At the base of every social media post is content. Whether through text, images, or videos, brands use social media to try to convey a message to their audience.
The challenge for brands is figuring out how to engage their audience. Even the most intriguing video can go unseen in the endless scroll of social media. So, as a brand, how can you get fans to view and interact with your content?
Let’s use a simple metaphor- the ice cream cone. Envision two cones of chocolate ice cream, sitting side-by-side. One is simply a scoop of ice cream in a cone. The other is piled high with toppings: sprinkles, hot fudge, whipped cream, and all you can imagine. Which would you choose? The answer is obvious.
This is the effect well-placed graphics can have on a social media post. When a brand uses a strong graphic or adds a visual effect, it can draw attention to the post and garner more fan interest, leading to increased engagement.
1. Relating to a Trend
If you’re not an avid fan, golf can be… less-than-relatable. So how can networks like Golf TV relate to the masses? Easy, by seamlessly integrating one of the most popular film franchises ever into regular highlights and participating in or creating a cool trend. This neon visual effect is a classic way to parodize pop culture and give a simple sports highlight new life. Check it out:
— GOLFTV (@GOLFTV) May 4, 2021
2. Adding Some Context
Sometimes, one tweet simply isn’t enough. For videos where more context is necessary, it can be beneficial to add a secondary tweet as a graphic overlay. For example, check out this tweet from Purdue Football that utilizes a graphic overlay to give background information without detracting from the main news.
More Moore! 🙌🎉
— Purdue On BTN (@PurdueOnBTN) September 24, 2020
3. Attention-Grabbing Subtitles
Take a look at this play by Mookie Betts that was posted on the MLB’s Twitter account. The highlight runs first, followed by conversations captured between Mookie and various players on the opposing team. The video runs around one minute long, far longer than the attention span of the average Twitter user, and yet, it accumulated almost 70 thousand views; this is credited to the use of subtitles during Mookie’s conversations. Subtitles are a clever way to keep fans’ eyes on the content for much longer while providing a new perspective that you normally don’t get with highlights.
— MLB (@MLB) June 15, 2021
4. Getting Creative With Stats
It’s easy to simply tweet a stat line along with a photo following a game. For instance, Mississippi State Baseball could have simply tweeted, “Freshman Jackson Fristoe threw six perfect innings.” Instead, they chose to be more creative and make a graphic that cleverly conveyed the stat. In return, the video they created received 335 thousand views. Not bad for a college baseball team!
Freshman Perfection 👌 pic.twitter.com/YkMPIu0rfR
— Mississippi State Baseball (@HailStateBB) March 8, 2021
5. Enhancing with an Edit
Sometimes, a highlight is good enough on its own to gain thousands of views, but all it needs is a small edit to reach new heights. Bleacher Report is a great example of an account that utilizes amazing edits to stand out above the rest. Usually, Bleacher Report couples these edits with a small overlay graphic from a sponsor, providing an easy monetization opportunity. Here are some of their most popular edits.
Kawhi was snatching souls last night 👻
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 15, 2021
A year ago today, Dame hit the shot that broke up the OKC Thunder.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 23, 2020
The Canadian Elite Basketball League took a similar approach to enhance their video…
Reignited. Tomorrow 👀 pic.twitter.com/qU02U4zRoZ
— CEBL (@CEBLeague) May 18, 2021
Also, check out this ‘Flash’ edit from LaLiga…
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) November 28, 2021
6. Intros, Outros, and Midtros
A way to provide context or easily watermark a video is to add an intro, midtro, or outro. Small moving graphics at the beginning, middle, or end of the video gives the viewer background information without taking away from the highlight.
JT knew his value 😤 pic.twitter.com/YphwTjlvmi
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 22, 2021
7. Adding a New Demographic
The NFL’s creativity has been on full display in the past couple of seasons, with the introduction of certain Playoff games being broadcast on both CBS and Nickelodeon, starting with the 2021 Wild Card Game. While the CBS broadcast targeted the NFL’s usual audience, the Nickelodeon ones target a new demographic- young children. The fun graphics and effects that were displayed during the 2021 game played a massive role in the success of the broadcast among viewers. Players were animated with googly eyes and hats, and players who scored a touchdown were ‘slimed’ by digital cannons. As a result, social media blew up during the game, including this tweet from Nickelodeon, which received over 450 thousand views.
— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) January 10, 2021
The NBA did something similar when they partnered with Marvel to create the Marvel Arena of Heroes, a broadcast with live graphics that paired NBA players with Marvel’s heroes and had them “compete” for points. Like the NFL, the NBA’s experiment was extremely successful, amassing thousands of views for each highlight posted to Twitter.
— ESPN (@espn) May 4, 2021
— ESPN (@espn) May 4, 2021
8. Dynamic Overlays
Think of a top-10 highlights video with no additional graphics: no numbers, names, or context. Without those critical information-filled graphics, it’s hard to properly tell the story of what’s going on in the video. Easy, simple, and to the point, a text overlay is a great way to enhance a clip and add context without distracting from the original content. Here’s an example from the International Ice Hockey Federation, which uses graphic overlays to add context to this video full of highlights.
There’s no such thing as a boring day here at #IIHFWorlds! 🔥
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 25, 2021
Here, the overlay gives supplementary information to the other half of the split-screen to help make it easier to understand.
Our man @ScottShap34 shares his 2nd horse from last weekend’s racing action in this edition of Shap’s Playbacks.
#2 Goin’ Good – CD10
She will need to work out her gate issues moving forward, but she will be tough to beat next out, especially with a more favorable outside draw. pic.twitter.com/PciY7t1pZh
— TwinSpires Racing 🏇 (@TwinSpires) May 12, 2021
9. Putting It All Together
The best cases of graphics usage are the ones that take from a variety of graphic techniques to create a single seamless video. Here are some examples of videos that do just that, utilizing a combination of overlays, trends, edits, stats, and subtitles to enhance a highlight and create an engaging post.
— FIBA AfroBasket (@AfroBasket) April 1, 2021
So there you have it; nine creative ways sports teams, leagues, and broadcasters utilize graphics to help brand their content, drive monetization opportunities, offer new viewing experiences, or simply create engaging clips to take their social media post to the next level.
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