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Meredith Dunn
By Alex Herbert

Alex is a content marketing enthusiast with a passion for international travel, the Spanish language, and Starbucks coffee.



It’s that time of year again! Tiger season is upon us. And as a recent Clemson graduate, I miss football season on campus already.

The Clemson Tigers football team can teach us a lot about dedication; with enough hard work and determination, even the little guys can win big.

But beyond the tailgates, touchdowns and bright lights in Death Valley, there are some valuable lessons even businesses can learn from the Tigers – namely, from their successful digital marketing approach.

Clemson knows how to make an impact on the field and online. They excel in producing compelling online content, creating happy users and exciting fans.

And isn’t creating loyal, engaged customers online the goal of every business?

Here are three ways businesses can implement similar online marketing tactics used by Clemson football to satisfy users and perform well online.

1. Clemson's Website Creates an Excellent User Experience

The Clemson football website (www.clemsontigers.com) is well done. Like, really well done.

clemson

There are a few key things that the Clemson football webpage gets right with their online user experience and user interface design.

User experience (UX) refers to the way users feel while navigating a website; i.e., how easy it is to browse the site and find information, and how enjoyable it is to use the site. The user interface (UI) refers to the layout and visual design of the webpage.

For example, here’s where Clemson scores big on their athletic homepage:
  • The visual design is on-brand and bold. True to their brand image, the homepage incorporates their flagship colors, consistent branding and striking photography. Clemson fans can never get enough orange and purple.
  • The information is large and clear. Users are instantly greeted with relevant information, including the upcoming football schedule, prominent calls-to-action and news headlines. And knowing videos receive more clicks and engagement, Clemson wisely highlights multiple sports videos.
  • An organized menu and page layout. Users can quickly navigate to other pages on the site to find sports schedules, tickets, videos, the store and more. The menu also functions well, providing a handy drop-down to further filter results and interior webpages. Content is also divided into organized sections (Content, Videos, Schedule and Social Media) to help users remain oriented while scrolling.
  • Quick site load and smooth performance. When it comes to sports, time is precious! Clemson sports fans need reliable and quick page-loading for scores, updates and breaking news. (Did you know that 40% of people abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load?)


The Lesson: Your website should be designed by a professional (make it appealing!), organized, easy to navigate, quick to load, and feature relevant information to help users find what they’re looking for.

Clemson’s website is also fully responsive.

Here’s a screenshot of their mobile site:

clemson

Clemson knows that when fans need sports updates on-the-go, they’ll likely use their mobile devices to check scores or buy tickets. And I cannot stress enough the importance of responsive web design, or sites that automatically adapt to any device or screen size.

In 2018, 52.2% of all web traffic was generated through mobile phones. All businesses should consider a responsive website to remain competitive online nowadays.

Clemson football’s mobile site is a stellar example of responsive design. Just as with their desktop site, it is visually attractive, loads quickly, and highlights important sports information.

Most importantly, the responsive design provides smooth navigation and easy clicking even on tiny screens. Function, design and navigation aren’t compromised.

One notable difference between Clemson’s desktop and mobile site is the mobile version hides the football schedule and main menu behind clickable icons. These icons provide easy access to important football details, but prevent a cluttered layout on such a small screen.

The Lesson: Your website should be responsive and optimized for screens of different sizes, including phones and tablets.

If your own website needs a refresher, BECK offers comprehensive web design services to get you on the right track.

2. Clemson is Really, Really Good at Social Media

Clemson football is well-known for its engaging presence on social media. Their Twitter account alone has almost 900,000 followers!

They’re especially good at creating a sense of community among fans and followers. So what are they doing right, and how can your business replicate these efforts?

They limit their social media presence to platforms that match their brand personality.

Clemson football maintains an active presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+.

They don’t use LinkedIn, a platform with a serious, professional tone. This platform is generally for working professionals who are looking to network and connect about business opportunities.

Clemson also avoids spending time on Pinterest, Snapchat, and Tumblr. Why? While there are plenty of Clemson fans on Pinterest, Snapchat and Tumblr, these channels don’t match well with Clemson’s sports content and fanbase. Instead, they spend time on the popular channels where they can post live athletic updates and share fun multimedia.

