What March Madness Can Teach Branding

I spent some time this morning on LinkedIn and ran across this article and just had to share it:

March Madness is the most wonderful time of the year for basketball fanatics. College basketball fans will flock to their televisions for three weeks of intense competition that results in “One Shining Moment”. As an avid college basketball fan, last year I decided to take a slightly different approach to watching the tournament. I followed all 68 teams in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament on Twitter. My goal was to see what social media professionals could learn about branding. Following all 68 teams provided me with an opportunity to see which tactics teams (brands) used for promotion.

This is what I learned.

Have An Official Hashtag

An official hashtag for your brand is essential to creating buzz around social media. It can bring all of your followers and information to a central location online. This also promotes brand recognition. The Wichita State official hashtag was #WATCHUS. Although this might seem like a common hashtag, every tweet by the team was accompanied by #WATCHUS. If you were to search this hashtag on Twitter, Wichita State’s tweets would appear not only from the basketball teams account, but from the Athletic Department, University, and fans. The ultimate goal of creating an official hashtag is to occupy a phrase that your followers will associate with your brand.

When tweeting about me or my company, feel free to use: #jash and #blumountain =)

Use Graphics

It is imperative that the material you post catches your followers attention. The world of Twitter is fast-paced; most of your followers scroll through Twitter without looking at half the material on their timeline. For this reason, your followers will be more likely to click on an appealing photo as opposed to a tweet with just words. Images that accompany your content are more valuable than ever. The Oregon Basketball team utilized infographics to recap game statistics at the end of their tournament games. Using an infographic provides followers with a tangible representation of the basketball game to identify with. Brands can follow a similar route and use infographics to provide statistics, and information from events. Remember, let the data drive the infographic. The end game is to give followers an image that will provide valuable information about your brand.

Recognize Your Followers

My social media philosophy is two words; Be interactive. There is no point in having social media if you are not willing to respond to your followers. After all, these are the people who have decided to support you by following your brand. Your followers are your biggest advocates. Even if you do not directly reply to a mention, you can still recognize the person through a retweet or by a favorite. I saw the most recognition of followers before and after tournament games. Whether the team won or lost, Retweeting played a big role in how the teams responded to followers. The more you recognize your followers, the more they will feel apart of your brand. When followers feel apart of your brand, they are more likely to support you. 72% of all internet users are on social media. If you want to win the game, you have to win at social media too.

Following these easy tips will help create the “madness” that will help you promote and enhance your brand.


(Source: Joshua McGee, Social Media & Digital Marketing Analyst)


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