For six months out of the year, teams around college basketball have an abundance amount of content to keep followers of their team engaged. Usually, the middle of October signals the start of college basketball around the NCAA, and teams would be looking for that late March or early April push. During these months, the amount of things that a team can produce is major with game recaps, highlight packages and more. However, with the rise of COVID-19 across the globe, the amount of content that a team can produce is hindered because they have fewer games to report on. The pandemic does bring an opportunity for teams to appeal more to their social media followers in creative ways since more people are on it. We will look at the 11 BIG EAST teams and discuss some of the creative ways that they are interacting with their fans and providing content through their Twitter pages.
Villanova Wildcats: @NovaMBB
Twitter Followers: 199,005
Villanova leads the BIG EAST in Twitter followers by a wide margin and there are many reasons why. The Wildcats are a very successful team on the court, winning two national championships in three years and Jay Wright is regarded as one of the best college basketball coaches in the nation. A lot of this on-court success has trickled down into the Wildcats’ social media account and the things that they have been able to do through this pandemic.
Player Timeline Takeover
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) April 24, 2020
𝐂𝐆 is taking over the timeline today!
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) May 8, 2020
One of the things that Villanova has been doing on a consistent basis has been highlighting players. The way that they have been doing it has been a little more creative than I have seen other teams do. Instead of just putting a highlight tape of the player, they had it be a “takeover,” which includes a highlight video, game clips, photos, and a written article about the player. It does a great job of getting people to view the stuff on their timeline and gives them multiple chances to see one of these videos or tweets. Not only did Villanova do these player highlights, but they also utilized other online platforms to provide content.
2K Simulation Stream
Details ⬇️ https://t.co/1Wm7NOyP8m
— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) May 4, 2020
It’s one thing to work with an organization to achieve a common goal, it’s another to bring that partnership to life. For Villanova, the idea to have two of their most dominant and recognizable teams go at it in an NBA 2K simulation to raise money is an idea that I have not seen done before. It’s a creative idea and it would be nice to know how this idea went for both sides.
UConn Huskies: @UConnMBB
Twitter Followers: 90,196
UConn will be coming back to the BIG EAST in the 2020-21 season after remaining in the American Athletic Conference when the Big East changed to the AAC in 2013. UConn was able to have success in the AAC, winning the national championship in 2014 and making the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2016. On the court, the Huskies finished the season 19-12 and 10-8 in conference play. On social media, their historic program allowed them to have the second-most followersin the BIG EAST. They have been keeping their fans engaged by posting clips of games that happened on the same day in a prior year but they recently introduced something on their account that could be impactful with their followers.
The GOAT Bracket
🗣 UConn Nation – It's time for 𝒚𝒐𝒖 to decide who THE UConn Men's Basketball G.O.A.T. 🐐 is…
🥁 🥁 🥁
Announcing 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐎𝐀𝐓 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐭, presented by @keybank.
— UConn Men's Basketball (@UConnMBB) May 12, 2020
Teams have been posting brackets having fans vote for their best moment of the year, but UConn took it a step further and have people vote on who they think is the greatest player of all time.
Here's how to vote 🗳️⤵️ pic.twitter.com/RmLTLX5lCU
— UConn Men's Basketball (@UConnMBB) May 13, 2020
What makes this great is that fans can vote on all of their social media platforms. With UConn having 104,057 likes on Facebook and 51,746 followers on Instagram, it allows followers to congregate to multiple social media platforms and possibly increase the engagement on the platforms with fewer followers.
Creighton Bluejays: @BluejayMBB
Twitter Followers: 74,120
Creighton had a great 2019-20 campaign, a season where they were able to claim a share of the BIG EAST regular-season title for the first time since joining the conference. The Bluejays will try to replicate that success when the season rolls around again, they have to get through the offseason. On Twitter, Creighton has been posting graphics talking about the state of their players if they declared for the NBA draft or not. On top of that, they have also been posting highlight videos for their players. The thing that is pretty unique that they have done on Twitter so far is cross-platform promotion.
