much all the platforms. Typically that gives you a good idea of how successful it is from an engagement standpoint, too. That impression number really tells you how interested people are in the content and how much they’re engaging with it. Just the way the algorithms work, the more people engage with it, the more people end up seeing that content. That’s the shorthand metric number that I watch, those impression numbers.
With so many people involved and branding being such an emphasis, do you find it a struggle keeping the voice consistent over all the accounts?
I would strongly disagree with the idea that all of our accounts need to have the same voice. At the end of the day all of our accounts are like a family on social media. I think it’s okay for all of them to have a little bit of a personality within a range of what I would consider our brand. For the most part, I don’t think we have a great deal of trouble staying on personality with our accounts. There’s always some outliers, especially with some of the more primary accounts, but we do a fairly good job of keeping them all on topic.
With branding being such a focus for you guys, how much do you flesh that out? What do you want people to think about when they think about Husker athletics? How do you want fans, media members and recruits to perceive the program?
We’ve been fairly explicit with this, it all comes down to the phrase,’There’s No Place Like Nebraska.’ That’s what we’ve centered our brand on. It speaks to multiple groups of people. Our fans love to celebrate the things that make Nebraska unique. The passionate fans, that’s the stuff they really love. For the fans that are still in the state and even for the fans who are no longer in the state. They love to be able to talk about the things like the red hot dogs and Runzas and all of the things that make Nebraska unique.
“It all comes down to the phrase, ‘There’s No Place Like Nebraska.'”
— Josh Brown (@Kickingitwith3) June 21, 2016
I think that also speaks pretty directly to younger audiences as well, whether that’s coaches on the recruiting trail or us trying to recruit younger fans, the idea that Nebraska is a pretty special place and we’ve got a lot of things going for us that you wouldn’t necessarily expect if you were not aware of what was going on here. Things like the nation’s longest sellout streak in football. We also have a sellout streak in volleyball and the highest attendance in volleyball last year. We were the most listened-to college sports network on Tune-In, a whole host of things that really speak to how unique and how special this place is.
When we talk about the brand of Nebraska, that’s really what we try to center everything around.
How do you approach Twitter, Instagram and Facebook differently? Are you explicit and definitive in the roles that each of those platforms have?
For sure. I think Twitter, even though it’s not the largest social media account, is probably the most powerful. It’s the way you can build a narrative and really engage with influencers across your brand. That and just the nature of how Twitter works because it’s so much in real time. We probably spend a disproportionate amount of our time focused on Twitter for that reason but by the same token, if Twitter is your main narrative driver, Facebook is your billboard. You easily get the most eyeballs. Instagram is a little bit of a black sheep with me mainly because it’s always third or fourth on my list and I tend to forget about it a little bit. We’ve done some stuff this last year that helps a lot with that, I’ve got some other people’s buy in on it so they’re producing content themselves directly for Instagram which helps a ton.
They all have their uses and their different temperaments and ebbs and flows. They all have a little different strategy but at the end of the day, we’re trying to produce content and content can go anywhere. Sure, there is some content that needs to live unique on each platform, but we’re really just trying to create engaging content. If the content is engaging, it doesn’t really matter where it goes.
“If the content is engaging, it doesn’t really matter where it goes.”
Slight work this am ????
Still have to get better though‼️
— Keith Williams (@wideouts) June 21, 2016
Can you speak to the value of getting the athletes, both current and former, involved? Obviously those guys command a huge following. Is getting them involved a priority for you to promote the brand and reach the eyeballs following them?
Personal relationships in social media are hugely important. That’s been one of my favorite things about working here, just getting to create some personal relationships with former athletes and current athletes, coaches and all that. Anytime we can help our former athletes grow their brand by talking about how special Nebraska was in their development. Anytime we can have a relationship like that where we can provide them with content that helps their brand and then also helps our brand, it’s just a great mutual relationship. We’re invested in their success while they’re here and after they leave, we want to see them do good things and we love to be able to talk about them doing good things after they leave, and they’re invested in our success too.
“Anytime we can help our former athletes grow their brand by talking about how special Nebraska was in their development. Anytime we can have a relationship like that where we can provide them with content that helps their brand and then also helps our brand, it’s just a great mutual relationship.”
I know for a lot of guys in the NFL, there’s a lot of smack talk that goes on about alma maters and where you’re from. There’s just a lot of pride in that brotherhood. You see the pictures of guys exchanging jerseys and taking pictures with former teammates after games, it’s so cool. It just speaks to how invested they are in our success. It’s a great relationship because we’re invested in their success and they’re invested in ours.
— Kenny Bell (@AFRO_THUNDER80) June 22, 2016
Much has been analyzed about industry trends and growth. What are your thoughts? Where do you think the industry is headed and what does that mean for what you’re trying to do?
We’re at an interesting point in social media right now. A couple years ago, it was still kind of a kid’s thing. The old joke was about if someone messed up on social media on a brand’s account that an intern just got fired. Well interns don’t run social media accounts anymore. It’s become a thing where there are athletic directors on twitter now. There’s presidential candidates tweeting for themselves.
As social media gets older and more of the adult population is on it, the importance of having strong personal accounts becomes even greater. That’s one of the reasons we’ve started shifting away from being gatekeepers to being content creators. That content works no matter which account it comes from. Whether it comes from a coach’s account or a branded team account, it doesn’t really matter. I would say that for individuals and personal accounts, those are going to become more and more what people are going to turn to and less from the all-encompassing brand accounts. It’s important to keep in mind that as social media matures, being able to provide the sort of content through more personal means is gonna become even more important.