Loving the Exposure of Facebook Live

A couple weeks ago, I wrote this blog post glorifying Facebook for adding more ways to interact with content. Instead of just “liking” a status or a photo, you can now do things such as “love” it, “wow” it, or “haha” it. How crazy would it be if I told you that Facebook has recently added something even cooler than that?

Facebook now gives us the option to broadcast live video. Called Facebook Live, users can now utilize their phones to live stream anything they please onto their profiles.

Facebook Live is another really cool feature from Facebook.

Facebook Live is another really cool feature from Facebook.

Believe it or not, the very limited rollout for Facebook Live started this past August. A few lucky celebrities were given special access to become pioneers of live video streams on Facebook. In December, the social media giant started extending the privileges to a larger audience. Still, only a small portion of users had the capability to go live. Last month, however, the feature started to become available to brands as well as a large percentage of the media.

Our official Coastal Carolina University Facebook page was included in this February activation bonanza. We suddenly had the power to experiment with a feature that many others on the planet didn’t. Wanting to stay ahead of the curve, I utilized Facebook Live as soon as an appropriate time came about. When our baseball team opened up the season in a fully renovated Springs Brooks Stadium, I knew it was time to go live. I streamed the pregame festivities and the first inning. I literally learned as I streamed…

The power of the new feature hit me fast. As I filmed from my phone, people who had “liked” our page jumped on the broadcast and immediately started commenting. You see, when you do a Facebook Live broadcast your audience can interact with you in real time by writing messages via the comment feature (very similar to Periscope). Our audience, who had never seen a Facebook Live broadcast before, was mesmerized. That debut stream garnered 660 live viewers. After any live broadcast concludes, the video will stay up on your page for others to enjoy if you so desire. That initial video now has over 5,400 views.

I just took this screen capture from our Coastal Carolina University Facebook page (accessible to all). This is what the Facebook Live platform looks like.

I just took this screen capture from our Coastal Carolina University Facebook page (accessible to all). This is what the Facebook Live platform looks like.

Over the past couple weeks, I have used the Facebook Live feature in the classrooms I visit for our award-winning “Inside the Classroom” social media campaign. Each time I have used the streaming feature it has been well-received from our audience. Facebook Live is definitely still in that phase where not everyone is fully aware of it. Our fans will jump in on the live stream, act a little confused at first, and then proclaim that it is the coolest thing ever.

Yesterday I did my first personal Facebook Live broadcast! In typical Brent Reser fashion, I streamed my weekly Sunday Wal-Mart shopping spree. As I cruised through the aisles I watched with glee (and some fear) as my Facebook friends, some who happened to be completely random, jumped on my broadcast. I tried to keep my stream somewhat interesting as my viewers asked about the empty Wal-Mart shelves, my shopping choices, and how I was able to broadcast live. I have to say that the first time using Facebook Live on my personal account was exhilarating!

I did my first ever personal Facebook Live video last night. I guess 243 people thought it would be interesting to see me shop.

I did my first ever personal Facebook Live video last night. I guess 243 people thought it would be interesting to see me shop.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, 48 of my Facebook friends jumped on the stream to watch me shop. As of this evening, the video has now been watched over 240 times. To be honest, I don’t even think my personal YouTube channel has that many total views combined.

As some of you know, I am a Periscope advocate. So what do I think about its new high profile rival? (Make no mistake about it, Facebook launched Live to directly counter Periscope). Well, I think Facebook responded with a very strong answer. With Facebook Live the videos can last forever, they can be viewed on a computer, and they can be easily watched by people you know. It is a crapshoot on who is going to watch your Periscope videos and it is simply a rinky-dink app compared to the powerful new Facebook tool. As the feature becomes even more available to the masses I think it will take over the live streaming world.

Don’t have the capability to live stream yet? Hang in there, you should have the option soon! I think you will see that it was worth the wait. Don’t Blink.

The Dumbest Thing on Facebook

Quite frequently something will come along on Facebook that everyone seems to do. It can be a survey to see how many states you have been to, a test for color blindness, a status that you copy and paste, a special avatar commemorating a movie or cause, and/or a game where you try to get the highest score possible. For those of us who can claim Facebook membership for at least a half of a decade, we all know that these things come and go.

Because these gimmicks are just part of the Facebook beast and because they seem to disappear as quickly as they appear, it isn’t worth it to get too annoyed with them. I am trying to tell myself that right now…

What do y’all think of these Blobla memes that have taken over Facebook this weekend? Well, let me tell you my two thoughts…

Everyone will tell you that I actually am very ridiculous.