Facebook Watch Party
Join us for a watch party tonight at 7:00 PM central for Creighton's first BIG EAST game as the Jays squared off against preseason favorite Marquette! #GoJays
— Creighton Men’s Basketball (@BluejayMBB) May 7, 2020
A Facebook watch party to view replays of significant games in Creighton’s program history is appealing because it helps to bring Creighton fans together who are stuck at home during quarantine to take a trip down memory lane. It also helps to drive traffic to Creighton’s Men’s Basketball Facebook page, which only has 51,506 people liking the page, compared to the 74,120 people that are following Creighton’s Men’s Basketball Twitter account.
Butler Bulldogs: @ButlerMBB
Twitter Followers: 69,377
The Bulldogs finished in the middle of the pack with a 10-8 conference record, but they are fourth in the BIG EAST in terms of Twitter followers. Butler is not as active as the previous three accounts that we looked at, but they do have fun with the tweets that they do send out.
Which Pose is Your Friday Mood?
— Butler Basketball (@ButlerMBB) May 8, 2020
— Butler Basketball (@ButlerMBB) April 24, 2020
Over a couple of Fridays, Butler posted pictures of various athletes and as their followers “which picture describes your Friday mood?” It’s an interesting idea to not only highlight their athletes and use the pictures that they collected over the past year, but it also encourages engagement of the tweet, which followers replying to whatever picture they would like to choose. I would like to see if this is a reoccurring thing that happens throughout the rest of the offseason with the rest of their returning roster.
Xavier Musketeers: @XavierMBB
Twitter Followers: 44,023
It was a rollercoaster year for the Musketeers, as they finished with an 8-10 record in conference play. Off the court though, Xavier (to me) has one of the best Twitter accounts in the BIG EAST. They might be fifth in follower accounts, but they deserve more. The personality that the social media teams have and the types of tweets that they create during the season and during the season are very creative. During the season, their NBA Jam styled game day graphics created a nostalgic feel that I appreciated, but since this is an article about offseason media, let me list some of the creative things that they have done since the season ended.
The Pic & The Play
— Xavier Basketball (@XavierMBB) March 31, 2020
If pictures speak 1,000 words, then how many words is a video? With their series “The Pic & The Play” Xavier highlights an amazing shot and shows the play or the sequence of events that lead up to the picture being taken. It’s subtle but cool.
Shoot Your Shot Sunday
🏀 | Welcome to #ShootYourShotSunday! Every Sunday we’ll share a new shot. We invite you to record yourself recreating the shot in your basement or backyard. Post your video as a reply in this thread or separately using the hashtag #ShootYourShotSunday!#LetsGoX pic.twitter.com/mH13SrGgz7
— Xavier Basketball (@XavierMBB) April 5, 2020
With “Shoot Your Shot Sunday” Xavier would post a significant shot in program history and allow fans to recreate the shot, with the best recreation getting posted on their Twitter page and win a prize. Not only does this allow fans the chance to win an amazing prize, but fans also get to break a sweat trying to recreate the shot.
— Xavier Basketball (@XavierMBB) April 15, 2020
Now I don’t know if this is an annual thing or if this is something that they just did this summer but this blew my mind when I saw it. To allow fans to create their own sneakers for the chance to have the player wear those sneakers in the summer is a genius idea. Again it’s another avenue to get fans involved, and this is a creative way to do that.
St. John’s Red Storm: @StJohnsBBall
Twitter Followers: 32,502
Under first-year coach Mike Anderson, St. John’s struggled, finishing with a 5-13 conference record. Anderson had an ugly first year as a head coach, but he always was well dressed. For St. John’s, threads have been the theme of their social media over the past couple of weeks.
Top Threads of All-Time
— St. John's BBall (@StJohnsBBall) May 13, 2020
Another team using brackets to get fans interested and engaged in the content. This time around, St. John’s fans were voting on the best uniforms and not plays or players. An interesting twist on the brackets.
Shirts for Support
🚨 On sale starting tomorrow for a limited time! 🚨
— St. John's Red Storm (@StJohnsRedStorm) May 13, 2020
While not directly tweeted out by the St. John’s Men’s Basketball page, they did retweet it so it came on the feed of their followers. Any way that you can benefit a cause in a creative way is a plus.
