The combination of a victory over Mississippi State and the work of University of Arkansas graphic and video staff helped the Hogs’ social-media numbers blow up during the Oct. 2-4 weekend.
The Razorbacks had three of the top five performing tweets in all of college football, and they had the top Instagram follower growth in FBS football along with having 1.4 million total video views. The Hogs had a combined audience of almost 74,000 for Arkansas athletes on Instagram.
Cody Vincent, assistant director of recruiting and graphic designer, produced the highly popular graphic that played off Mississippi State Coach Mike Leach’s “Pirate” nickname.
The graphic showed Coach Sam Pittman wearing a Hog eye patch with a sword in hand. A pirate ship in flames in the background sported a Mississippi State flag with the words “No Quarter” above Pittman.
The graphic was tweeted out 22 minutes after the end of the game, and it now has more than 1,500 retweets and 9,100 likes.
Brooks Cockrell, assistant director of football video and creative media, rolled out the “Do we believe?” video 36 minutes after the game. The video has accumulated more than 331,000 views on Twitter.
Lead graphic designer Trent Daniel produced the “It has been zero days since our last SEC win” tweet that was posted at 9:58 p.m., the official ending time of the Mississippi State game. The tweet now has more than 2,400 retweets and more than 8,500 likes on Twitter.
The graphics and video were also posted on Instagram.
Arkansas executive director of recruiting Joshua Thompson praised Vincent, Cockrell and Daniel’s planning and creativity, along with assistant director of digital strategy Racheal Harris, who schedules Arkansas’ social-media content.
“There’s a plan in place, and they do an awesome job of taking ownership of it,” Thompson said. “We’re just really, really lucky to have them.”
The weekend numbers give a small sampling of Arkansas’ ability to promote athletes on social media.
“When you come to the University of Arkansas, you’re playing for the entire state,” Thompson said. “You’re not just playing for Austin, Texas, or playing for College Station, Texas. You don’t have competition of other Power 5 football programs.”
The NCAA Division I Council introduced legislation to allow athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness last week, and it is expected to be approved at the NCAA Convention in January.
“As coach says all the time, this is a very … proud state,” Thompson said. “The message we want recruits to know, you come to the University of Arkansas you have a real opportunity to set yourself up for the betterment of your life after football and your life during football.”
The Hogs constantly promote Razorback players in an effort to help build their brand once the NCAA approves athletes being able to profit off their name, image and likeness.
“First and foremost, we make sure we take great care of our current guys in making sure they have the platform they need to be able to promote themselves, and that’s not something our head coach shies away from at all,” Thompson said. “He’s embracing it. He’s embracing the opportunities they’ll have once this is all passed because it’s not passed yet, but it will be.”
Arkansas is determined to put place a plan to help current Razorbacks and future Hogs promote their brand while in Fayetteville.
“Coach Pittman is going to ensure we’re the best at it,” Thompson said. “He’s emphasized before how proud this state is. He’s going to emphasize you’re at the big show. If you decide to come to the University of Arkansas, you’re the main ticket, you’re the main attraction, and when it comes to branding you’re going to have the opportunity to have a lot of eyes on you in this state and a lot of people support you.”
The Arkansas Razorback Football Twitter and Instagram accounts tag the Hogs’ athletes when posting on the two social-media platforms.
“That way they can get more followers,” Thompson said. “Something that people say all the time when it comes to social media is the more followers you have the more influence you have.”
Thompson is eager to point out how the staff’s graphics and videos promote current Razorbacks and are a big help in recruiting.
“That Instagram growth and being the the top program in Instagram growth doesn’t happen without that footage, without the graphics,” Thompson said. “Having three of the top performing tweets in all of college football doesn’t happen without them brainstorming and putting their ideas on paper and having them come to fruition.”
Email Richard Davenport at [email protected]