The Retailers Guide to March Madness – Picking a Social Media Network

March Madness is a several week long event popular in the United States when the finals of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament take place. For many businesses, spending time and money preparing promotional material for March Madness might not seem like it is worth the effort, but there is a tremendous wave of emotions from loyal NCAA fans riding on this event. Tapping in on the fans’ feelings and tying it to your own brand can bring about a full range of benefits, such as:

  • Dramatic short-term increase in visitors
  • Smaller, but still significant long-term increase of followers
  • Deeper brand loyalty with current followers
  • Increased participation in promotions and sales

This will be the first blog post in a five part series on March Madness, dealing specifically with observing different potential social media networks that your business can use for March Madness.

Looking at Different Social Media Networks

It’s always a tough choice deciding which social media network to focus on. Always keep in mind that using a mix of social media platforms is much more effective than spending all your time on your most popular one. Diversifying your channels means that a larger number of people will be able to see and respond to your content.


Facebook is the undisputed leader of social media in terms of reach, and should be used as a central hub for any March Madness posts and contests. Try to post content that is current, interesting, and relevant to March Madness to increase the level of engagement with your followers.

When deciding what type of content to use for Facebook, keep in mind that:

  • Photos on Facebook Pages receive 53% more likes than the average post.
  • Photos attract 104% more comments than the average post.
  • Fill-in-the-blank posts generate about 90% more engagement than the average text post

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Applebee’s uses both a photo and a fill-in-the-blank style post to engage their customers.


Twitter is a little more difficult to use in this situation, as only text posts are allowed. Although media can be linked via a Youtube or Instagram link, it may be difficult for your tweet to be noticed amidst the torrent of other similar tweets. Using promotions is a great way to add extra weight to a Twitter post, as well as drawing more attention to the promotions you already have set up on other social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

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Note the link back to Facebook for more information.


Although Google+ has the second largest social network population, the amount of content that’s shared on Google+ is woefully low. Still, because Google+ is less populated than other social networks, there is much less competition for users’ attention. Additionally, since Google owns Google+ (obviously), any content shared on Google+ will incidentally perform better on the Google search ranking. Note that direct promotions and sweepstakes are not allowed on Google+, and therefore should be linked to another site (such as your website, Facebook Page or Twitter).

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An important point to consider about using Google+ is that followers can be categorized into different Circles; categories for your personal use. By recording which followers respond the strongest to the current promotions, you will create a strong starting position and develop an understanding that can be referred to for subsequent years. Demographically, Google+ users tend to be more technologically inclined, so using Google+ should definitely be utilized if your business has anything to do with the tech industry.


If you have the time and resources to make a promotional video, Youtube is a great way to really get people talking about your brand. Videos can be used to pump people up about March Madness, or can be used as a way to tie your brand to the holiday.

Toyota made a series of commercials last year that focused on a fictional coach called “Coach T”, who spoke and acted like a stereotypical NCAA basketball coach, except with car drivers. By doing this, Toyota managed to give a subtle nod to March Madness fans (the videos were released in March), while still talking about their products.

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It’s hard to capture a video in only one frame. Search for “Toyota Coach T Commercial”  on YouTube to see the full video!


Instagram is a popular photo sharing tool that can help extend the reach of your promotional images. It is important to build a comprehensive profile on Instagram to increase your legitimacy. If your followers perceive your Instagram account as nothing more than a corporate mouthpiece, it may soon be ignored. Strike a healthy balance between promotions and regular photos.

The Lyf is a Vancouver e-tailer that creates an exceptional balance between promotional photos and regular photos that relate to their brand. See below the variation of images they post.

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That sums it up for today!  Come back tomorrow for more information about social media branding for March Madness!

On another note, why not check out our  Facebook Contests and Promotion Apps?


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