The 2014 College Basketball season’s “March Madness” tournament is about to be underway, so the team at Queen City Media decided to take a new approach to filling out our bracket. Using Moz’s FollowerWonk, we researched the Twitter accounts of all 64 teams in the tournament in order to determine which schools were utilizing social media the best.
The heavy-hitters such as North Carolina, Michigan and Duke, among others have upwards of 60,000 followers, we decided that, while follower numbers are certainly important, engagement statistics would be weighted more heavily in our predictions.
In order to determine which teams would move on in the tournament, we used a combination of follower count, tweets posted, and percentage of tweets that saw engagement.
It was interesting to see that none of the school’s team accounts were verified by Twitter, as there were often several “copy-cat” accounts coupled with the official ones.
- 19 of the 64 school’s basketball accounts had less than 5,000 followers
- Six of the 64 school basketball accounts had less than 1,000 followers
- 26 accounts posted over 5,000 tweets
- Only three accounts saw over 50% engagement on their tweets (Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, Albany)
- 12 accounts saw less than 10% engagement from their audience
The Road To The Final Four
After analyzing the accounts of all 64 bracket teams we moved them on based on a number of metrics:
- Total followers
- Total tweets
- Audience engagement
This allowed us to correct for mid-majors that might have a smaller but more active following. It would be too easy for the large schools to win if we didn’t take fan sentiment into account.
- Cal Poly knocked off undefeated #1 seed Wichita State. Despite having 50 less followers than the Shockers, Cal Poly was significantly more active tweeting almost 3x more than their opponent
- UW Milwaukee used a very active fan-base to move on past the largely popular Villanova Wildcats. Milwaukee had over 2x the follower activity despite having a smaller fan base
- The Gonzaga Bulldogs’ road their small (9800 followers) but active fan base all the way to the final 4 with a very active audience (67% engagement on their tweets)
- Though the Syracuse Orange have an impressive 42.1k followers they were not able to make it past the Sweet 16 with a lack-luster 5.5% engagement. Syracuse may not have made it out of the 2nd round but being the most active team on Twitter (28.6k tweets) allowed them to edge the Dayton Flyers even with Dayton’s impressive engagement of 25%
March Madness Social Media Champions
The big winner of our Social Media Bracket was the Cincinnati Bearcats. Cincinnati rode their impressive 33.7k followers, 24.7k tweets and 29.5% engagement to eventual championship spot. This shows that while followers and actively tweeting are important, it’s important to engage with your audience and interact with your users.
Which teams do you follow on Twitter and who do you think deserves to win it all in March?
If you choose to fill out your bracket based on our predictions we reserve the right to 50% of all winnings!