Dr. Andrew T. Goodrich is the Sr. Associate Athletics Director for External Relations at the University of South Florida. He recently answered 3 Questions for INFLCR, with an assist from USF Digital Strategist Joey Johns.
1. What is a social-media trend to watch this football season, and how is USF leveraging it?
We are beginning to see a huge rise in hearing directly from student-athletes, coaches and alumni in a much more personal, and in some instances, raw, manner. For years Joey has had the phrase “in their own words” written on a whiteboard in his office as a reminder that the best way to connect with fans on a personal level is by allowing them into a space that was once considered off limits or inaccessible.
At USF, we make the conscious effort to amplify the voice of our student-athletes, whether that be on our own channels [@usffootball] or from the player’s personal accounts. This prioritization has come in the form of creating new weekly segments on social media such as ‘Inside the Play,’ where we review a significant play from the previous game and have the student-athlete walk us through the play from how they experienced it. Other examples include showcasing behind-the-scenes moments that nobody else has access to. After a big last-second win at Illinois earlier this year, senior LB Khalid McGee shared his immediate, raw emotions in the tunnel, footage that we were able to share with our fans.
We will also have various student-athletes take over our Instagram Story, talking directly to fans and recruits in a personal manner. Additionally, we are fortunate to have a TV show, ‘#BullStrong: Inside USF Football’ that aids in telling feature stories of our players’ lives off the field.
2. Your staff is doing some amazing interactive game reports via Adobe. What led you to use that platform and what has been the response?
Adobe Spark is a great platform to tell a visually compelling story. Joey first learned of Adobe Spark (Adobe Slate at the time) when he was a GA at Clemson under Jonathan Gantt. They used it a couple of times to recap events such as the football spring game weekend.
When Joey joined our USF team as our Digital Strategist, we knew that Adobe Spark would play a big role in our content plan and we’ve used the platform for numerous things from game recaps, to bowl game previews and now season previews/recaps, tournament centrals, and an in-depth player feature that Joey helped develop while at Michigan.
A few football seasons ago, our game recaps were more strictly visual with a couple notes and video sprinkled in, but this year Joey made it a point to make them a more comprehensive recap of the game and the response has been very positive. From a quantitative standpoint, the views have nearly doubled on average this year and from a qualitative standpoint, sentiment has improved greatly with our fans voicing their pleasure with how much they’re enjoying our visual recaps.
Game recaps, bowl previews, player features, etc. are all things that all of us are already creating, but Spark allows us to elevate the fan experience by using a format that is easier to consume and just more fun for the reader.
3. What are some things USF is doing — other than winning games — to stand out in a crowded Tampa-area sports market?
We differentiate ourselves in our market by owning the game day fan experience, using the most sophisticated digital advertising techniques, and by telling our story in an authentic, inspirational manner to connect with the Tampa Bay community.
We are the only team in Tampa that allows all children age 12 and under to have an on-field experience before every single home game. Sponsored by a regional chain of family restaurants, the Beef O’ Brady’s Jr. Bulls on Parade allows kids age 12 and under to run out of the player’s tunnel prior to the team taking the field – developing memories and emotional bonds for those children and their parents that will last a lifetime.
We have become incredibly adept at using a multitude of digital platforms to recruit and connect with fans while elevating their USF Bulls experiences. From text message, digital retargeting, and paid social media marketing techniques, to using INFLCR and becoming the first college in the nation to use Artificial Intelligence Bots to help improve the fan experience by answering any game day question a fan could have in real time, the USF Bulls are connecting to our fans and serving them in a profound way.
While Tampa is a crowded sports market, we believe that the bond between a community and its university can be an extremely powerful force. Understanding that, we are working to strengthen that relationship to build an affinity for USF with Bay Area residents.
One way to accomplish this goal is to humanize the people within USF Athletics. As stated above regarding hearing directly from our student-athletes, coaches, and our athletic director, Michael Kelly. We are continuously working to create content that not only showcases USF and the great things that are happening here, but also doing so in a personalized, genuine manner that is easily relatable to the community. This goes beyond just the student-athletes, we include everyone that helps make this athletic department, pound for pound, one of the best in the nation.
A great example of this team + community connection was a video we made for homecoming last year. Cam Ruff, a student-athlete at the time, voiced a powerful script that talked about the bond, and then visually, we went around Tampa, finding fans to showcasing their love of USF to tie everything together. That video is here: https://twitter.com/USFFootball/status/918863957875597312.
INFLCR is the proud content delivery partner of University of South Florida Athletics, providing their creative team with the INFLCR platform to store, track and deliver its content assets through their brand ambassador network of USF student-athletes, alumni, coaches, etc. to grow the brands of these individuals and the USF brand.
John Bednarowski, APSE president
Darren Heitner, sports attorney
INFLCR is a SaaS platform for sports team properties to store, track and deliver their content across their influencer network of athletes, coaches, former athletes, media, etc. Each influencer can access their personalized gallery of content on their INFLCR mobile app, which they can use to download and share specific content to their social media platforms, with all influencer user activity tracked back to an INFLCR dashboard for the sports team properties. In its first year, INFLCR has signed and renewed software subscription partnerships with more than 20 college, high school and professional sports team properties, including iconic college sports team brands like the University of Miami Football and the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball. For more information or to request a demo, visit http://22.214.171.124/
Sign up for the INFLCR #SMsports newsletter.