Marquette Golden Eagles: @MarquetteMBB
Twitter Followers: 32,324
Marquette was known largely due to the play of Markus Howard. Howard’s 27.8 points per game lead the nation last year and he was a unanimous first-team All-American. Marquette did have a little struggle on the hardwood, finishing 8-10 in conference play. Shifting to their Twitter account, while they are in the bottom half of the BIG EAST in terms of their number of followers on Twitter, there were a couple of interesting campaigns that were done that deserve to be highlighted.
Marquette Jersey Bracket
The #mubb jersey bracket has arrived!
The first matchup will begin tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. with the No. 2⃣ (Navy) vs. No. 7⃣ (Gray) matchup.
Voting will be open for 24 hours before a winner is decided. pic.twitter.com/zT5pBbhG0h
— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) April 7, 2020
Like a couple of the other teams in the BIG EAST, Marquette ran a bracket for fans to select which jersey they think is the best. These jersey brackets are smaller which helps followers get to the answer sooner, and it also doesn’t flood people’s timelines with 32 or 16 different matchups in the first round.
Virtual Basketball Banquette
#mubb and @MarquetteU fans, mark your calendars as we take the team banquet online! Messages from the seniors, highlight videos, award winners and more. Details to follow, so plan on joining us! @BIGEASTMBB pic.twitter.com/tMWwI2Jt7x
— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) April 6, 2020
In conjunction with the Marquette’s athletic page, Maquette men’s basketball was able to conduct their basketball banquet online. This banquette highlighted several players who as team awards were given out amongst other things. This is a way to help bring Marquette fans from around the nation together to help celebrate their team.
Party on Instagram Live
— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) April 24, 2020
Cross-platform promotions are normally good, and in this case, it was creative. Instagram has been filled lately with artists playing their music and having a virtual party, and Marquette was able to get on that wave with their arena DJ. Marquette’s Men’s Basketball Instagram does have more followers than their Twitter with 37,503 people following that page, so going live on Instagram makes more sense.
— Marquette Basketball (@MarquetteMBB) April 29, 2020
Instead of posting photos on their Twitter page, Marquette redirected their fans to their Facebook page to view the player specific photo highlights. This is another situation where they have more fans on the other platform, with their Facebook account having 44,001 people liking it, so having the main content on their page is a good move.
Georgetown Hoyas: @GeorgetownHoops
Twitter Followers: 26,206
The Hoyas had a season filled with ups and downs as well as injuries on the court and issues off of it. They finished second to last in the conference with a 5-13 record against BIG EAST opponents. On Twitter, while they are not as active on it as other teams in the BIG EAST, there were still some things that they have done on it that are noteworthy.
Greatest Games in Hoya History
🚨 Introducing the Greatest Games in Hoya History #Sweet16 🚨
Fan voting starts tomorrow! Fill out your bracket and email it to email@example.com for a chance to win ✌️ free tickets to a 2020-21 home game! #HOYASAXA pic.twitter.com/6TTvNepHtk
— Georgetown Hoops (@GeorgetownHoops) March 26, 2020
— Georgetown Hoops (@GeorgetownHoops) April 3, 2020
With the absence of March Madness, teams have been using brackets to appeal to their fans. Georgetown decided to go with a 16 -team bracket to find out what is the greatest game in Hoya history. The two things that I like about what they did was give fans the opportunity to submit a bracket to win tickets, as well as create graphics to show which game advanced through the rounds.
Pick 3 Uniforms
— Georgetown Hoops (@GeorgetownHoops) April 16, 2020
Something that got a lot of engagement with the Hoyas fans were picking their top three uniforms. The tweet got 174 replies on it, which was more than some of the rounds in the greatest game voting. Continuing to crack that success is going to be key for the Hoyas on their social media page.
Seton Hall Pirates: @SetonHallMBB
Twitter Followers: 21,981
Regarded as one of the best seasons for the Pirates, Seton Hall was able to finish out the regular season with a 13-5 conference record and capture a share of the BIG EAST regular-season title for the first time since 1993. This was possible by the play of their consensus first-team All-American Myles Powell. On Twitter, the original content has been slightly scarce, but there were to main campaigns that were run on their social media.
