Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Integrated Marketing Communication

First Advisor

Debbie Hall

Second Advisor

Scott Fiene

Third Advisor

Jason Cain

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

This project, inspired by the researcher’s own experience as a digital media marketing assistant for Ole Miss Athletics, investigates how certain NCAA team accounts grew their social media engagement in the 2020-21 seasons despite the challenges and interruptions of COVID-19. First, metrics from data analytics firm SkullSparks were analyzed to determine which accounts increased their engagement metrics the most or performed strongly compared to their peers. Then, those accounts’ posts were analyzed using CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned data analytics tool, and using Twitter’s advanced search features to see which posts overperformed compared to each account’s average posts.

From there, with an understanding of which content types performed best on each account, athletic department personnel behind each account were interviewed. Interviews were conducted with the individuals managing accounts for the baseball and football teams at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), the University of Arkansas’ football and men’s basketball programs, the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team, the University of Alabama’s football program, and the football team at the University of Southern California (USC). This thesis compiles the results from this process. These schools illustrate the importance of understanding their audience and mission, which they do by remaining flexible, having a content distribution plan, and optimizing and understanding each social media platform.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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