Social-media content partnership creates opportunities for Hawks athletes in era of Name, Image, & Likeness
After experiencing significant success during the 2019-20 season, Monmouth University Athletics has expanded a multi-year, department-wide partnership with INFLCR.
Monmouth’s original 1-year agreement with INFLCR served the Hawks’ football, men’s basketball and softball teams. The new agreement, extending for five years, serves all of Monmouth’s varsity athletic teams.
“We are excited to expand our partnership with INFLCR to serve all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff for Monmouth Athletics,” said Dr. Marilyn McNeil, Vice President/Director of Athletics for Monmouth University.
“In the past year we have seen the impact this can have in growing their personal brands and in expanding the reach for Hawks Athletics.”
Student-athletes, coaches, staff and other brand ambassadors receive editorial content produced by Monmouth Athletics directly to their mobile devices through the INFLCR software and app, which they can share editorially to their social media networks.
Monmouth Athletics can measure the impact those editorial shares have both for the team and athlete’s personal brands.
As part of the agreement, Monmouth also will gain royalty-free access to INFLCR’s content-partnership with Atlantic Records, giving MU Athletics the rights to use editorial content from the playlist in highlight videos across approved social-media accounts.
“INFLCR has created tremendous operational efficiency for our department,” said Greg Viscomi, associate athletics director of communications and new media.
“We are able to deliver massive amounts of editorial content, in real time, directly to our student-athletes’ phones and are able to monitor the impact that it has as they tell their stories. The usage by the athletes was outstanding and the feedback we have received really led us to want to expand. We are excited to be able to now scale this storytelling strategy to our entire department in ways that we could never do without INFLCR.
Another thing we’re really excited about is the continual upgrades that INFLCR makes to improve the platform and make it easier to use. The access to the Atlantic Records playlist is going to take our video production quality to another level.”
The INFLCR impact could immediately be seen during a record-setting 2019 Monmouth football season. The Hawks posted an 11-3 record, earned a national ranking, won the Big South Conference championship and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs.
On social media, the Hawks were ready to maximize that exposure. With the assistance of Artificial Intelligence-powered tagging and other features, the INFLCR administrative platform and mobile athlete app helped Viscomi’s content team easily distribute more than 12,000 editorial content items to Hawks players.
The usage highlights included:
— 101 players were active on the app during the season;
— Players had more than 11,400 sessions in the app during the season, an average of 7.6 sessions per athlete PER WEEK.
— Players downloaded and shared more than 4,200 photos and videos
— Players reached an average weekly audience of more than 33,000 unique viewers on Instagram.
“The 2019 season was one of the greatest in Monmouth Football history, and the Hawks were ready for the moment,” INFLCR founder and CEO Jim Cavale said.
“Monmouth told the story together with the players, and the result was a significant increase in audience for both the team accounts on social media and for those of the players. It is a situation where rising tides lift all boats.”
During the season the Monmouth Football Instagram account grew 9.7 percent. Top players such as Terence Greene (16.99 percent), Lonnie Moore (23.38 percent) and Kenji Bahar (24.87 percent) saw their audiences grow even more thanks to access to a steady stream of editorial photos and videos produced by Monmouth Athletics.
Monmouth Men’s Basketball experienced similar success. Fifteen players reached an average weekly audience of more than 33,000 on Instagram and downloaded/shared more than 1,300 photos and videos during the 2019-20 season. The athlete engagement rate on posts was 26 percent, far exceeding the team’s official account engagement rate of 10 percent.
Overall, Monmouth Men’s Basketball players visited the INFLCR app more than 3,400 times, an average of 8.53 app sessions per player per week to view content in their personalized galleries.
And in a season cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, Monmouth Softball players downloaded/shared more than 300 content items in less than a month, with three players exceeding more than 75 sessions in their INFLCR app.
The foundation laid in 2019 is now something that Monmouth can leverage for years to come across all sports, Cavale said.
“This is going to become a great recruiting story for Monmouth, especially as we enter the era where athletes at all levels of the NCAA will be able to monetize their name, image and likeness,” Cavale said.
“Social media will be at the forefront of that opportunity. Monmouth is investing in great editorial content and empowering its athletes to maximize their time in the program to grow an audience of value using that editorial content as they represent the Monmouth Athletics brand.
“Providing them with the tools for consistent, authentic editorial storytelling on their personal social channels is the foundation to creating those paid opportunities.
“From the start, Monmouth has been forward-thinking and aggressive in using the platform to put their athletes first, and we couldn’t be more excited to expand this partnership for all of their teams and student-athletes.”
How It Works
INFLCR’s platform helps clients like Monmouth University send internal media and national photography content to personalized galleries for each of their athletes, coaches and other brand ambassadors.
Those athletes and brand ambassadors are able to access their content galleries through the INFLCR mobile app, and can then share the content editorially, to their personal social media accounts.
After the fact, Monmouth is able to measure the increased audience engagement coming from the much-larger collective audience of those athletes and brand ambassadors.
Monmouth plans to use this approach to bolster their online presence in a way that impacts event attendance, recruiting, fundraising, and other strategic goals.