March Madness and Social Media: Part I

Social Media Engagement

This week begins one of the most exciting times of the year for college basketball fans: the NCAA Tournament aka “March Madness.” Millions of crazed fans stop everything they are doing—literally—to watch 64 (or is it 68 now?) teams vie for a national title. The three-week period from the opening round to the Final Four is an opportunity for colleges and universities to attain exposure to large audiences at levels never before seen or deemed possible. Social media plays a vital role in this exposure with college basketball teams using these platforms to interact with fans and grow their followings.

Duke University Men’s Basketball has the highest engagement rate amongst all college basketball teams on social media at 7.1%, followed closely by Indiana University (6.26%) and Purdue University (5.83%). These teams are successful because they create engaging content, know their audience, and use different tactics to interact with and gain followers.

In the marketing world, social media platforms are key avenues for your organization to develop your brand, sell your culture, and generate new leads for your products and services. Let’s look at some quick tips that will allow your company to take full advantage of social media as a part of your overall marketing strategy, just as college basketball teams do during the season and especially during this time of the year.

In this part one of a two part series, we will examine the social media platform choices and the appropriate content forms for each platform. In tomorrow’s part two, we will take a look at posting strategically and how to best engage with your followers! Now, let’s see if your social media strategy measures up to the heavyweights of March!

Choose your platforms wisely.

When initiating your company’s involvement on social media, one of the most important decisions you will be faced with is which platforms to utilize and how. While there are a number of different channels in which you can post content, it often makes sense to focus in on the avenues that will provide the most value through connecting you with the right people at the right time.

College basketball teams with a well-established social media presence tend to focus on where their target audiences are connected. Many fans are active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Far fewer fans are active on Google+ and LinkedIn, so teams place less emphasis on these. Fairly simple logic, right?

In addition to figuring out where your target audience is active online, your company’s goals are also relevant in choosing adequate social media platforms. For example, if you are looking to launch a new B2B technology product, LinkedIn and Twitter are viable options. However, for company culture posts, Facebook and Instagram are preferred.

Develop content appropriate for your audience and goals.

Content is a major aspect of a successful social media presence. In order to boost engagement with your followers, it is critical to have a purpose for the content that you post. When following a college basketball team on social media, fans are looking for information on players, game schedules, game highlights, and other small, digestible pieces of content. Know who your audience is and what they are looking for in following you and publish your content accordingly.

Using images and short videos is a growing way to engage social media followers online and to encourage them to interact with your brand. When images are displayed with content on social media, the content receives 94% more views.
Platform must match content. You would not publish an E-book to instagram, and you would not post a game highlight tape to LinkedIn (even though I personally may enjoy that)! I will see you tomorrow for more on how to post strategically and drive deeper engagement with your audience.