The Griz Intern Social Media Contest

One thing I have mentioned before that I covet about my job is having the opportunity to work with a group of 8-10 college students who serve as interns in the Marketing Department of Grizzly Athletics. I utilize our interns heavily when it comes to our social media program. However, even though many people equate social media with the word “fun”, I have to admit that much of what I have them do for me doesn’t constitute fun at all. Basically, I have them do a lot of adding, inviting, and deleting. Because of the monotonous and boring tasks I put them through, I try to give them at least one opportunity to let their creative juices flow and let them shine within Griz Social Media.

Christie and I with several of this year's interns

Christie and I with several of this year’s interns

For the second year in a row, I have instituted the Griz Intern Picture Challenge. To put it simply, this is a contest where our interns each submit one Griz related picture and battle it out for the most “likes” on our official Montana Grizzlies Facebook page.

That is the simple description of the contest. Of course there is so much more to it…….well, not really.

I presented the contest at our weekly intern meeting a week ago last Monday. I laid down the rules and told them that they had a week to brainstorm, capture, and then send me a picture that in some way relates to Grizzly Athletics. Because yesterday was President’s Day, I made the deadline today. Now that I have all the pictures in my possession, the fun can really begin.

Each weekday starting from today through the end of next week during the time period of 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., I will feature one of the intern’s photos on the Montana Grizzlies page, under the Montana Grizzlies name. From the exact time that I post each photo, that particular image will have exactly twenty-four hours to accrue the most “likes” possible. For example, I posted the first picture of the contest at 4:08 p.m. today. The picture is eligible to receive countable “likes” up until 4:08 p.m. on February 20. The second the deadline hits, I will record the total amount of “likes’ for that photo and that will count as the intern’s score.

This was the picture submitted by my intern Gianna. I ran this one today at 4:08 p.m. on our Facebook page.

This was the picture submitted by my intern Gianna. I ran this one today at 4:08 p.m. on our Facebook page.

Yesterday I randomly drew the order of when each intern will have his/her picture posted. Yes, everyone knows that some days and exact times of posting are more advantageous than others. My interns also know that news at the intercollegiate level breaks unpredictably and can result in a picture getting drowned out on the Facebook page immediately, even if it was only the lead story for fifteen minutes. So naturally some pictures will be in more of a position to succeed than others but it is just the luck of the draw and the nature of the contest.

Our Montana Grizzlies Facebook page has close to 80,000 likes. We have the most successful Facebook page at the FCS level and we beat out numerous other schools in the BCS ranks. None of the fans of our page know that the contest is going on. They simply will just see nice, creative pictures displayed around the same time for the next several days. If they like them, they will actually “like” them with the click of a mouse or a tap of a finger/thumb and participate in the contest unknowingly. Of course I encourage my interns to campaign for their pictures amongst their friends and family so I guess in that respect people outside our intern circle will get to know about the contest.

On Friday, March 8, the winner of the contest will be announced via our closed Griz Marketing Facebook group. The big prize for the winner? Free school for the duration of their education at UM? Full time job in our department? A special place in our Hall of Champions? No, no, and no. I will award the intern whose picture garners the most “likes” with a gift card to the restaurant of his/her choice. Definitely a small prize but at least it is something to strive for. After all, the biggest draw of this whole contest is just the opportunity to get one’s own photography up on a medium for thousands of people to see.

Last year, Steph won the competition. She chose a gift card to Iron Horse as her prize.

Last year, Steph won the competition. She chose a gift card to Iron Horse as her prize.

Of course I consider Griz Social Media the biggest winner in this whole ordeal. Fans love to see pictures, especially well-taken pictures that are creative and that take them behind the scenes. This contest feeds them for eight days. As everyone knows I LOVE to take pictures and I love to share many of the ones I take for Grizzly Athletics on our social media channels. However, I have a certain style. In life it is good to switch up techniques every once in a while and get a fresh take. That is what makes this contest so valuable. It is not my work…it is the work of the interns. Fans get to see a different angle besides the one that is coming from me or the one that is coming from our university photographer. True, some interns submitted better pictures than others but I guess that is not even for me to decide, it is rather a decision for Griz Nation.

I invite you all to follow the Griz Intern Picture Challenge the rest of this week and all of next week through the official Facebook page of Grizzly Athletics. Enjoy the photos and make sure to “like” the ones that you feel are deserving. Don’t Blink.

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