‘March Madness’ Meets Social Media: Top Social-Media School Crowned

With the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament starting on Thursday, work productivity is starting to dip. NCAA afficionados and consumers alike are scrambling to fill out their brackets to determine (scientifically or unscientifically) which team will take home the national championship.

But already a national champ has already emerged from the 64 teams that qualified for the tourney—Duke, but not for its hoops prowess. Instead, it’s for social-media mojo. For the past six years Schwartz MSL Insights Group has conducted the NCAA Social Media College Basketball Bracket Analysis, taking the actual teams participating in the dance and evaluating their social-media presence.

Schwartz MSL looks at a school’s official athletics Facebook, Twitter and YouTube followings to see how engaged its fans are. The agency then divides that number by a school’s student population so as to keep it fair for the mid-majors, and comes up with a school’s Social Media Power Ranking. No doubt because of its legion of rabid student fans, Duke was awarded the crown this year.

Has the agency’s social media pick ever been the same as the hoops national champion? Not yet. But there have been a few Cinderella stories. "In 2008, we called 10th-seeded Davidson's magic run in the tournament," says Bill Bode, senior account executive at Schwartz MSL. "History repeated itself in 2011, when we predicted 8th-seeded Butler would make it to the Final Four."

Bode says to watch out for 12th-seeded Oregon this year, a talented team that made Schwartz MSL's Elite 8. But being a perennial favorite to challenge for the basketball title, there’s a chance Duke could take the twin crown this year—only if its basketball play is as stellar as the school's social media skills.

Below is Schwartz MSL’s Social Media Power Bracket:


Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01