It smells like pumpkin spice + football season / by Samantha Hughey

It has been six months and twenty-five days since the Super Bowl. One hundred and twenty-four days since the first round draft pick was named. While this summer has been laden with sporting events (note: the Olympics) it's time to get back to America's best past time: Football. While the NFL preseason is a thing that you know...exists, and that Hawaii/Cal game in Australia could only hold us over for so long. In other words, folks are getting antsy for College Football to be back in full swing! 

The changing of the seasons brings about a slew of changes in the digital space: new creative - new strategies - new campaigns. So with that here are my top five must follows, based solely off their Twitter presence, this football season:

01. Clemson

Season after season Clemson's digital team impresses their followers and even converts those who aren't following their coaches and players on Saturdays to fans of their social feeds. Why? Because they know what's up! They constantly collect content and turn it into something, even if it's for the following season. Nothing gets wasted. 

Also, can we just take a moment and appreciate their behind the scenes video showing fans an exclusive look of their new stadium?! 

02. Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish are one of the most tried and true in terms of tradition on the gridiron. Sometimes they test the bounds of social media - seeing what they can and cannot do on their platforms while staying true to those who came before them. This season they really took that mentality and we're able to showcase it. By far one of my favorite captain announcements. Each student-athlete was recognized in their own, well-executed video. And the lead up?! I personally LOVE a good gif and this one had me checking back on the account to see who was given the jersey with the "C" on it. Props on staying true to their brand voice but still bringing it to the fans. 


03. Nebraska

When it comes to a solid creative, in-house team - Nebraska has it all. From sleek video, to killer graphics, to their willingness to jump on a bandwagon, the Cornhuskers get it. Not only do they use organic content with their players but the coaching staff allows them access to be a part of the team. There isn't that type of integration everywhere, and because of this aspect the digital team is able to execute at a completely different level. 

Plus, did I mention their flexibility to join conversations?! One, they opened up Memorial Stadium to the general public to play Pokemon Go (whaaaaaa?!). Two, when Twitter gave out branded country codes with emojis for #Rio2016 their hashtag was taken over by Great Britain. Instead of instigating Boston Tea Party 2.0, they had fun with it! Fun is a trait that a lot of teams, and brands, can learn from.  

04. The U

If you know me, you know that I appreciate and love a good gif. Holy 🐮 is this a good gif! One of the better, more exciting parts of this time of year is the anticipation of the upcoming season - so capitalize on it.  

Fan engagement is something that everyone strives for. And the U made it easy for fans to engage and feel about of the upcoming season. The use of polls is an easy win from time to time, and it's often lost in the strategy plan. So props to them for remembering that it exists and using it in a fun, interactive way. 


05. Ohio State

A team that can get a high profile coach on social and ACTIVE on social is an automatic win in my book. Not a lot of coaches get it, they are starting to, but still there is that line that not a lot of them are willing to cross just yet. Urban Meyer though - he gets it. 

Also, their graphics are different from the normal college football look and feel that you tend to see out there. Their typography is more on the gritty side of things, opposed to the clean look that is present in a lot of graphics. If they are willing to push the bounds on something as simple as the font in their branding, then I'm interested to see what else they do this season. 

Last but not least - I will also be keeping an eye on accounts like Oregon and UDub because of content like this:

So here's to chips and dip, crazy special teams, and a dope social media strategy this season!