Everyone will tell you that I actually am very ridiculous.

1. I am amazed at how Blobla has swept across Facebook in record time. I saw my Facebook friends sharing their individual “stories” yesterday for the first time. Today, it seems like my newsfeed is completely dedicated to them. Usually a Facebook trend takes a little bit to catch on; not completely engulf the service like wildfire.

But with that said…

2. I don’t get it.

I know by posting this on my Facebook profile also won't help anything.

I know by posting this on my Facebook profile also won’t help anything.

I hate to be that guy who cuts down the cool thing that everyone seems to be having a lot of fun with but I will pass on Blobla. Okay, let’s just call it for what it is: A simple format meme that just spits out random junk. It doesn’t check your profile, it doesn’t attempt to create something based on your characteristics, and it doesn’t output something that is aesthetically pleasing. It reminds me exactly of Bitstrips minus the creativity and personalization.

I never let anyone win, not even my fiancé.

I never let anyone win, not even my fiancé.

What probably bothers me the most (even though it shouldn’t), is that some think Blobla is actually made to legitimately describe you. It is the perfect example of the power of suggestion at its finest. “This is Fred. Fred likes to go to the grocery store. Fred likes to buy food at the grocery store. Fred is smart. Be like Fred.” Hey, that is totally me!! Give me a break.

Again, I don’t want to work myself up too much with this. After all, I take pride in not letting social media changes and trends rattle me. I just go with the punches and adapt. However, please forgive me if I say that Blobla is the stupidest Facebook gag of them all. Don’t Blink.

Those Who Do Facebook Right

Recently I wrote a blog post about unstable Facebook users. Not so recently I have also authored blog posts criticizing other ways in which people utilize the world’s largest social media network. Tonight I felt I should put an end to my negativity and shed light on a few of the people who use Facebook really well.

I have admiration for those people who use Facebook to convey life experiences in either an interesting, humorous, or helpful way. These folks, who really are few and far between, don’t leave a one sentence cryptic status or ramble on for 500 words. They don’t share a thousand memes a day or share their newest lame blog post on a nightly basis (self-deprecating humor). Rather, they usually write a paragraph (or sometimes two) of engaging content on a consistent basis, usually 4-5 times a week.

To me, these people have perfected the art of using Facebook. They have made their page almost like their own mini blog. I find this method to be effective. I think the users who practice this style come across as more intelligent, more honest, and more human. They receive better results as well. Look at anyone who posts short, informative/humorous content consistently on Facebook and you will quickly see that they are receiving above average comments and likes.

When I think of folks who practice the techniques I just briefly mentioned, I automatically think of three people on my friend list. If the Facebook algorithm isn’t already serving me their content on my newsfeed, I am manually typing their names in and checking out their pages. Let me briefly identity each one.

Rob Oviatt – No questions asked, I find no one’s Facebook page more interesting than the one maintained by Coach Oviatt. A man who served all over the country as the head strength and conditioning coach for numerous college football programs, we crossed paths when we both worked in the athletic department at the University of Montana. Because of Oviatt’s storied athletic history, he has come in contact with just about every big name not just in college football but really the whole sporting arena. Additionally, he has coached in hundreds of different football stadiums. He shares his experiences and insight on his Facebook page in a humble and honest way. One post he will talk about meeting Randy Johnson in an airport and the next he will share how Nick Saban showed him humility after his staff was fired at LSU. He just doesn’t cover encounters with famous people, however. He addresses lessons he learned and accomplishments of lesser-known athletes he knew over the years. I look forward to every post.

Coach Oviatt has hundreds of really cool stories to share. When he tells one on Facebook, his friends gather around the "virtual" fire to listen.

Coach Oviatt has hundreds of really cool stories to share. When he tells one on Facebook, his friends gather around the “virtual” fire to listen.

Jenna Holloway – The wife of my cousin, Jenna uses her Facebook page to discuss life raising five young kids. She routinely posts about the joys and challenges of raising a large family. What separates her from millions of other moms on Facebook, however, is that she doesn’t take every opportunity possible to boast about her three daughters and two sons. Of course she recognizes their achievements but it isn’t a deal where she is constantly laying it on thick. She has a terrific sense of humor that always comes through in her posts and I can always visualize exactly the scenario she is describing. Her Facebook content is always on point in length and in clarity.

Jenna discusses the challenges and joys of raising five kids.

Jenna discusses the challenges and joys of raising five kids.

