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.
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.
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.