Riley Elliott, a first-year student at UNC and head marketing intern for sp0t, said he thinks the app will help foster unique social media content and relationships.
Aside from his role in marketing, Elliot has also been dubbed the “sp0t bot.” Sporting a hat made of tin foil, he goes around campus and interviews students about a variety of experiences at the University — including spring break secrets and finding love at UNC.
Co-founder Kenny Barone said he hopes sp0t's location constraints make the content feel tangible to users. He said a UNC-centric app will give students the opportunity to engage with their community.
"Everything is local and hopefully not super overwhelming,” he said. “I think having information coming in from everywhere in the world is a lot of what makes being online stressful at times.”
By staying connected to the campus community beyond their graduation, Trocinski and Barone have now been able to partner with current UNC entrepreneurs.
Mary Esposito, a first-year student and founder of Money with Mary — a TikTok account with over 96,000 followers — discovered sp0t through a case competition at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. After a few meetings and conversations with the co-creators, she was brought on as a marketing consultant.
Esposito implements social media marketing strategies that should help the app appeal to Gen-Z. Her financial literacy Instagram account gained over 12,000 followers in less than two months, and she said she has insider knowledge of what type of content appeals to college students.
"What makes these new apps go viral?" Esposito said. "It's by marketing them as a joke — essentially appealing to Gen Z's ironic sense of humor. So, taking that different approach with it has had a lot of good results."
Esposito's marketing knowledge has helped sp0t gain significant media attention before the app's official release. The @sp0tapp account's first post on Instagram — a street-style interview asking UNC students for their "spring break confessions" — has over 35,000 views.
Along with creating content and marketing strategies for the team, Esposito has helped the team find campus partnerships.
For a recent Instagram post about "Finding Love at UNC," Esposito said she established a partnership with @unccrushes, a popular account where UNC students can share their campus crushes anonymously. This post raked in over 12,000 views. Esposito said she plans to continue establishing partnerships like this in the future.
If sp0t's launch at UNC is successful, the co-founders plan to expand the app at other college campuses in North Carolina. Barone said he hopes sp0t can serve as a "community message board" for universities.
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However, Trocinski said it is important to emphasize that sp0t was "built by UNC, for UNC."
The fact that the app was founded at the University will always be a part of the company's story, he said.
"At the end of the day, it's the creativity of UNC students that's going to make sp0t what it is," Trocinski said.