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CSU Opened a Brand-New Stadium. Here’s How We Made It Social.

It’s not every day you have the opportunity to work for an organization that opens a brand-new stadium. Or every year. Or in a career. Or even in a lifetime.

This August, Colorado State University was the only collegiate team in the United States to open a new stadium. In fact, the Rams game was the very first kickoff of the NCAA season.

#CSUSocial was right there for the ride.

On August 26, 2017, CSU debuted its on-campus stadium to a sold-out crowd. This marked the first time football was played on campus in nearly 50 years. Our previous stadium was located three miles from the main campus. This was a big change for the way game day operated in Fort Collins.

The planning and preparation for the stadium involved HUNDREDS of people, and the successful launch of the first game is attributed to MANY. Here’s a look at specifically how #CSUSocial helped usher in the first game at the #CSUStadium. We intentionally focused on customer service, bringing the game day experience to fans digitally, and amplifying Ram Pride.

Pre-Game

Roughly one month before the first game at the stadium, #CSUSocial strategically mapped out how to distribute critical — and pride-building – content to our social audiences. We produced and posted A LOT about the stadium leading up to the opening game. If I wrote about all that we did, I’d have a novel rather than a blog post. So, I’m picking a few key pieces where we leveraged social media to connect fans — near and far — to the new home of the Rams.

Facebook Live: Game Day Q&A

Throughout the summer, excitement was building for the inaugural season at the stadium. But there were also lots of questions from fans regarding the new game day experience. Our partners in Athletics created a game day website that hosts a ton of information and is a great resource for fans. Even though all of the info is posted online, I still felt like there was a way we could get that valuable information into the hands of our fans using social media — and more than just tweeting out the link to the website.

I felt strongly that it was our duty to provide our fans the best customer service that we could to make their game day experience one to remember. In order to get a better sense of the general themes of questions from our fans, we used Twitter polling and a Facebook post.

Now that we knew the topics that spurred the most questions, we decided we would bring the answers directly to our fans via Facebook Live. We assembled experts from around campus who could answer questions live. We answered about 20 questions through the Facebook Live Q&A and then answered ALL of them in the comment section on Facebook and as they came in on Twitter. It was truly a team effort. And our fans appreciated the effort.

 

Team Social in Action: Jen Smith operated the camera. Chase Baker answered questions on Facebook. I wrote down questions from Facebook for the panel to answer. Ashley Manweiler ran the questions over to our moderator, the talented Pam Jackson.

Student Body President Takeover on Snapchat and Instagram Stories

The game day experience for students was also changing this year. There are new processes in place for tickets, re-park program, tailgating and other pre-game activities that our students needed to be aware of. We recruited Josh Silva, CSU’s student body president, to run through all of the important messaging for students to make the most of their game day experience. We strategically decided to film the takeover on CSU Snapchat and Instagram Stories because that’s where we connect with the majority of our current students. Between both platforms, more than 10,000 people tuned into the takeover. We downloaded the Snapchat story and posted it to CSU’s Facebook as another avenue for students (or their parents!) to see it.

Traditions

Beyond communicating logistical info, many of the traditions from our old stadium were carrying on at the new location. A beloved CSU Rams tradition is the firing of the cannon each time the Rams score. When the cannon moved into its new home, we knew our fans would be fired up to see it. We weren’t wrong.

Brick Proposal

Fans had the opportunity to buy personalized bricks at the stadium. It’s been so cool to see fans find their bricks and share on social media. This particular fan had a special message engraved on his brick. Look at the organic stats on this post 😮

Start of Something Special

The days before the game we wanted to infuse that “give-you-goosebumps” feeling to our fans. We think it worked.

Game Day

The goal for the day was to show as much live action of game day in Ram Country as possible. #CSUSocial brought live coverage to our fans throughout the entire day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

 

We also used a special Snapchat geofilter, created by our partners in Athletics, that was used 1,500+ times and generated 109,000+ views.

To top off a truly amazing season opener at our brand-new stadium, the Rams beat Pac-12’s Oregon State Beavers. It was EPIC.

Post-Game

A sports victory of any kind plays out very well for us on social media. There was such a high coming off this huge first game of the season that we decided to continue stoking Ram Pride on social by sharing two photos albums on Facebook throughout that weekend. Fans who were at the stadium and those who were not got a kick out of seeing all of the action of the day.

 

And, we couldn’t resist producing a hype video to get fans excited for the rest of the season 🏈🏈🏈

Knights of the Green & Gold

Knights of the Green & Gold.

Posted by Colorado State University on Thursday, August 31, 2017

Final Thoughts

The social media coverage from #CSUSocial throughout opening weekend of the Rams new stadium at CSU reached more than 1 MILLION PEOPLE 😮 Game day in Fort Collins is forever changed. Couldn’t be more grateful to experience it with the one and only Team Social. #GORAMS

Team Social doing what we do — all from our phones 😂