If you’re not sure which platforms your business should use, check out this handy reference.

The Lesson: Choose only the social platforms that make sense for your customers and where they spend the majority of their time. Consider what channels will match your business objectives and content types.

They generate buzz by creating their own hashtags.

Clemson’s use of hashtags is one of the many ways they create a sense of community and belongingness among football fans.

One of their most popular hashtags is #ALLIN – as in, we’re “all in” for the Clemson Tigers.

clemson

In addition to generating interest for football games, the hashtags give fans a way to join the conversation online and generate buzz. Do a quick hashtag search on Twitter or Facebook, and you’ll notice just how far-reaching their community goes: fans, businesses, players, reporters and influencers use the hashtag to show support.

The Lesson: Create your own hashtags to engage your followers and create a sense of community.

They post frequently and regularly.


Clemson typically posts multiple times a week on Facebook and Instagram and at least once a day on Twitter.

Consistent communication and content sharing is a must when it comes to content marketing, and this includes social media posting.

An abandoned social account can mislead users. Did the business run out of time or money to manage their social accounts? Do they still care about connecting with us? Is this business still operating?

These are questions you do NOT want your audience asking.

If your efforts aren’t regular and reliable, you’re missing out on opportunities to connect with your target audience – and chances to build meaningful relationships with them.

In the wise words of Ron Swanson, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.”

You’ll probably use more than one social platform, but the point remains: put in the necessary effort for all of your followers.

The Lesson: If you’re going to use social media channels to share content and engage with customers, make it consistent and make it a priority.

They use images and emojis!
😄

Clemson’s posts are always vibrant and rich in imagery. 🐅🐾💜🏈

clemson

In general, images receive significantly more engagement on social than text-only posts. And using emojis in tweets and posts also really increases engagement.

The use of emojis may seem trivial, but it can go a long way to add life to a post. Even in a professional, serious industry like software development, emoji use can make your brand seem more human. 💻📱🖥

The Lesson: To increase follower engagement, include images and emojis in your social media posts when it fits the post.

3. Clemson Creates Varied and Engaging Web Content

Clemson football’s content team knows what they’re doing.

They didn’t just create a website once and leave it to its own devices (pun intended).

They consistently update their site with different types of content.

From news articles about football events, to pictures and videos of the team or the university, they keep it varied and interesting. Multimedia posts do best to engage users and Clemson is smart to consistently share that type of content.

For example, one of their ongoing efforts is a vlog (video blog) about the life of the team.

clemson

Creating a vlog was a smart move due for multiple reasons.

First, video is engaging and helps fans feel involved with the team (again, creating that sense of community). Fans get an up-close and inside look at the team, players, and coaches – and everyone loves special, VIP access.

And second, the content format is unique.

It’s important to share varied content to keep your audience engaged. Humans crave variety, and it’s easier to surprise and delight your followers when you provide them with fresh content types.

This type of digital marketing is called content marketing. Content marketing is all about learning how to create and share valuable content, and engaging users. It’s one of the best ways to stay relevant in search engines and boost your search engine optimization (SEO).

The Lesson: Create and share many different types of quality content for your site and across your social channels.

They maintain a consistent image and voice across all of their content and channels.


No matter what type of content or where it is posted, Clemson makes sure to use one consistent voice and brand across all mediums.

It’s one that is reflective of their personality: determined, driven, inspirational.

Every brand should have a strong brand voice that’s reflective of their own unique personality and values. It is essential to create a concrete vision for the future and keep communications consistent.

Here’s a useful guide to help you define and strategize your brand voice.

The Lesson: Find your brand’s voice and use it consistently.

Conclusion

Don’t let the digital marketing efforts of a giant like Clemson football intimidate you as a small business. Clemson takes a straightforward and methodical approach that businesses of any size can replicate.

If you follow the lessons mentioned here, you’ll be well on your way to creating a winning digital marketing strategy to engage your biggest fans.

After all, if there’s one thing they consistently teach us: no matter your size, a big win is possible!

And if these tips still seem overwhelming, contact us! We can help you improve your website and online presence.

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