April Betsch – When it comes to documenting one’s adventures in a funny and non-overwhelming way, I think no one is better at it on Facebook than April Betsch. Coined “BETSCHventures,” April often writes about the good times enjoyed by herself and her husband of a little over a year, David. She injects a funny twist into her content and does a great job at adding relevant (and hilarious) photos to tell the story. Believe me, just being friends with her on Facebook is a “BETSCHventure.”

You never know what is going to happen during the "BETSCHventures" of April and David.

You never know what is going to happen during the “BETSCHventures” of April and David.


Great work to these three on maintaining terrific Facebook pages. Once you become a Facebook friend with one of them, you will never press the “unfriend” button. Although some thought a couple years ago that Facebook would die, it really has just continued to get stronger. It pays to run an account that is engaging and authentic. Don’t Blink.

Five Topics in Five Minutes

Well I am definitely due for a multi-topic, random blog post. Tonight I am feeling rather ambitious so I am going to attempt to cover five different happenings in as few of words as possible. Thanks for checking out my blog post tonight and let’s get started.

Bowling: Last night I spiced up my usually boring weekday evenings by going bowling. Would you believe that $1 bowling still exists? Believe me, at Westside Lane in Missoula it does! I did something I have never done before and bowled five games. Usually after two games I am good but with the cheap price and a score that needed to be settled between my friend and I we played 50 frames. Another thing that I have never done before? I bowled a 168! I am about 90% sure that qualifies as my highest score ever. The numerous games did take a toll though…this morning I woke up sore in a couple spots! I am definitely not in bowling shape.

Montana Grizzlies Facebook Hits 100K Likes: Right before I dashed out my door to go bowling last night our Montana Grizzlies Facebook page hit the 100,000 like mark. As I have eyed this milestone for a long time it felt great to finally reach it. Griz Social Media is shoulders above other competitors in the FCS and is a player on the national scene as well and this big benchmark just validates our success. Big winner of the night besides our athletic department was Facebook fan Amy Cody who correctly predicted the day and came the closest to predicting the time that our page would hit the hundred grand mark. Because of her excellent prognostic abilities I sent her a Griz prize pack today.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: I do find this whole saga fascinating but I find it much sadder. To me at first I can’t fathom how the plane has not been found. Then I take a step back and realize this world is a big place with the oceans covering over 140,000 million miles of it. Then throw in the twists and turns that occur daily in relation to the governments, theories, and searches and I can’t begin to imagine what the families of the passengers are going through. For some reason I think this ordeal might have a very crazy ending that a lot of us aren’t expecting. Only time will tell.

Subway…Eat Fresh?: I enjoy Subway so much that I actually wrote a whole blog post detailing how much I love it. Call me naïve for thinking it would always specialize in just sandwiches but I am a little turned off about the expanding menu. Pizza? Enchilada melts? Breakfast sandwiches that don’t resemble a sandwich in anyway? I understand that Subway must evolve and offer more options to keep up with competition I just think it is a little sacrilegious to offer a pepperoni pizza at a place that markets itself on healthy eating.

Putting on my Sports Information Director’s Hat: In just about a half hour our men’s basketball team faces off against Portland State in the Big Sky Conference tournament in Ogden. I am here in Missoula just about ready to cover the game over our social outlets but my duties will get a little extended this evening. As our legendary Sports Information Director Dave Guffey doesn’t have necessary software installed on his laptop I get to play with the program in his office and output all the statistical reports immediately after the final buzzer sounds. With a couple training sessions completed at the tutelage of Dave and a page of notes at my disposal I should be fine although I would be lying if I said I am not a little nervous about screwing everything up.


Okay, time to watch our men’s basketball team play! I appreciate all of you and have a wonderful Friday. Don’t Blink.

Facebook Evolving to Help Us Improve

As the main Montana Grizzlies Facebook page that I manage reaches the major milestone of 100,000 likes, an equally important development will occur. Facebook will once again undergo significant changes for its fan pages or business pages, whatever you like to call them. I always welcome these changes with open arms.

Although personal Facebook users tend to believe that any changes to a newsfeed or profile page signals the end of the world, those of us who manage business pages understand and embrace the modifications. As most of us are marketers who serve as administrators on these pages we are totally in tune with the concept that you have to adapt and improve to survive…even if you are Facebook.

As I mentioned, people will immediately notice the changes. Business pages will revert back to the one column format for the main content flow, thus ending the two column timeline feature that caused such uproar when introduced a couple years ago (and what users now are completely used to). To the left of this column where all the posts will be reflected, Facebook users will see an additional column. This column will be static and will hold the basic information on the business/organization such as phone number, web address, map, and older photos and videos. Basically all the information that once held a spot at the top of the page will head southwest, occupying space right next to the main content. Replacing the business info up top will be additional tools to navigate and view page analytics.

