Social media can be an effective tool to persuade, educate, and spur people to action. Marketing Professor Ryan Russell recently demonstrated that power to his students by using Twitter to persuade Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy to drop by a class via Zoom.

Catch the full video here. 

It began when Russell asked his students who they would most want to hear as a guest speaker.

“Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports was hands down the top request,” Russell said.

To sweeten the deal, Russell offered to make a donation to Portnoy’s Barstool Fund, a relief fund fueled through donations to help small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Izell Marketing in Chattanooga and Stukent, a digital courseware provider, picked up the tweet and offered to donate as well. Like any good social media campaign, the request was shared across various platforms and within 24 hours, Portnoy had agreed to drop in Russell’s students via Zoom on March 8.

“I knew this was an opportunity to do something special during a challenging year,” Russell said. “One of the biggest principles Dave [Portnoy] spoke to my students about was the importance of truly loving your work. I love these young men and women, plus  Dave’s entrepreneurship and marketing content was absolutely fantastic.”

The students tuned in to their class via Zoom with their Barstool Sports flags hanging in the background, eager to hear from Portnoy.

“Having Dave Portnoy speak to us was an amazing experience considering he is the founder of Barstool Sports, and his insight on marketing is invaluable,” said Taylor Catlett, marketing student in the UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business. “This experience would not have been possible without Professor Russell and his commitment to go above and beyond for his students. This was such a highlight and something that I will never forget.”

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