Today’s generation of student-athletes utilizes social media like never before. It is a complete curation of who they are, where they’ve been, and the buzz their posts create are like “social currency.”

The NCAA’s regulations concerning name, image and likeness (NIL) have made this “currency” even more valuable, as student-athletes now have the potential to have a greater impact through the posts they share.

If you’re building or renovating a facility, you should have the future social posts of recruits in mind. Think creatively about your featured backdrops and settings, imagining how it might appear on an Instagram feed or TikTok video. How will recruits be motivated to use it and showcase your institution?

By creating these dynamic moments, you can help put the recruit or student-athlete (the stars of their own story) in unique settings they can curate and share with the world. It not only shines a spotlight on that athlete, it boosts awareness of and engagement with your institution.

If a Picture is Worth 1,000 Words, These Moments Are Priceless

Though it may seem superficial, recruits gauge prospective institutions on whether they are creating experiences that they can see themselves in (and, in turn, share with the world). A dynamite photo opp may not seal the deal, but it might tip the scale in your favor.

You can enliven your facility by thoughtfully and purposefully creating settings that provide that backdrop, theme, and signature experience that uplifts the recruit and the institution.

Jack Porter collaborates with colleges and universities to form a joint imagination team. Together we take a deep dive into who you are as a brand or what you aspire to be. We consider your school’s reputation, your team’s image, your competition and what sets you apart from them.

We don’t just say, “Well, here’s a sketch. We hope you like it.” We work closely with you to arrive at a concept that not only makes sense but makes a lasting impression.

Five Ways to Create a Memorable Photo Opp

If you’re just thinking about putting up a backlit logo on a wall, you’ll miss the mark. You aren’t thinking carefully enough about the opportunity you have to create a space your student athletes, recruits and others will use to make high-impact images and videos.

For a photo opp that leaves a lasting impression, take into consideration the following:

1. Know your target audience.

Set aside your current views and think about it from the viewpoint of the younger recruits. Be bold in imagining what these moments can be. Remember that these recruits are young and eager to participate in compelling activities and create compelling social content. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope even if it lies outside your own stylistic comfort zone. They have seen it all, so you want to ensure you provide that special splash.



2. Consider how it will look in the final product.

How does this actually photograph? How does it look? Will lighting and reflective surfaces ruin a photo or video? How do the colors render when it’s captured on camera? Is it in a high-traffic area where noise or other intrusions could present unwanted disruptions or distractions?



3. Deliver a signature experience.

Resist the temptation to borrow ideas or concepts from others. If you’ve seen something another institution has done that you are excited about, it can be an inspiration, but your’s shouldn’t be an imitation. You want to provide a backdrop that is truly unique to your institution.



4. Create an open invitation.

Whether it’s on the edge of the Grand Canyon, the base of the Eiffel Tower or in the middle of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, people are instinctively drawn to a good photo opp. It should be immediately apparent that’s the spot where the magic happens. Make it so obvious that everyone knows where to stand and they’re compelled to take their shot.



5. Design it to be “future proof.”

So many trends in social media have a limited shelf life. Fads come and go seemingly overnight. But truly good design has staying power. You can create designs that go the distance in two ways.

First, you can aim to create something truly iconic — a photo opp that conveys a feeling of importance and permanence. Something that feels like it’s been there forever and will continue to be long after the picture is taken.

The other approach is more flexible, allowing the space to evolve over time. For example, a video wall that can be regularly refreshed or customized, or dynamic lighting that can be adjusted depending on the season or situation.


You Can’t Afford NOT to Have a Great Photo Opp in Your Facility

Being intentional in creating multiple unique / signature moments where recruits cannot wait to take that money shot is now a given for institutions to gain the social traction needed in today’s climate.

Having an attractive and noteworthy photo opp has multiple benefits, both for your recruits and families that come to your institution and the digital recognition that it can provide to your brand.

If you’d like to learn more about how Jack Porter can create the right signature social media moment for your school, let’s talk.