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Xavier Athletics stays ahead of the game with Rival IQ

Xavier Athletics

Patrick Dillon took over the marketing responsibilities for Xavier Athletics in the summer of 2014. One of the first tools he added to assist with social media efforts was Rival IQ. With a team of over a dozen contributors across marketing and communications, it’s critical to see the full picture and effect of their collective efforts. “With Rival IQ, we save significant time that we previously spent creating reports manually. The automated reporting feature enables us to prove the value our social media efforts bring to our marketing mix.”

“We were able to capitalize on the team’s success by posting opportunistic content as well as content relevant to our fans from media outlets,” said Dillon.

The nature of all their social media activity is highly cyclical – not only involving the school year, but also the seasons of each athletic program. As Xavier continues to separate itself as one of the country’s premier Division I college basketball programs, naturally basketball is a major focus, driving a significant portion of their overall engagement.

Dillon, along with athletic communications coordinator Brendan Bergen, focused on improving engagement rates. By looking back at the previous year, they could see the more quality posts they created, the better the engagement rates. So instead of waiting for the hype of March Madness, their team focused on increasing the frequency as well as correctly using more hashtags.

Xavier Athletic's Macy's Day Parade Post on Instagram

While the 2014-2015 season was successful, excitement was mounting around the 2015-2016 season. “We were able to capitalize on the team’s success by posting opportunistic content as well as content relevant to our fans from media outlets,” said Dillon. “While our basketball team’s success was the impetus for our sustained engagement, we executed on that with our content strategy.” Because Rival IQ allowed them to analyze and identify what content type is most engaging, Xavier was able to increase engagement by 150% compared to last year’s basketball season and a 225% average increase over the course of 5 months.

Xavier Athletics increased their social engagement by 150% with Rival IQ
As one of over a dozen colleges in Cincinnati, Xavier doesn’t depend on area media outlets to inform their fans of activities. Fans come to them for information on games, previews, and more content – all through social media. Educating fans are one of the highest priorities for Xavier Athletics. They expect Xavier’s social accounts to have the most up-to-date and critical
information.For Dillon, it’s important to measure their successes against their peers in the Big East conference. Xavier Athletics uses Rival IQ to track the activities and content of other schools identifying ways in which they can perform better. Adding data to the conversation is critical.

For Dillon, it’s important to measure their successes against their peers in the Big East conference. Xavier Athletics uses Rival IQ to track the activities and content of other schools identifying ways in which they can perform better. Adding data to the conversation is critical.Xavier’s engagement rate about the student body population outperforms all others in the Big East. At 2.5 engagements per student, they’ve far exceeded the competition with the closest being Providence with 1.6 per a student. The average across the rest of the Big East? Only .74 per a student. They’re out playing them by over 300%.

Xavier Athletics surpasses the Big East in Social Engagement [Graph]

Xavier’s engagement rate about the student body population outperforms all others in the Big East. At 2.5 engagements per student, they’ve far exceeded the competition with the closest college being Providence with 1.6 engagements per student. The average across the rest of the Big East? Only 0.74 engagements per student. They’re outplaying them by over 300%!

“We make engagement a priority on our social media, with a lean toward shareable content,” said Dillon.

Xavier credits this to a focus on shareable content. “We make engagement a priority on our social media, with a lean toward shareable content,” said Dillon. The department oversees about 40 different social accounts – so it’s even more critical to maintain consistency, not only in voice but also the visuals. With Rival IQ’s robust reporting capabilities, Dillon can ensure that consistency is happening, even when he isn’t directly responsible for the execution.

Adding Rival IQ to their mix was a no-brainer. Xavier has been able to save hours of tedious manual work pulling together data and creating reports. Like all organizations, Xavier Athletics understands that social media is critical to their success. But for them, outperforming their competition is in their blood.

About Cassandra Schwartz

Cassandra joins us from Seattle-based Front Desk, where she was a product marketing manager focusing on product, brand, and communications needs. Prior to Front Desk, Cassandra worked for Microsoft in a number of roles, including time with Xbox working on partner engagement.

Outside of work, Cassandra keeps extraordinarily active. She's active in the community and started a peer-mentoring program based in Seattle. As an avid hiker, Cassandra refuses to NOT make it to the top, no matter the obstacle. According to her son, these never-say-die Northwest hikes are a favorite way to spend time with his mom.

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