Marketing Mondays with Molly

Marketing Mondays with Molly: Social Media Marketing

Social Media for Collegiate Water Ski Teams

Social media is a great way to stay connected to students and alumni. Nearly ¾ of Millennials (ages 19-32) are more influenced in their buying decisions by social media recommendations than TV ads (WebMarketingPros, 2016) Teams should be active on social media year round, keeping with their professional team brand image, in accordance with NCWSA policy. -Positive, Active, Fun, and Appropriate



79% of people ages 18-25 use Facebook (Pew Research Center, 2016). This is a great place to be searched, share and tag pictures, and be tagged in posts by teammates.

According to Facebook expert and author Mikal Belicove, creating a Facebook Page has many benefits, including:

  • Establishing another brand-building web presence
  • Improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Connecting directly with potential, current & former “fans”
  • Listening and observing (research on best times to post, most engagement)
  • Keep pace with the competition
  • Drive traffic to a website
  • Easy and free engagement with community

Some helpful hints on how to get the best from Facebook come from Blaise Lucey at Constant Contact (2012) and include:

  • Sharing behind the scenes footage of events
  • Using tabs effectively (About, Photos, etc)
  • Collect research via polls or surveys
  • Show results of your efforts
  • Share information from like-minded organization (IE. NCWSA or USA Water Ski)
  • Share testimonials
  • Share awards
  • Post invitations to events
  • Include news or legislation that impacts your cause
  • Provide links to press coverage

Nonprofit Tech for Good (2015) also recommends:

  • Quality graphic design for profile picture, timeline cover and tabs
  • Turn on ‘similar page suggestions’ to increase your likes
  • Post on Saturday and Sunday mornings using the native scheduling function
  • Prioritize posting photos over posting links
  • Add an address to your page to add Facebook Location
  • Make sure the Facebook icon appears on your website and flyers (or other communications)
  • Experiment with Facebook Events.  

Y&R found that 40 characters is the ideal length for a Facebook post, and that posting 1-5 times/month (Forbes, 2016) can double clicks-per-post, driving traffic to site. Posts at 1 pm get the most shares, while posts at 3 pm get the most likes. Activity levels are pretty steady throughout the workday and evening commute (9 am to 7 pm), and early morning also works well. (Social Media Week, 2016).


University of Wisconsin-Madison uses their Facebook page to share events and connect with new members.


75% of Instagram users take action after viewing an Instagram advertisement (Hootsuite, 2016) such as visiting a website, watching a video, or signing up for more information.

Instagram Stories feature surpassed 100 million daily active users in just two months. This which videos you see first are not based on algorithms, any follower will see this as it posts. As well, Instagram sends notifications to followers when live videos are being broadcast.

Top brands post about 5x per week, and never more than 3x per day

60% of top brands use the same filter every time. Try and establish a theme for your posts so they are recognizable, consistent and cohesive.  

Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6 percent more engagement than those without, according to a study by Simply Measured.

Follow your fellow NCWSA and regional teams on Instagram for some follow-backs

University of California-Los Angeles has engaging and fun pictures, with lots of hashtags to reach a larger audience in Instagram Discovery.



Twitter is used by 24% of Millennials (Pew Research Center, 2016). While usage varies by location (urban areas more likely to use than non), this is a fun way to engage other teams, and excite people during a live event. Use to post scores and updates at a tournaments, celebrate personal bests, and let other students know what’s going on with on-campus events.

Clemson University worked with the Clemson Water Ski Team to harness the reach of trending hashtag #Baywatch (from the recent movie release), to gain attention. It was also a great way to show off the boat and some school pride!



72% of Millennials are active on Snapchat (Hootsuite, 2016).

With new “Our Story” or “Groups” features, snapchat is a fun way to engage your audience, and keep people connected. Both internal groups and an external messaging team account are great for keeping communication flowing to members and followers. While there are limits on group sizes, Snapchat has recently expanded to allow more people per group, from 16 to now 32!

At WMU we use Snapchat to send videos of people’s progress at the lake, and of course have fun with bitmojis. You can also make a team account to show off to others.


79% of Tinder users are Millennials

73% of college students ranked Tinder as their favorite dating app according to datingsitesreviews, (2016.)

This was my idea after I was using Tinder and kept trying to recruit matches to the team from my personal account. I started a team account and was able to target both men and women by switching gender label and preferences. Using a location based app, you are able to target people on or near campus, maximizing efforts to reach students. Surfing and skiing pictures are found to be the most right-swiped pictures, so show off your gnar and get some matches. Here, its best to use multiple people without showing a face (so people don’t swipe thinking it’s a person), or group photos. Be very clear that you are a collegiate team, and get clever with your “About Me” copy! As we are still finding the best way to use this new media, feel free to reach out to me (Molly) with any questions on how to start one!

Western Michigan University, as well as first year team Central Michigan University used Tinder this past spring to reach out to people. It reached a new audience that didn’t before know about the collegiate team, and if the people we matched with weren’t interested, they often we able to connect us with someone who was! CMU doubled their team size with Tinder additions.


85% of Millennial Zs ages use Youtube to stream videos (Beaver and Boland, 2015) due to its ease of accessibility on any device with internet connectivity. Post videos of the team, and share them on social media accounts! Having a team account is best as all your videos can be kept in one place, while team members come and go. Here it is searchable on Youtube and google, and once you watch one video, you can find many more for new recruits or sponsors to get a good idea of what your team is all about.

YouTube advice from Search Engine Watch (2013) and Forbes (2012) include:

  • Video content should be shareable, informative, engaging and entertaining
  • Video naming is important: be creative, but informative, to entice, not mislead, the audience
  • Videos need to be tagged to enhance searchability
  • Diversified content is important: share both events, success stories, behind the scenes and other relevant content with multiple audiences
  • Creating playlists of related content for specific audience segments
  • Make sure all videos have a call to action at the end, and upload closed captioning to ensure understanding by all

Florida Southern College posted a recap of their Nationals trip. This generated a lot of views and shares. 


Group Chats

Group chats a great for internal messaging with the team. We use GroupMe, but there is also Whatsapp, Slack, Facebook Messenger and more. Using web-based apps mean people can access the information from their computer, and messages aren’t affected when using different phone brands (IE: imessage vs. android) Keeping to a positive team image, try to keep group chats welcoming and accessible to all members. Tag members in posts, send funny gifs, and let everyone know when the boat is going out, or when a team bonding event is coming up.

“All I want to do is Waterski” is a group chat for team members of University of Michigan, Michigan State, Grand Valley State University, Western Michigan University, and Central Michigan University to get together and ski over the summer, as teammates may be spread out across the state. This is part of an initiative created by MCWSA Team Recruitment Chairman David Huisman (WMU) for teams to share resources within the state.


Read last week’s post about General Team Marketing Tips, and tune in for next week’s Marketing Mondays with Molly: Public Relations and Community Outreach.


*Updated 9.19.17



Molly Voska

Former Marketing Director of Western Michigan Waterski, MCWSA Membership and NCWSA Marketing. #TeamMidwest