One of the more surprising results from week one of the college football season came when Georgia State, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, walked into the University of Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium and walked out with a 38-30 victory.
One group that wasn’t surprised, though, was Georgia State’s athletic department, particularly its external marketing and social media teams.
According to Forbes, Georgia State not only had plans to print up t-shirts marking the upset ahead of time, they had plans to make sure their social media team could make the most out the victory when it indeed came.
Forbes reports that the t-shirt was licensed on Tuesday ahead of the game. The digital marketing team reportedly called in the score — 38-23 — with one minute remaining in the game before Tennessee scored a late touchdown, but after a quick scramble they were able to print up the shirts with the correct final score.
Apart from t-shirts, the digital marketing team took its own vehicle to Knoxville so they wouldn’t be bound by the team’s schedule following the game in the event of an upset. They reportedly stayed in the UT media room for hours after the team had departed, using social media to get the word out on the big win.
Will Owens, who heads Georgia State athletics digital marketing, told Forbes that since the win, GSU earned:
- 2.5 million impressions on its social media accounts
- 1,300 new followers and 1.9 million impressions on its football Twitter account
- A 788 percent increase in mentions on its athletic department Twitter account vs. the previous month
- An 800 percent increase in engagement on the GSU Athletics Facebook page
Whether all those likes and retweets translate into something more tangible remains to be seen — but regardless the victory, for which the University of Tennessee paid GSU $950,000, certainly put the Panthers on the social media map.