This is what the new Facebook business page will look like.

This is what the new Facebook business page will look like.

However, those changes don’t address the new feature Facebook is offering that I am personally stoked about. Coming with this new rollout is a tool called Pages to Watch. Page administrators will now have the ability to track other business pages of interest and receive in depth analytics and information on those particular pages. I can’t wait!

I am a very competitive guy. I do all I can to make sure our social media outlets outperform those of other athletic departments that are similar to us. I also know I hardly have all the answers so I am constantly looking for inspiration from the upper-tier athletic departments and other brands with solid social media programs. To adequately make sure that we are beating our competitors and to get the guidance I need from the big boys, I am constantly leaving the Montana Grizzlies Facebook page to visit the pages of other athletic departments and brands. To now have a tool that allows me to track numerous other pages at once with much more sophisticated information than I could ever glean myself is a cool deal. The fact that I get to stick on the Montana Grizzlies page while viewing this info just sweetens the pot.

I can't wait until Pages to Watch becomes available. Will be a great tool for all Facebook page administrators.

I can’t wait until Pages to Watch becomes available. Will be a great tool for all Facebook page administrators.

Facebook says that the new changes will come into play during this week. When they do I will be prepared and ready. The page administrators who utilize the new tools will undoubtedly make their page better while the ones who overlook them will miss out on valuable opportunities both for themselves and their audience. By Facebook improving itself it is also giving all of us page administrators a chance to improve as well. Best choice is to take advantage of it. Don’t Blink.

Facebook Problems That Page Administrators Face

Probably one of the most frustrating situations that a person working in new media can deal with is when an important social media platform malfunctions. While the general public might think that services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are bug free they obviously haven’t spent a good amount of time running a social media program for a significant entity. The truth is that from time to time these social giants crash, rendering everyone helpless. Although the occurrences of major meltdowns usually are rare, many times there are smaller bugs that people like me must face on a regular basis. This is when problem solving comes in handy.

What if I told you that Facebook presents more problems with its service than any other social media outlet? I wouldn’t lie to you. I am sure for all other people who run social media campaigns they can tell you that Mark Zuckerberg’s creation has at times prevented them from doing what they needed to do. But before I go any further and continue to bite the hand that feeds me and so many others let me say something: Facebook has done so much good to completely transform the marketing world. I am eternally grateful for the the social tool they have created and I would put up with a million different other bugs before I ever entirely denounce them.

It is because of this reverence and reliance that I have for Facebook that issues stress me out a little. I mean if I can’t do something exactly how I want it then the world must be coming to an end, right? I just simply want the best for the 100,000 people that follow our main Facebook page for Grizzly Athletics. Who cares about the other 1.11 billion Facebook users out there?…

Okay, so now that I have managed to bring myself down off my pedestal let me explain the five main problems I have faced on the Montana Grizzlies Facebook page over the past year and explain how I got around them (unlike my clown blog, this list is in no particular order):

5. Unable to Access the Montana Grizzlies Inbox (CURRENT PROBLEM)

On a daily basis I receive at least ten messages from fans sent directly to our Facebook inbox. Content ranges from ticketing questions to Future Griz submissions to donation requests. I make it a priority to respond ASAP to all inquiries. Well about a week ago the scrolling tool that appears on the right hand side of my inbox inexplicitly disappeared. I no longer had a way to scroll down and see all messages. All I had access to were the five messages visible without scrolling. What about all the other people who need good customer service?

Currently I am not able to scroll and view the contents of our Facebook inbox.

Currently I am not able to scroll and view the contents of our Facebook inbox.

Solution: After a couple days I realized something when I clicked on one of the five visible messages. When that message came up in full view a button in the right hand corner labeled “inbox” appeared. I could click on that button and it would take me to a full screen inbox page. I had access to view all messages. As I still don’t have the ability to scroll through messages on my front page administrator dashboard I am still currently utilizing this longer step.

4. Not Able to Post By Default

For a whole month this past fall I was unable to post to the Montana Grizzlies Facebook page via my personal account. Facebook conveniently allows page administrators to go on the page they oversee and make a post with the content automatically reflecting that the page itself posted it. However, for several weeks if I went on the Montana Grizzlies page I did not have access to the box that lets you post a status, photo, or event. While I still had access to the full administrator’s panel I couldn’t post content.

While I was logged in under my personal account I no longer had access to this very valuable and important tool.

While I was logged in under my personal account I no longer had access to this very valuable and important tool.

