Hint: Win March Madness in real life.
There’s a funny thing that happens when a sports team has a good season; they gain fans.
Fairweather fans (e.g. Drake) switch to support whatever team happens to be successful at the time. And believe you me, there are a lot of them.
So I tested a hypothesis on a little known tournament called March Madness. I wanted to see if the Facebook fan growth rate of the colleges in the tournament’s athletics pages would rise and fall based on their performance. Guess what? It did.
There was a direct correlation between performance and Facebook fan growth rate. The rate of new fans increased after wins and declined after colleges were cut. Here is a breakdown of the Final Four!
An unexpected champion, UConn took it all the way with many exciting and surprising wins that caused increasingly larger spikes in growth rate.
Kentucky also made it to the championship game with several big wins that caused huge spikes in fan growth rate. Once they lost in the final game, the growth rate dropped.
Florida was expected to go the distance, so their growth rate remained relatively consistent. Their win against Dayton to get into the Final Four caused a spike in growth rate, but their growth rate dropped after losing to UConn.
Wisconsin’s biggest win against number 1 ranked Arizona caused a massive spike in growth rate. After they lost to Kentucky in the Final Four, their growth rate dropped off.
Take a look at two teams that performed differently than expected:
Syracuse was expected to go the distance. Instead they lost in their second game to Dayton. After their early loss, their fan growth rate became lower for the rest of the tournament.
Dayton was a VERY unexpected team that went very far before finally losing to number 1 ranked Florida. Each win came with a bigger spike in growth rate before dropping off after their loss.
The takeaway from all of this is that real world events have a direct effect on social media. Take advantage of it. Real-time marketing can be incredibly lucrative if done correctly. If you are performing well, users are ready and willing to jump on board your bandwagon.