Indiana Basketball is on a roll. Yes, they took down Kentucky in last weekend’s matchup between perennial basketball powers. But the team is just as hot off the court, populating its Twitter and Instagram feeds with some of the best content in college basketball.
We were able to catch up with Andrew Lentz, Indiana Basketball’s Director of Creative Strategy. Despite being less than two days away from the team’s matchup with one-seeded North Carolina, Lentz took the time to answer a few questions about what makes the Hoosiers stand out on social.
What’s your mission on social media?
Andrew: “Our mission on social media is to make our audience feel something and fuel the intense passion that our followers have for Indiana Basketball—or that we want them to have for Indiana Basketball.
Our messaging reflects our storied tradition, family atmosphere, player development, and success. We aim to create content and craft our messages in a way that connects these elements and makes them appealing to multiple constituents.
For our fans, it’s reinforcing what they love. For prospective student-athletes, it’s selling why they should love Indiana. Fortunately, those things overlap more often than not.”
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) March 21, 2016
Many athletic departments and teams are working with fairly small teams and budgets in social and digital. How is your team structured, and how do you maximize your efforts?
“I work directly on the IU Basketball staff and oversee everything creative as it relates to our program, which covers recruiting materials, internal displays, video production and motivational projects for the team. Social media falls under that umbrella, but also isn’t something that 100 percent of my time is or can be devoted to.
I’ve worked with a couple students that help monitor our mentions and conversations about the program on social throughout the week and heavily on gameday, but I typically handle everything that we push out.
With the development of the Cuban Center, we’ve started to see ways that the investment can help us produce more high-quality, powerful content and I’m looking forward to watching that evolve.”
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) February 24, 2016
Tell me about your in-game strategy. Some teams go with the play-by-play approach, reporting as quickly as their thumbs can type. Others offer fewer tweets, but deeper insight. How do you decide when and how to weigh in during competition?
“We don’t go with a play-by-play approach or offer deep insight because it’s not my job to report or analyze. Nearly all of our games are nationally televised and outside of TV availability, there are plenty of options for each of those things.
I look for ways to supplement the viewing experience and tap into the emotion that’s involved with watching a game—almost play the role of a fan without being one. Basketball is such a fast-paced game that we really try to key in on when we know our audience is going to be refreshing their feeds.
We’ll provide occasional score updates and maybe increase that late in close games, but I try to do a good job of discerning which moments to capitalize on so that we’re not inundating our fans with too much clutter and making the product stale. Especially now that we’re in the NCAA Tournament, that window of opportunity is wider, but FOMO is a quality social media managers have to get over.”
Current status: pic.twitter.com/JoLkK4To1q
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) March 19, 2016
How do you define success on social media?
“Consistency is key. Is our approach day-in and day-out consistent and is the engagement with what we’re doing consistent?
I feel like we’ve really nailed down the type of content our audience engages with the most and we make an effort to do it really well all the time.”
A big thanks to Andrew for his time and insight. It’s always great to learn from some of the best in our evolving industry. Give Andrew a follow and watch Indiana Basketball’s journey through the tournament on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.