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UC Irvine Enters Ranks of Social Media Elite with New Command Center

Posted by Stephanie Kubas on 3/5/13 10:00 PM
Topics: social media

The following excerpt is from the article UC-Irvine Athletics Launches Social Media Command Center written by Chris Syme, author of Listen, Engage, Respond, and published on Although the article pertains to an Athletics department, college stores can take note of several strategies that could be put to use in their store, including fan photo promotions, the integration of reward programs into social media and more.

In an effort to harness and utilize the power of social media, UC Irvine Athletics has announced the launching of the Zot Com social media command center.

Inspired by several high-profile social media command centers such as Gatorade’s and the New Jersey Devils’ “Mission Control” centers, as well as Oregon’s Quack Cave, the Zot Com command center coordinates UCI Athletics’ social media efforts across its website, 17 Facebook pages, eight Twitter feeds, two Instagram accounts and official YouTube channel.

Located in the lobby of the Mesa Office Building, the center features three 47-inch TV screens and three 30-inch monitors powered by four computers that follow UC Irvine’s sports-related content across a range of platforms.

Five undergraduate students man the Zot Com center and are tasked with engaging UCI’s athletic fan base, monitoring the Anteater programs’ presence in cyberspace as well as helping to create unique content that connects UCI Athletics with the campus and community. Working with full-time members of the Media Relations and Marketing staffs, the student interns provide detailed reports that are used in shaping social media strategies and messaging for the department. The interns also are responsible for identifying athletic advocates, monitoring advances in social media as well as proposing new tools and practices to be integrated into the current workflow.

UCI Athletics has recently partnered with Tickr to filter the web for mentions of the Anteaters, organize them on a timeline, and display it all on a single page. Tickr has partnered with major brands such as PepsiCo Gatorade to build social media command centers and activate social media promotions.

“This helps us to engage with our fans and build a stronger community,” said Robby Ray, assistant athletic director. “If someone tweets about Peter the Anteater, or if people share an image of Leonardo DiCaprio wearing a UCI baseball cap as he did a few years ago, it will be on display in our center. Then, we can grab it in real time and share it with our fan base.”

UCI has also launched a program, “Eaters all Win” powered by row27, that rewards Anteater fans for their social media support. Fans earn points for posting content about UC Irvine sports on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, buying tickets to events and donating to the Anteater Athletic Fund. On game days, fan photos can be sent in to “UC Irvine Fan Photo” and points are awarded if their picture is displayed on the video board. Points from the rewards program are then used to claim Anteater memorabilia and prizes. Soon to be added to the prize store are unique fan experiences available only to “Eaters all Win” registrants.

“We want to energize our fans,” said Ray. “In this digital age, it’s important to recognize and reward those who not only support us by attending our events, but who are digital advocates for the Anteaters as well.”

Who manages your store's social media presence: students, staff, interns? Tell us about your strategy in the comments section.

About Stephanie Kubas

Stephanie was our former MBS Marketing Communications Manager. She helped Foreword Online evolve from simple reposts from other industry-related sites, to original content sourced directly from our college stores. Although she no longer writes for Foreword Online, it still holds a special place in her heart.

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