Mascots on Social Media: Lessons from the Best

Each summer, #CSUSocial sits down to discuss goals and strategy for the upcoming academic year.

One of our goals for 2017-2018: up CSU mascot CAM the Ram’s social media presence.

Mascots are such an easy pride point for universities to latch on to for social media…when you have the time and a strategy, that is.

So, I’ve been taking a peek at what the best of the best mascots around the country are doing on social media. I’m here to (1) give them a shoutout and (2) share some of my takeaways.

Post the behind-the-scenes content

Seeing a mascot at the big game is great, yes. There’s definitely a place for that content on a mascot’s social media account. But what fans really seem to get a kick out of is the random content. The moments you don’t get to see. The moments that make a mascot more human (or animal?)

For example, Michigan State University’s Sparty playing the carillon.

Or LSU’s Mike the Tiger when he was TRIPLE DOG DARED.

Make them real

Voice/tone and personality are possibly the most important aspect of a mascot’s social media presence. The personality on social media should reflect the personality of the mascot on the field. “If this mascot could talk, he/she would say ____.”

I love this post by Cocky, the mascot of the University of South Carolina. This speaks to his personality as a mascot, and it makes him real. I would expect to see something like this posted by one of my friends, not my university’s mascot. And that’s what makes it so great.

Goldy the Gopher’s humor KILLS me. His caption for this photo: “Lazy days with a good book #LiveLaughLove.” The amount of “extra” in this post is so perfect. His social media personality is 👌

Be relevant

Mascots are, in a way, ageless on social media. They need to stay up-to-date with trends and slang because they are, after all, like another student on campus.

I have to give it up to Goldy the Gopher again with this example. The caption is: “How’s your Monday going?” Me:

Here’s a little Boomerang action from Aubie the Tiger.

Let your fans help you do the work

Every mascot is very familiar with selfies. Whenever CAM the Ram goes into public, there’s a line of people waiting to take a picture with him. Where do they post those pictures? Social media, of course. And some of the photos are pretty hilarious. When content is slow, share curated content.

For example, Hokie shared this photo a fan took of him doing yoga. (Also 😂  so funny.)

When I thought about this takeaway, this photo of CAM immediately came to mind. A fan shared this photo using the caption, “Avoiding Monday like,” and I knew it was the perfect curated content to share on a slow Monday.

Get your two-legged and four-legged mascots together for a picture

Mascots are popular enough on their own. But when you pair them with a puppy, celebrity, or live mascot you’ve got social media gold.

For example, Aubie hanging out with “mini-me.” (I know you just stared at this tiger cub for longer than you’d like to admit. Me, too.)

Or find celebrities

Or Mike the Tiger with Brad Paisley. (I stared even longer at this one 😉)

Whenever we get two- and four-legged CAMs together, his fans ❤️  it. We also make a point to always try  to get CAM in on a picture with every celeb who visits campus.

Interact with other mascots and poke fun at rivalries

Did anyone else notice the massive mascot conversation on Twitter that began when @TheOregonDuck casually asked Goldy if he wanted to get pizza? Slowly, a ton of mascots jumped in to help organize the pizza party. (I particularly love the casual voice of the Duck. It makes him so hilarious.)

Mike the Tiger is particularly talented at poking fun at rivalries. There’s a fine line between “poking fun” and taking it too far. But I think Mike does a great job at keeping it light.

And if you’re running social media accounts for TWO mascots

Bless you.

Want more? Read this guy’s blog

Bill Zimmerman is the social media manager at Penn State University AND the voice of his school mascot – the Nittany Lion – on Twitter. He’s got a lot of good stuff to say about building a strategy for university mascots.

Find his blog here.

Oh, how could I forget CAM?

I don’t want to minimize all the work we’ve done for CAM the Ram on social media, because CAM’s got it going on.

Who can forget the time CAM sang a parody of Adele’s “Hello?”

It might seem strange that our social media team manages CAM the Ram on social. Wouldn’t the mascots handle his social media? Yes, and they do (too). We work with two-legged CAM and four-legged CAM’s Ram Handlers every week to produce content for CAM. Not to mention, we have help from two talented folks in our PR office and the President’s office. Don’t take it all on yourself if you don’t have to.

If you’d like to follow CAM on social: @CSUCamTheRam on Instagram, Snapchat and of course TwitterFacebook

Other (non-university) mascots to follow

Here’s a list of other brand mascots who are great to follow for inspiration.