NYU Athletics Can Learn From Trump


Via twitter.com

The NYU Women’s Basketball Twitter account consistently updates about the team, including when they walked for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Miguel de Laveaga, Contributing Writer

While NYU is not known as an athletic school — a reputation that precedes itself both online and on campus — the NYU athletic department still attracts many fans, and the school continues to make a push for its online following, especially on Twitter. Hence, the almost athletic effort NYU invests into social media accounts is akin to the effort required to play a sport.

But Twitter’s popularity is increasingly difficult in today’s fake news world, where many people consider what they read online to be dubious. Many sites dedicate themselves to correcting people’s misinformation, but the accessibility of reliable online news is difficult
to maintain.

Twitter feeds into that problem by reinforcing a strict limit of 140 characters or less per post — also known as a tweet — that centers around quick and easy information. This short form limits users to incomplete thoughts that convey ambiguous or confusing messages.

And there is no better example than our newly inaugurated president, Donald Trump, who tweets from his @realDonaldTrump account, as well as select tweets from the @POTUS account, with a following of over 20 million people.

Trump sends Twitter blasts multiple times a day, which frequently contain messages that make it easy for both supporters and critics to share, comment and retweet. These messages are then covered by news outlets, which help him reach millions more people.

But beneath the business, political and popularity objectives evident in Trump’s tweets, for those seeking a larger following, there are effective social media strategies underlying his strange Twitter habits.

Ever since 2011, Trump has posted regularly from his account and has not gone a week without tweeting. His consistency and regularity proves that in the confusion that is Twitter — with more than 300 million users and an even greater avalanche of tweets — you have to set yourself apart by building an audience through regular tweeting.

Although this is a simple trick, NYU sports’ Twitter accounts can learn from this. Surveying these various Twitter accounts, those with more posts also have a larger following. Women’s basketball, men’s hockey and the main athletics account are among the most active, and they consistently remain engaged with a variety of tactics, such as tweeting live updates.

These pages have hundreds of followers and garner many retweets and likes, while some of their dormant counterparts have much less engagement and have seen almost no activity within the past year.

Another way NYU could grow its following is to strengthen its branding and to keep its content consistent. Similar to his habit of calling many things “sad,” Trump also repeatedly used “great,” lightweight,” and “nasty” on his Twitter feed throughout the election cycle. While he is not the first to use this technique, it is effective in curating shareable and recognizable content.

While using him as an example does not mean NYU Twitter accounts should turn towards using controversial language and negative terms to describe people, things and situations, it could create an internal, uniform dictionary of terms. One easy example would be to reference a player consistently as an “MVP” rather than switching from “best player” to “star,” which gives the audience a keyword to find.

Assistant Swimming Coach Hank Browning operates an active Twitter account, and he thinks that it presents many outlets to grow a following.

“Twitter is an appropriate way of giving and getting instant feedback from both a receiving and giving end,” Browning said. “Instant information is a positive thing, and that includes NYU swimming and Twitter.”

By increasing feedback and interaction, NYU sports’ Twitter accounts can strengthen audience engagement by running polls, replying to tweets and hosting giveaways. This instant gratification method will incentivize people to follow the Twitter accounts and promote the teams to students and
fans alike.

Twitter is an effective way to send messages, grow a following and solidify a brand, so with such a solid tool at hand, NYU Athletics has a great opportunity to reach both old and new fans.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Jan. 23 print edition. Email Miguel de Laveaga at [email protected].