A new initiative at James Madison University is giving students the opportunity to put their social media skills to good use, and win prizes for their efforts.
The university’s athletics marketing department, with the help of the loyalty program intelligence company FanMaker, has started a rewards-based program that aims to boost attendance at sporting events as well as reward and motivate the university’s loyal fan base.
According to The Breeze, the program is called Dukes Rewards, and is intended to entice students to be more actively involved in university athletics.
“There are challenges across the country with student attendance,” says Stephen Pugh, director of marketing for James Madison University. “It’s one of those things that we wanted to do to help students get engaged and get rewarded for supporting us.”
Students earn points by attending any university sporting event on campus and checking in via GPS with FanMaker’s mobile app. Points can also be earned by retweeting or sharing James Madison sports accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Students can also opt to connect their accounts to the FanMaker system to better track their activity.
“What makes this program unique is that you don’t only earn points from going to games, but also if you’re interacting with us on social media and helping promote JMU athletics,” says Pugh.
Pugh insists that James Madison athletics was not previously struggling with it social media presence, but rather saw this as another opportunity to further engage and reward students for interacting with the JMU brand.
The only personal information required on the part of the student is a name, email and student ID number.
Points can then be redeemed for a variety of prizes, including a Duke Dog lawn gnome (10,000 points), limited edition T-shirts (10,000 points each), a signed football jersey (20,000 points) and Beats by Dre headphones (35,000 points).
Dukes Rewards had approximately 500 participants since the soft release of the program earlier this month.
In addition to helping gain attendance at home events, Dukes Rewards compensates fans for showing up by awarding them points when they check in.
The highest point-earning events are track and field at 2,000 points, followed by football and swimming at 1,000 points each, and all other sports varying in value from 150 to 500 points.
Even if a student doesn’t attend a game, they can still earn 500 points each time they follow or like a JMU sports social media page, and earn an additional 50 points for each retweet and share.
According to those close to the initiative, getting as many students on the rewards program and having as many athletic supporters as possible is the ultimate goal of the campaign.