Rally the Base to Build Engagement: #cougarpride!


Twitter is taking off at our school — especially in our athletic stream, @mkaathletics.


About a year ago, our athletic director, Todd Smith and I met to talking about getting an account set up for the school program. He would manage the account — along with a few others — and tweet from events, providing scoring updates and photos from on site.


The site has grown at a rapid pace as more and more of our students flow to Twitter. They, along with parents and local sports reporters, often use it mention @mkaathletics and retweet posts from our account, helping to spread the word.


In one recent example, a reporter called the office to confirm a game cancellation. When the office returned their call, they said it was okay, as they had already confirmed the report via Twitter.


With all this excitement and organic growth, I was really impressed with the charge Todd sent out just before our Spring Break:


The followers were in the mid-400s, and he wanted to see that number top 500 by the time the school broke for break. To do this, he crowdsourced the effort, sending the following message to coaches and members of the Student Athletics Council.

“We have one goal between now and spring break (besides ending the winter season on a high note and starting up spring sports, of course)…500 followers for MKA Athletics!

At this point, we’re about 85 or so away from that magic number! We need everyone to pump up @mkaathletics and try to see if we can hit the half-century mark in the next two weeks.

500 is a HUGE number for a school our size and although there are other schools left and right that now with twitter sites, none compare to ours. 500 is a benchmark number that we all need to chip in and go after. The more followers, the more attention our athletes and teams get.

Believe it or not, it’s a huge marketing tool for you as athletes and our athletic program. There are a number of sports reporters/writers and media sites that follow us, and the more followers we have, the more attention our athletes and teams get, and the more legit our site becomes.

Get people to follow…friends, siblings, MS/US students, parents, whomever.

#cougarpride… 2 weeks… #makeithappen

Have a great weekend… stay dry!”

I loved this way of reaching out to the key players (no pun intended) involved in the athletics program. It put the power in their hands to get the account over the hump of 500 followers.  By emailing them all directly, he made his message personal. He gave them a coach’s motivational pep talk to rally the base and get more followers.


As we all work to build our social following, it’s moments like this, small milestones that give you the ability to engage with your constituents. Whether they be athletes, students, parents or donors, a personal outreach may help your cause go a long way.


It’s not spring break yet, and even though you may not be a member of the MKA community, why not give us a follow (@mkaathletics) and #makeithappen!

William Stites

William Stites

Director of Technology at Montclair Kimberley Academy

Director of Technology for Montclair Kimberley Academy (http://www.mka.org), "Blogger in Chief" for edSocialMedia.com, consultant for Educational Collaborators, husband and father of two crazy boys. All that and still trying to find time to write and share as much as I can with you here and at http://www.williamstites.net.