With video highlights, features and interviews on YouTube, regular posts on Facebook and a variety of news and notes being sent out on Twitter, the Charlotte 49ers athletic department is used to using social media to promote its athletic program.
Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing Nick Konawalik took it one step further as he devised his ad campaign to promote the football team's inaugural season of 2013, which is now less than a year away.
Hoping to capture that attention of football fans during this fall football season, Konawalik unleashed a campaign that included a TV commercial spot, print and web ads and billboards promoting "One City. One Team. One Year Away."
Included in the billboard campaign is the use of three digital billboards that, unlike traditional billboards, could be altered on a daily basis.
So Konawalik took to twitter.
He asked fans to tweet their thoughts about the 49ers football program.
"What does 49ers football mean to you?"
"What will 49ers Game Day look like?"
"What are you most looking forward to?"
The fans tweet back using "#Kickoff2013" and Konawalik posts one of the responses on the digital billboard the next day at the locations at highway 29 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, on I-85 at Statesville Rd and at I-85 and Billy Graham.
The program, which will run through Oct. 12, allows engaged fans to profess their pride in the program and become an active part of the ad campaign with their tweet and twitter handle displayed on billboards. In addition, those that see the billboards will be exposed to what other fans are saying about the 49ers program. In the meantime, the program creates a daily buzz on twitter.
"We felt the digital boards were a great and unique opportunity for us to hear from our fans and share their message," Konawalik said. "These are people here in Charlotte and beyond that bleed green and can tell their story, explaining why they are among the 49ers faithful, as well as what bringing a Division I college football program to Charlotte means to them and our young institution."
Going the extra mile, the marketing staff takes a picture of the day's billboard and posts it on twitter to reinforce the impact for those that participate while reaching out for fresh responses for the next day.
"We have received a tremendous number of responses, which speaks to the excitement around the inaugural season, and have received comments from across the sports industry regarding the use of social media in the campaign and the opportunity for fans to share the story of Charlotte 49ers football as they see it," Konawalik added.
The billboard campaign complements a multi-media effort that includes television advertising that has been seen, in particular, on ESPN's Monday Night Football.
The ad, produced in-house by Media Production Coordinator AJ Mead, employs imagery of the key icons that the 49ers have been using to promote the program: head coach Brad Lambert, the helmet and the football stadium. In addition, it begins introducing players who are in their first season of practicing in preparation for the inaugural season. All images bring the program to life while pointing out that the first year is getting closer and closer.
The television spot was aired through Time Warner Cable in their North Charlotte area, which encompasses a large part of Mecklenburg County, along with the Rowan, Cabarrus and Stanly area. It kicked off with ads being run during college football games on September 15 and made a splash during the September 17 Monday Night football contest between Atlanta and Denver. The ad will continue to run on ESPN, ESPN2, News14, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network through September 30.