Word of mouth has expanded our League in the biggest way, more than any other form. As much as we’ve focused on recruiting, nothing’s as strong as getting a friend at another school to form a dodgeball team so you can school them on the court in an NCDA match. Social media has put this whole thing online, but we’re not doing nearly enough to take advantage of some free publicity.
Hashtags? How do they work? I sat down with former DePaul Dodgeball Societeer Klaire Randall to find out.
Magnets Hashtags? How do they work?
KR: Create a standardized hashtag for Nationals. Should be something self-explanatory like #NCDANationals2017, #Nationals2k17, or #DodgeballNationals. Announce it on the league and event page and encourage all players, spectators, and livestreamers to use the hashtag to document the tournament. This allows people to browse posts all in one place. If you don’t want the social/drunk side of nationals being broadcasted, consider using two hashtags. One for the tournament and one (along the lines of #DrinkingAndDodging) for outside antics. That being said, there’s no real way to stop people for using whatever hashtag they want. If you don’t have a problem with potentially inappropriate content using the official hashtag, I’d stick with just one.
ZM: God, i’m getting old. Ya fave treasurer Mike is all about snapchat and was all over it during Nationals 2016. Hunter Ford [VCU] suggested taking advantage of Snapchat with a special filter.
KR: With a little bit of planning and graphic design work, Snapchat will let you make custom geo-filters for events that individuals within a certain location can attach to their photos and videos. Submitting one of these for the gym would be a fun way for players and spectators to share the events with their friends. The submission form for geofilters is online and doesn’t take any insider knowledge with Team Snapchat to apply.
ZM: Holy cow I can mock up a template like that! I am useful!
KR: You can even create an official NCDA league snapchat account to post stories to. This would function like a hybrid between our live stream and our Twitter account, giving updates in the form of short videos. It could be used year-round to document other tournaments and events.
ZM: More work. I’ll push that on somebody else. Great idea though. Mike’ll like it.
KR: I don’t really know the logistics of this BUT Snapchat often has live stories for events (i.e. Coachella Day 2 or the Arm Wrestling World Series). It’s possible that we could team-up with snapchat to host a Dodgeball Nationals Live story that players and fans in the vicinity can submit their snap pics and vids to. I believe snapchat then curates this content to create the most interesting/ appropriate story. Live stories can be seen by everyone with the snapchat app and can get millions of views. This would be the most difficult execution to pull off, but would have an unparalleled payoff for the league.
ZM: We’ve been using Livestream for a little bit, but there are some issues with it. What about Facebook Live? The feature just rolled out publicly prior to #Nationals2k16.
KR: I’d consider using Facebook Live as the NCDA’s main streaming site. This year, FB live videos averaged at around 300 viewers (as many as 50 of those in real time). I’m not sure how many views we got on Livestream because that site is REALLY difficult to figure out. Streaming on Facebook will make it easier for families and others to follow along with the action (no extra accounts to make) and will also push more fans to the NCDA Facebook page. As this is Facebook’s newest feature, it’s likely that it will evolve in the next year. Let’s keep an eye on it.
ZM: NPR certainly blows up my notifications with live posts. It’s interesting. Right now there’s no easy way to download the video, which sucks trying to take it and put it on YouTube for posterity. LiveStream also only exports video in a tiny 380p or something.
KR: I have one more idea. NCDA X Smashmouth: Convince the popular 90s band Smashmouth to sponsor the “All Star Game” (if a rookie game is in consideration, call it the “Shooting Stars” match). Have Smashmouth play a live show on Friday night and then sing the National Anthem on Saturday morning. They’ll probably tweet about it or something. It’ll be cool. Shrek might be there.
Klaire (former DePaul #00) is a copywriter/social media guru living in Chicago, Illinois. She enjoys tiki drinks, free pizza, and spending time with her cat, Fidel Catstro.
Free advice is the best. Thanks Klaire!