February 20, 2019

How Duke, UNC Help Their Basketball Players Reach Millions On Social Media

When No. 1 Duke and No. 8 North Carolina renewed their bitter ACC rivalry on the basketball court on Feb. 20, the eyes of the nation tuned in. It was one of the hottest tickets in sports and the talk of the nation for days afterwards.

But ESPN wasn’t be the only platform where millions consumed the action from sold-out Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Social media brought the game to millions more. And that’s where Duke and North Carolina were ready.

Utilizing the Influencer (INFLCR) software and mobile app, the creative staffs at Duke and UNC delivered content directly to the smart phones of their student-athletes, coaches and other brand ambassadors to share across their personal social media channels before and after the game.

Duke and UNC could then use their INFLCR dashboard and usage reports to track their “audience lift” via the much-larger collective audience of those brand ambassadors.

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During the 2018-19 college basketball season, INFLCR has served many of the nation’s elite programs in the sport.

Let’s take a look at four of them: Duke, UNC, No. 4 Kentucky, and No. 12 Kansas.

Collectively through games of Feb. 19, those four programs uploaded almost 19,000 content items into their INFLCR accounts. Their athletes and other brand ambassadors have downloaded and shared more than 4,700 items.

On Instagram alone — the players’ most popular platform — those content items reached an audience of more than 18 million unique viewers and garnered almost 6 million likes.

“We’re honored to serve some of the biggest brands in college basketball and to have some of the elite players in the sport using our platform daily to help tell their story on social media,” said INFLCR founder and CEO Jim Cavale.

Read about how 80 players got 4 million views during March Madness

“The audience is migrating from traditional media and television to social media and the phone. This creates a tremendous opportunity for brands like Duke and UNC to partner with their student-athletes to tell their stories in context of the team and reach a larger collective audience than the ESPN broadcast of their matchup will produce.”

For the student-athlete, this holds tremendous value, Cavale said.

“Increasingly, it is going to be an expectation of the student-athlete that they get help in building their personal brand,” Cavale said. “This is going to become a factor in recruiting. By providing content that is within context of the team, the program can help its student-athletes be better on social media while also getting a level of brand protection.”

This reality is an evolving part of UNC’s digital strategy.

“When I began in social media, no teams included student-athletes’ personal accounts in their content,” said UNC director of Digital and Social Media Dana Reynolds.

“Today it is a necessary component to a successful strategy. We are promoting our student-athletes as influencers and recruiters by providing them with personal content to distribute over their own social media accounts, as well as including/tagging them in as many posts from our verified accounts as possible.

“Additionally, we give our student-athletes the opportunity to take over official team social media accounts in order to share their personal Carolina experiences with a wider audience. By showing how personable and impressive our student-athletes are to the public, it helps to galvanize our fanbase, recruits, donors, and the University community to support our teams, and they then want to learn and positively engage more.”

When you watch a huge game like Duke vs. UNC — or any game, for that matter — the odds are high that you do so with a phone in your hand. You’ll see content from the teams, from the media and fans on social media. And you’ll discover content that the participating schools invested time and money to create that they can maximize by delivering it conveniently to the athletes featured in it, thanks to INFLCR.

*If you’d like your team to experience the power of INFLCR, click here to set up a demo.


Influencer (INFLCR) is a social media CRM that allows teams and leagues to efficiently distribute their digital assets across the social channels of their most effective brand ambassadors (student-athletes, coaches, recruits prominent alumni and fans) while being able to track and measure the reach and performance of the content at scale via a convenient dashboard. With INFLCR, teams can store, share and track their digital assets (game photos, videos, etc.) as they flow through the social media channels of their brand ambassadors. Learn more at inflcr.com

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