Solution: I once again just took a longer step. As I said I still had access to the administrator’s panel itself. I would simply go up to the “edit page” command, click on it, and then select the “Use Facebook as Montana Grizzlies” option. It allowed me to continue running the page but it took extra time and it felt like a certain right was taken away from me. Then one day out of the blue I was able to post to the page as Montana Grizzlies by default again while logged in under my personal account.

3. Pictures Taking Forever to Load

For a two week period it would take several minutes for a photo or graphic I was trying to post to load before I could press “post.” Sometimes it wouldn’t load at all. I didn’t have the time to wait around.

Solution: I was trying to post all of these photos via my desktop computer. I decided to try a different method and I sent the photo/graphic that I was trying to post to my e-mail. I was then able to access it from my phone. I saved the image to my camera roll and then posted it from my Facebook app. No problems at all.

2. Facebook Freezing After Posting

I still encounter this problem quite a bit. I will post a status or a photo and right when I click “post” all of Facebook will become unclickable. Many times the content will show as not posted and my screen will be absolutely useless.

Solution: When this happens I have to go up to the ribbon tab and click out of Facebook. I will then open up a new tab, reinsert facebook.com, and assess the damage. More often than not the site is back to working function and the piece of content that I was trying to post that wasn’t reflected when the page froze is now posted! For the times it isn’t I have copied the text so I just re-post. I don’t know why this occurs.

1. Facebook’s Tagging System Getting in the Way

For quality control and accuracy purposes I compose majority of my posts in Word. I then copy and paste them into the posting box on Facebook. However, sometimes when I do this Facebook will take some of the words and automatically convert them into tags for other pages. For example I will post something with the word “Missoula” in it but Facebook will change it to “Missoula – Dairy Queen Grill and Chill.” Removing this tag is sometimes more complicated than just pressing the delete button on my keyboard.

Solution: I just have to bite the bullet and type out the full message inside Facebook rather than copying and pasting. Sometimes I will paste half the message, type out the word that is causing me problems, and then paste the second half of the message.


Although frustrating when faced with little Facebook quirks all we can do as page administrators is get around the problem as best as possible. We don’t have time to make our audience wait and Facebook doesn’t have time to cater to the individual needs of a network of over a billion people. Some basic problem solving will usually save the day and make sure that the great content we are creating is still delivered to our audience. Don’t Blink.

My Personal and Business Guidelines for Liking/Favoriting on Social Media

Yesterday I described my policy for “liking” photos on Instagram. Basically I explained that I only like photos where I can tell that a degree of effort was put forth in producing the posted image. When it comes to Facebook statuses/comments and Tweets I am a little more lenient. Let me explain.

When it comes to Facebook statuses I make it a habit to like the big news conveyers. You know, when people announce via a Facebook status that they got a job, got engaged, graduated, had a baby, etcetera. It is important to celebrate other people’s success and sometimes liking the status announcing it is the only way to do so. I also like funny, creative, and informative statuses as well. I am pretty much down to like anything as long as it is not a rant, a ploy to get sympathy/pity, or a “20 things you didn’t know about me” disaster.

I am even more liberal on comments, especially if someone leaves one underneath one of my statuses. I appreciate engagement on the content I post and if someone takes the time to leave a comment I will make sure 98% of the time to like it. The 2% exception comes from a friend of mine who has a knack for responding with “no one cares,” “loser,” or “get a life,” each time I post a link to my blog. But for the most part, even if someone is disagreeing with me, I will like the comment as a token of appreciation for taking the time to respond.

With my post yesterday I explained that while on Instagram I won’t go blindly through my feed liking photos. However, I almost find myself doing the exact opposite when it comes to Twitter. I don’t have a problem favoriting tweets. I think the discrepancy between liking/favoriting on the two services for me is that people are just more refined with Twitter at this point. Because Twitter has graced our lives for much longer than Instagram I think we do a much better job composing quality tweets as opposed to quality Instagram photos. Similarly with me liking comments on my Facebook posts I will almost always favorite tweets that are directed my way. Again, it is just my small way of saying thank you.


My feel good approach to liking and favoriting comments and tweets on a personal level does not extend to how I administer them while running social media accounts on a business level though. Rather, when it comes to Facebook and Twitter for Grizzly Athletics I use tough standards similar to what I impose for my personal Instagram use when recognizing responses.

I always respond to questions and inquiries with Griz Social Media. However, when it comes to Facebook comments and tweets I am only liking/favoriting the cream of the crop. You see, we get so many fans who contribute to our social media outlets in varying degrees of quality that I feel it is our responsibility to reward those who go above and beyond while encouraging the others to reach that same level.