— Seton Hall Men's Basketball (@SetonHallMBB) March 24, 2020
— Seton Hall Men's Basketball (@SetonHallMBB) May 6, 2020
Following the theme of other schools, Seton Hall had fan-voted brackets run on their account. The difference that Seton Hall has over the other schools is that they ran two different ones focused on this year. With one bracket, they focused on the top plays of the year, while the other bracket focused on the top wins of the year. This adds a little bit of flavor to a style that other people have used.
Providence Friars: PCFriarsMBB
Twitter Followers: 15,600
Regarded as one of the hottest teams in college basketball after winning six straight which included three top-20 wins, Providence was able to shoot up the standings and finish the regular season with a 12-6 conference record. Hoping to have another great year in the 2020-21 season, Providence will be looking for ways to grow their Twitter following, and so far some of the ideas that they have been able to come up with on their Twitter are worth mentioning.
— PC Men's Basketball (@PCFriarsmbb) May 8, 2020
— PC Men's Basketball (@PCFriarsmbb) April 3, 2020
On social media, sometimes the littlest things can help out. It’s important to post, even when there isn’t much to post. For Providence, they have this thing on select Fridays called “Friar Friday.” There isn’t much to it, it’s just a post saying that it’s Friar Friday. Doing this just gives followers a constant stream of posts.
— PC Men's Basketball (@PCFriarsmbb) April 7, 2020
Something personal but gives content to followers and fans alike is seeing how players are managing through the pandemic. At the end of the day, the players on the team have to deal with the same circumstances that the rest of the fans are dealing with. Seeing how they are able to continue to stay fit for next seeing is great content for people and could even motivate others to work out through the quarantine.
The Seniors’ Tribune
As they near the end of their senior year, our student-athletes wrote Letters to Friartown.
We present to you, The Seniors’ Tribune – Providence College edition.
— Providence Friars (@PCAthletics) April 20, 2020
Something that I only saw Providence do in terms of having men’s basketball players be a part of it is these first-person letters. Working with the athletics department, three men’s basketball seniors were able to write letters to fans of the team about their experience and their memories. This adds a personal touch to fans, and it was extremely well done by all of the parties that were involved.
DePaul Blue Demons: @DePaulHoops
Twitter Followers: 7.906
The final team to highlight in this piece is a team that is looking for a bounceback season. DePaul finished at the bottom of the conference with a 3-15 conference record and currently sit at the bottom of the conference in terms of Twitter followers. That hasn’t stopped them from providing content for their fans.
100 Plays in 100 Days
Every Monday-Friday over the next 20 weeks, we'll post a play of the day for 100 Plays in 100 Days.
First up is Charlie Moore (@CharlieM2_) putting on the brakes for a 3 at Villanova.
🔵👿 | #PlayingPossessed
— DePaul Basketball (@DePaulHoops) April 13, 2020
Providing a stream of fresh content is important when it comes to social media. It is easy for your content to fade out on people’s timeline. DePaul took their content stream a step up with their ‘100 plays in 100 days’ idea. They’ll be posting every weekday a play on their Twitter. Now DePaul has been switching up this idea on a couple of days.
Plug in the headphones for today’s Play of the Day with @ZachZaidman & Dave Corzine bringing us the highlights from the final win of the season over Xavier at the BIG EAST Tournament.
🔵👿 | #PlayingPossessed
1st Half 🎧⬇️ pic.twitter.com/RIdtfrKLSX
— DePaul Basketball (@DePaulHoops) April 30, 2020
Instead of a play, they have gone with highlights from a big play for one of the days.
Starting week 5️⃣ of 100 Plays in 100 Days with Brendan Favre’s trick shot from earlier today at his home in Switzerland 👀
— DePaul Basketball (@DePaulHoops) May 11, 2020
They have also tried to obtain fan-generated content to be posted for the Play of the Day. For a team with the least amount of followers in the BIG EAST, their social media department is working the most.