By: Dallas J. Short
March Madness is upon us. If you have not filled out a bracket, time is running out, but be warned: the person who does not watch college sports will probably win. It just happens. If you do not have an interest in the NCAA Tournament, sorry, but it almost becomes unavoidable. There is still a good chance it is the big buzz around your office or by a lot of people you know, it is especially a huge deal on social media. Expect the hashtag #MarchMadness to be trending for the next 3 weeks.
While Facebook will definitely include predictions, outbursts, and reactions – people will be on Twitter and keeping with up the action in real time. According to the research Twitter has done with DB5, “75% of sports fans on Twitter use the platform to follow their favorite teams and athletes, and 61% follow their Twitter feed and/or Tweet while watching sports on TV. Nearly half (49%) say they feel as close to the action following games on Twitter as they do watching them on TV.”
Last year, Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings found that in the US, TV broadcasts of the tournament generated 14.1M Tweets and 1.6B Tweet impressions.
Even if your team was ripped off and wasn’t selected for the tourney (Miami Hurricanes, Temple Owls), this is an exciting time in sports. The college players play with not only skill, but so much passion and heart – that it is not as easily predictable as the major professional sports. Anything can happen and there will be “madness” indeed. Duke (3) was upset last year by Mercer (14) and Twitter exploded and it actually became more tweeted about than even the Championship final. Duke is a #1 seed this year, people love to hate Duke, so let’s see how they do this year. Another story to follow is Kentucky, also a #1 seed – they went the entire season undefeated, how long will the ride last?
There are so many experts and self-presumed experts on Twitter right now, it is easy to learn more about the players, the coaches, the matchups, predictions and more. It becomes fun and addictive to stay in the know and follow along as it goes. No matter if you are using Twitter for personal or professional use during #MarchMadness, you will want to be in the know.
In 2014, Twitter users were as engaged on game days as they were on non-game days, so this a great chance for brands to be involved and jump into the conversation as well. Be prepared to be locked in until at least April 7 (Championship game is April 6), fans are watching and responding, they want a brand they feel like they are watching the tournament with, not being sold to while trying to enjoy it. Brands need to respect the intensity of the game and the fans. People tend to have deep ties to college sports and it is not just a random or forced association.
As I said in my blog for Get in the Game: Tips for Tweeting on Super Sunday, this is an opportunity for you and your brands to connect and engage on a more natural level and develop meaningful interactions and relationships. With games starting March 17 and ending on April 6, this gives you a lot more time to build and strengthen those bonds with fans, followers, and possible/future fans and followers. Do not waste any more time, jump in now.
As far as who my predictions are to win? Well, we are doing an office pool and I believe in the jinx. So, let’s talk more in a few weeks. When I’m not at work, you can be sure I’ll be tweeting along. @Meddafore If you feel like throwing your predictions out there, feel free to do so. If you think there is a better platform for #MarchMadness engagement, please let me know that too.
As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like what you read be social and share.