When a fan pours a lot of effort into crafting a thorough, supportive, and rich response to a Facebook question or feature he/she will receive a like from the Montana Grizzlies. Although we very much appreciate the standard “Go Griz” response the user who quickly types that out will not get a like. Many organizations and brands believe that every comment or tweet deserves a like or favorite because it gives the user “a special connection to his/her favorite team” but I don’t subscribe to that thinking and this is why:

Don’t you find great validation when your boss tells you great job on a project that you worked your butt off to complete and that you exerted a lot of effort into? Okay, what if your boss took time to tell you great job on a project that you hastily completed and that you knew very well didn’t reflect your best work? On ensuing upcoming projects that might encourage you to continue to put forth mediocre efforts. I don’t want to get into that pattern with fans. I want Griz Nation to strive for that coveted like or favorite each time they comment on Facebook or tweet at us knowing that only the very best will get recognized.

A great social media program is composed not just of great content provided by the brand but by great content provided by the customers/fans as well. While doing my best to enrich the content that Grizzly Athletics puts out on a social media level I also want to continue to push our fans to do the same. When quality keeps rising on both ends, the program keeps getting better and better.


So if you missed it, let me recap everything:
Level of Difficulty Getting Me to Like Your Instagram Photo: Hard
Level of Difficulty Getting Me to Like Your Facebook Status: Medium
Level of Difficulty Getting Me to Like Your Facebook Comment: Easy
Level of Difficulty Getting Me to Favorite Your Tweet: Easy
Level of Difficulty Getting Montana Grizzlies to Like Your Facebook Comment: Intermediate
Level of Difficulty Getting Montana Grizzlies to Favorite Your Tweet: Intermediate
Level of Difficulty Admitting to Others That You Read My Blog: Hard

Don’t Blink.

Griz Social Media Ranked Nationally

Much to my enjoyment I got word today that the Grizzly Athletics Social Media program had made a very exclusive list. Thrown in with schools like Ohio State, Florida, Oregon, Alabama, and the other BCS giants, the Montana Grizzlies are represented on the Top 50 NCAA Social Media Rankings list conducted by Sports Fan Graph. Talk about making my day!

Okay, so I do have to admit that Montana is #50 overall on the list but that does not take anything away from the achievement. There is one social media short list in the nation that ranks NCAA schools according to their social media prowess and the Griz are on that list. Our school is not just the only Big Sky Conference institution on the list, it is the only FCS institution on the list. Better yet, there are 120 BCS schools in the country. That means that Griz Nation has a social media campaign that is better than 70+ mostly bigger, better funded, and higher staffed schools around the United States. I can legitimately say Montana beats out over 70+ schools because conferences are also allowed on the top 50 list and the Big 12, ACC, and Big 10 are all on it. That means with conferences taken out of the discussion, Montana would have the 47th ranked social media program in the nation and thus sit in front of 73 other BCS schools.

Griz Social Media is in some pretty good company.

Griz Social Media is in some pretty good company.

To back track just a little bit, if you remember me referencing this list a little over a year ago you are not going crazy. In October of 2012, schools across the country started to make mention of Sports Fan Graph. The organization had ranked schools and teams from college to all of the major professional leagues on their social media programs using a formula involving Facebook likes, Facebook interaction info, and Twitter followers. When it came to the NCAA, they ranked the top 200 schools! At the time, Griz Social Media was ranked #53. Fast forward a year later and anyone knowledgeable in social media will tell you that Grizzly Athletics moving up three whole spots instead of regressing is a big accomplishment.

I am proud to rock our Griz Social Media t-shirts.

I am proud to rock our Griz Social Media t-shirts.

You see, over the past year, athletic departments across the country have really started to go all-in on social media like never before. Athletics directors have finally woken up. They realize that social media is the new and most effective way to report, market, and inform fans about an athletic program. Time, involvement, and care with social media has skyrocketed. Many schools are starting to hire staff members who work solely on social media and nothing else. With the major emphasis on social initiatives by many of the major schools one might have expected the Griz to fall down the rankings.

It didn’t happen.

