Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University Athletics Department's online social media marketing efforts were recently recognized among the nation's best as part of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) 2012-13 "Best of Award Winners".
FSU Athletics' highly-successful #BulldogSummer Social Media Blitz, which took place last summer, earned a bronze award in group III for interactive/social media program. The winners in the highly competitive process were recognized during NACMA's Annual Convention at the awards ceremony last week in Orlando where all NCAA divisions were represented.
Initiated in 2003, the NACMA Best of Awards program honors outstanding achievement in marketing and promotions. Awards are presented in 13 categories, with each category divided into three groups based upon school size and conference affiliations. An association record of more than 1,000 awards entries were received for the 2012-13 year.
"It's exciting to see our focus on social media and online content recognized as one of the leaders in collegiate athletics," said FSU Associate Athletics Director Jon Coles. "It's a tremendous honor for our external operations team and we're looking forward to continuing to keep Bulldog Athletics ahead of the curve."
FSU's two-month "Bulldog Social Summer" ran last July and August leading up to the Bulldog Football program's season opener at St. Francis (Ill.) a year ago. It afforded fans an opportunity to talk with other Bulldog fans online, win prizes and have fun while keeping up with the Bulldogs on various social media platforms.
Aptly named #BulldogSummer, the plan featured different interactive components each day via twitter, facebook and an all-new FerrisStateBulldogs.com, which debuted during the initiative. In a day and age where social media and video are prominent among sports coverage, FSU was able to integrate these tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, both in the social media initiative along with the redesigned website.
In an ever-growing manner, FSU's current athletics "likes" on facebook is more than four other NCAA Division I schools in the state of Michigan along with more than 13 fellow Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) counterparts. The Bulldogs have also made an effort to significantly increase followers over the past two years on various other platforms such as Twitter while establishing an email database that continues to grow.
Additionally, since its launch in August of 2009, FerrisStateBulldogs.com has served nearly four million visitors from all 50 states and nearly every country around the world. Those visitors have combined for more than 200 million hits, making the interactive site among the best in intercollegiate athletics.
"We thankful Bulldog fans have continued to enjoy the new site and the unique features we've added across our many platforms," said Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Rob Bentley. "We're excited to continue to help the Bulldog Nation find all the information they need and want in an interactive way."
As evidenced by the NACMA honor, the Bulldogs' social media efforts have received strong reviews from colleagues around the country.
"I was very impressed with Ferris State's summer social media campaign," said Dan Heck, a Big Rapids native who serves as the Assistant Director of Marketing & New Media at the University of Arizona. "It included a number of unique features and the Throwback Thursday concept along with daily trivia questions involved were innovative concepts."
FSU's external operations team plays an active role in publicizing and promoting the Bulldogs' 17 varsity athletic teams under the director of Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger. Coles directs the marketing and gameday efforts while Bentley oversees the athletics communications area, which includes media relations, multimedia, broadcasting, social media and more.
In addition, Dominic Hennig serves as the department's Athletics Communications Associate and assists in the coordinaton of video, broadcast and social media operations. The staff also includes several student interns throughout the year.
This year's NACMA Award is the latest for the FSU Athletics, which has also received recognition in years past in various other categories including video and poster design. Presently, the Bulldogs maintain active social media accounts on a wide range of platforms such as facebook, twitter, youtube, instagram, pinterest and more.
NACMA is the first organization of its kind to provide educational and networking opportunities, enhancement of acceptable operating standards and ethic along with establishment of the overall prestige and understanding of the profession of athletics marketing administrators.
NACMA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Now in its 48th year, NACDA is the professional and educational association for more than 6,500 college athletics administrators at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 2,300 athletics administrators annually attend the NACDA Convention. Additionally, NACDA administers 13 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, including NACMA and the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Ferris State Athletics recenlty placed among the nation's top 10% of more than 300 NCAA Division II institutions for all-sports success during the 2012-13 campaign. FSU also secured a top-five finish for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons and the 36th time overall in the GLIAC President's Trophy standings this year as nine Bulldog teams had representation in the NCAA Tournament.
Stay tuned to FerrisStateBulldogs.com for FSU's second annual "Bulldog Social Summer" coming this July.