A report from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University highlighted social media marketing campaigns helping collegiate athletic programs.

The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University reported that collegiate athletics have adopted social media marketing as a modern method of increasing fan and alumni engagement. The strategy is proving effective in generating ticket sales, so marketers (and sports fans) should take note.

According to the report, most schools have turned to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to post content that provides information straight from coaches, administrators and players, while also increasing interest in teams various sporting events. Like any good social strategy, these schools’ campaigns rely on engaging, industry-specific content marketing to drive social buzz.

Social media marketing has been especially effective for collegiate athletics as budgets shrink in the wake of financial constraints. With funding decreasing, most universities are redirecting money to academics, operations and other critical areas. Social content provides athletic departments with less expensive outreach options that fans enjoying consuming and engaging, Medill reports.

“Schools are using technology to get aggressive in terms of their campaigns, really finding that it is cost effective, seeing that there is a quick rate of return in terms of folks’ interest, feedback and responses,” Jamie DiLoreto, president of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administration and associate athletic director at Boston College, told Medill.

The study focused heavily on successful social media marketing campaigns launched by Boston College, Louisiana State University and Duke University. Uploading video to YouTube and sharing the links through Facebook and Twitter allows athletic departments to engage, entertain and informs fans. Additionally, calls to action offering ticket packages and other deals can boost exposure and attendance to events.

Professional sports have also been active in their use of social media marketing to drive fan engagement. National Hockey League teams, for example, frequently use Twitter to raffle tickets to games and memorabilia. Most of the proceeds to these raffles goes to various charitable endeavors launched by professional clubs.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.