Instead, Griz Social Media improved and jumped enough spots so that when the Sports Fan Graph chopped its long list of 200 schools down to a short and exclusive list of just 50 schools, the institution located in western Montana with an enrollment of just 14,000 students was on it. The reason why Montana was able to achieve so much success against increased competition centers on a social media program that focuses on creativity, staying ahead of the curve, reporting 24/7, and relying on something pretty important…


You can have Mark Zuckerberg run the social media program at any school in the nation but if he doesn’t have a fan base that is passionate, supportive, and hungry for information he won’t succeed enough to have his school land on a list such as this. The fans who support the University of Montana are off the charts and it extends all the way through to social media. They bring the passion on a daily basis through their smart phones and keyboards to make everything social in our athletic department a big success. Thanks for once again putting UM on a national list, Griz Nation! Don’t Blink.

The Subject That Dominates My Facebook Newsfeed the Most

Of course there are times where I know that the content on my Facebook newsfeed is going to go a certain direction with my friends all posting about a similar subject. National tragedies, holidays, important votes or elections, and big moments in reality TV always transform my newsfeed into a vertical homogeneous collection of similar editorials, rants, and analysis. However, once the autumn season comes around, I can always count on my feed getting dominated by a certain subject each Sunday (and sometimes Monday).

By far the most popular subject that I routinely see posted on Facebook via my newsfeed on a consistent basis is the Seattle Seahawks. If you are reading this, I think this should come as a surprise to many of you. I mean come on, a sports team claims the title for taking over my newsfeed in the most passionate and routine fashion? And not only that, but the sports team happens to be a squad other than the Montana Grizzlies? A little shocking for sure.

I am not kidding you though. For the couple hours leading up to each game the Seahawks play in through the three hour game and then peaking like crazy for two hours after it, my newsfeed is blitzed with content related to the SEAHAWKS. It is not like these statuses are passive, lighthearted “Go Hawks” statements either. My friends get absolutely crazy on Facebook for the team and pretty much go unfiltered on what they post. It gets rather intense.

The Seattle Seahawks routinely take over my newsfeed.

The Seattle Seahawks routinely take over my newsfeed.

Of course I grew up in Washington state and many of my Facebook friends are from the Spokane area. Also, the state of Montana has no professional football team (or any sports team for that matter) so many people choose the Seattle Seahawks as their team of choice. But I still don’t think these two things alone explain entirely why each Seahawk game is such a huge deal socially. I grew up a dedicated Seattle Seahawks fan but I know for a fact that many of the people I knew at that time did not share my same passion. If Facebook existed back when I lived in Washington I know my newsfeed would not look the same that it does today.

I am pretty sure I know the real reason why I see the proliferation of Hawks posts each Sunday. Actually, let me rephrase that and say I know the reasons, because there are two. First off, the Seahawks are a winning team. Back when I lived in Spokane I locked myself in my room after each Seahawk game because I became so enraged with the way they came up with to lose the game that particular Sunday. Not so anymore. Winning solves all problems and can make a fan out of anyone.

BUT, the main reason why I think I see the crazy amount of Facebook interest each week for the Seahawks is because of the immense interest in the NFL in general. As I have written about before, it is ridiculous how popular the National Football League is. The league absolutely captivates the nation for 20+ weeks each year. Ratings and revenue go through the roof for the NFL. This mania for the league extends to each team and is funneled out to each geographic region. Of course, this interest in each geographic region is then reflected through social media. Case and point why my Facebook newsfeed, composed mainly of friends from Washington state and western Montana, gets taken over by content related to the Seattle Seahawks.

In two hours my favorite NFL team will take on the hated San Francisco 49ers in a primetime Sunday Night game. I already see the status updates popping up on my newsfeed presently but that is just a tiny preview of what is to come. Sunday night Facebook meeting Seattle Seahawk Sunday Night Football (against a rival) is going to result in a complete social media explosion. My Facebook newsfeed is going to be painted in blue and green but that is okay because I understand it….and I also love it. GO HAWKS! Don’t Blink.

Using Vine to Diversify Your Social Media Content

It used to be bad enough when people would link their Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts together and send the exact same content simultaneously to both services. I cringed seeing a 50 word post that originated on Facebook get cut off halfway on Twitter. Or maybe even worse, I got turned off right away when I saw a tweet show up on my Facebook newsfeed with five different hash tags and a big Hootsuite or Tweetdeck logo accompanying it. Forget the fact that Facebook now has clickable hash tags, back then it just showed laziness and lack of understanding by the user over two different social media outlets.

Of course, over time this issue of duplicating content over different social media outlets has gotten worse. As new platforms have come in and gained popularity, people can now easily share the same content over three or four social networks at once. A year ago the annoyance I saw too many people do was take a picture on Instagram and send it out to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously. Besides the formatting nightmare that this reflected on the social sites other than Instagram, it just became tiresome to follow a certain person through various networks and know that you were always going to see everything they posted 3X.

