March Madness was just as intense for brands vying for the public eye as it was for fans’ favorite athletes. With so many brands competing for attention at once, it’s easy to see how many brands fall to the wayside, while others shine in the eyes (and wallets) of fans.
One way that brands ensure success is by engaging with fans directly through sponsored social media campaigns. By taking a look at these campaigns, it becomes apparent what techniques of promotion are best practice and should be used to resonate with fans the most.
Brands Should Provide Incentive to Fans
In the heat of any major sports tournament, there is a lot of division among fans. From Twitter debates over which team is going to win to arguments over the best athlete on a given team: the lines are drawn when it comes to two fan bases facing off.
Dove Men+Care made it clear that they are aware of this by launching a Twitter campaign called #RepTheRivalry. In this activation, Dove Men+Care presents a stylish twist on college rivalries by creating custom jerseys which feature the colors of rival teams and catchy names for the rivalries. Not only that, but Dove Men+Care also orchestrated events where fans could go to meet their favorite athletes, such as Eric Gordon and Darrell Griffith.
Although some fans weren’t too happy about the mashup between rivals on a jersey, they were enticed by the opportunity to win limited edition basketball memorabilia and meet some of basketball’s top athletes. Through these promotions, Dove Men+Care gave fans a reason to go to one of their sponsored events and engage with their brand on a meaningful level. Now that is a proper incentive.
Brand Value for Dove
Brands Should Provide Entertainment Value
For March Madness this year, Degree Men pulled out all the stops when it comes to humor with their #BenchMoves campaign. This campaign involved videos and gifs featuring members of Monmouth’s basketball team doing unique bench celebrations, such as “The Matador” and “The Super Heroes”.
A few years ago, Monmouth’s bench received considerable publicity for their bench celebrations, which is presumably why Degree Men saw a unique opportunity. One look at the replies on these funny tweets quickly proves that fans appreciate the time fitting and humorous videos.
There is no doubt that the humor of the #BenchMoves campaign will be something that’s remembered by fans for years to come.
Brands Should Give the Fans What They Want
If you followed March Madness social accounts, you were likely interested in the most up-to-date news on the tournament and game highlights. All sports fans can probably agree that sifting through too many ads when trying to reach the latest highlights is irritating. The point here is that, above all else, basketball fans want to see content that is relevant to basketball.
Cars.com employs this method by simply sponsoring tweets that March Madness posts. On many tweets from the official March Madness account, there is a “Presented by @carsdotcom” message at the bottom of the tweet. By plainly sponsoring tweets on the official March Madness Twitter account, not only is Cars.com providing relevant information to loyal fans, but they are also using the power of association to get the name of their brand associated with a popular event.
Cars.com generated $26.2K in brand value during the tournament from only 14 posts on Facebook and Twitter. The brand should have leveraged Instagram to drive more value.
When it comes to a highly-anticipated event like March Madness, brands can’t go wrong by sponsoring posts on the official event social media accounts. If a brand can also give fans content that is timely, relevant, and original, it will score points with fans in more ways than one.
Leaving It All on the Court
If a brand can provide an incentive for fans, be entertaining or find a way to effectively give fans relevant information, they can likely gain attention and drive engagement on social media. These trends—as well as countless others—can provide brands with a foundation for how to appeal to fans with intriguing and effective content during tentpole events.