Social Media Use of Student Athletes: 2015 Survey Results [infographic]

October 26, 2015 Kevin DeShazo Uncategorized 0 Comments

Last week we published the results of our latest survey, looking at the social media use of college athletes. With nearly 1000 participants, the data gave us a good look into where this group is spending their time online. There are a few takeaways from the data as it relates to both the education of student-athletes on social media and how we reach this audience from a marketing and communications perspective.

In terms of education, we’re seeing that 43% spend more than an hour on social media each day with 37% of them saying they’ve posted something regret. Meanwhile, 45 have had zero training/education on social media use. This plays out in that 48% believe Yik Yak is anonymous and 41% have posted something inappropriate on Snapchat, which implies that they believe that it is private and pictures actually disappear.

It’s troubling to see these numbers. Fieldhouse Media was started based on the idea that student-athletes can use social media well, if we simply provide guidance and support on what that looks like. Daily we see student-athletes in the news for inappropriate social media use, yet half haven’t been educated on what it means to use social media in a positive, meaningful, appropriate way. Are we setting them up for failure? As administrators and educators, it’s on us to prepare them for success. We have to be intentional about it. It’s well beyond time that we make educating our student-athletes on social media use a priority.

From a marketing standpoint, this is a generation that everyone is desperate to reach. It’s important that we not just look at where they spend time but why/how they spend that time. They spread themselves out across platforms, posting at least once per day on almost each of the main four (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat). Instagram is a platform that we should continue to focus on from a marketing/communications perspective. 33% said that it was their most used platform and 81% say they follow a brand on Instagram. While Snapchat is the shiny new toy (if we can call it new), only 7% of student-athletes say they follow a brand on the platform. That’s either an opportunity for brands or an indicator that users are there for more personal interaction, away not only from mom and dad but from brands as well. We also need to consider what message we’re sending them when we do engage on Snapchat. With the targeting capabilities of Twitter and Facebook, you can – and should – be creating content specifically for this audience. 

This generation is spending a significant amount of time online. As educators, we need to make sure we’re preparing them to not only use it wisely but also to get the most out of their social media use. As marketers, we need to be intentional in creating content that matters to them, on the platforms that matter to them and that help us to be the most effective in telling our stories.

Fieldhouse Media is an award-winning firm dedicated to helping athletics departments get the most out of their social media efforts, from educating student-athletes and staff to providing an overall strategy. To find out more about us or to join the more than 70 schools utilizing our services for their athletics department, contact us today.

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