Before I get to the main point/solution of this post let me say this: Sometimes we take awesome pictures that do need to be shared across all of our social networks. I get that. It happens with me sometimes and it also happens through the accounts I run at Grizzly Athletics. However, when this is the case post the picture separately on each respective account just so you can format it correctly. Not only will it make you look not so lazy but it will also make your posts look much cleaner and you will gain many more impressions, “likes’, retweets, etc.

When we do something worthy (or even unworthy) that warrants posting to all of our social media accounts, I firmly believe we need to document it in a unique way on each of our social platforms. So yes, preferably, when you go to Buffalo Wild Wings you need to cover it in a way that your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts all show something original from each other. A few months ago this principle that I am preaching would take quite a bit of work and require a lot of different shots with your iPhone camera. However, since then, a service has come along that has made this process easier.

Hands down, Vine is the coolest and fastest growing social media service available right now. About a month ago I gave a glowing review of the service so if you need a refresher on the details of Vine, check out that particular blog post. Anyway, not only is Vine a tremendous app by itself, but the content you record off of Vine can dramatically bolster your other social media outlets.

Make sure to follow me on Vine (@BrentReser)

Make sure to follow me on Vine (@BrentReser)

Just like everything else, please refrain from posting every single Vine you record directly to Facebook and Twitter. I would advise to never post a Vine on Facebook. It looks awful on the timeline, a lot of people on Facebook don’t get it, and most Vine videos rarely receive any “likes”. If you make a really cool Vine and your caption for it translates to Tweet-speak go ahead and post it to Twitter but make a general rule to only do this for 15%-20% of your Vines.

Okay, enough of all of my disclaimers! From time to time it takes me a while to get to the point. Anyway, with Vine you have a six second video of some story, event, or situation. Within those six seconds of video, you have hundreds (maybe even thousands) of images at your disposal. Remember back when you were a kid and it was so much fun to pause a video you were watching and capture still images?! Well you can do that with Vine only this time around the picture is clearer and with one simple move you can save it forever.

This move is simple. When the Vine video is playing, simply tap the screen to pause it. It will take some playing around but once you pause the video at the exact time that you want, activate the screen capture command on your iPhone. Now go to your camera roll, pull up the picture, and crop out the Vine interface surrounding the image. Save your work and you now have a perfect image that you were crafty enough to capture off of video. Cool, huh?

I caught this cool image by using a Vine video that my girlfriend took. Would never have been able to capture this with an iPhone.

I caught this cool image by using a Vine video that my girlfriend took. Would never have been able to capture this with an iPhone.

Use images captured from Vine videos to supply unique content to each of your social media outlets. Let’s go back to the Buffalo Wild Wings example. Let’s say you take a Vine that includes you entering the restaurant, sitting at the table with your friends, ordering from the waitress, scanning the numerous televisions, scoping out everyone’s orders, and finally smiling with a big plate of wings in front of you. Okay, you got the cool Vine video taken care of with you at BDubbs but now you got to document the experience on your other social networks too. Working directly from your Vine video, let’s get to work.

Let’s first start with Twitter. A perfect tweet for this occasion would be something like this: @BrentReser Watching the NBA Finals at BWW with @ImaginaryFriend , @FriendWhoDoesntExist , @WishIHadFriends #winning . Okay, now you use the Vine footage you took of your table to produce the picture that will go with this Tweet. Just pause the video right when it gets to the shot of your friends and go through the process I outlined. Attach that picture to your tweet and send away!

Time to move onto Instagram. Vine is PERFECT for making collages and this is what we are going to do for our Instagram image. For the make believe Vine video to Buffalo Wild Wings I mentioned six different scenes. Simply capture a photo from four of those scenes to make a cool collage (I am leaving out the two scenes that we are using for the other social platforms). You will have a nice montage of the actual restaurant, the waitress taking your order, the cool TV set up, and then the table full of everyone’s delicious wings. Give the collage a simple title such as A night out at Buffalo Wild Wings #BWW #Winning .

Now time to finish with the king of the social networks, Facebook. This one is all about you. Simply take the ending scene of the Vine video of you with a mile wide grin and a big plate of wings and capture it. Now post it to your timeline with a caption such as Great night at Buffalo Wild Wings. Time to devour these wings. Watch as this single original picture you put up garners numerous likes and comments.

It is important to form a consistent brand of yourself throughout all of your social media networks but it is equally important to establish it in a unique and fitting way through each individual service. Vine has made it easier to accomplish this goal. Be creative and give your followers something different through each one of your social platforms. Don’t Blink.