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Want to Increase Twitter Engagement? Just make it to the Sweet 16

As a social analytics company, we’re constantly getting this question: What’s the best way to increase my Twitter engagement?

Until now, I’ve insisted that there’s no one clear answer that works across the board. But after this week, I’m changing my tune. If you want to grow your Twitter engagement, make it to the Sweet 16.

Just ask Florida Gulf Coast University. The 15 seeded, 16 year old, first-time attendee of the NCAA Tournament is “still trying to catch up on all the social media,” according to Darren Costa, Marketing and Corporate Partnerships Assistant at FGCU. And that is not surprising at all.

We took a look at the numbers, and while most of us will never have to worry about making it to The Sweet 16, there are still some lessons to be learned from FGCU’s Twitter activity over the last week. What do you do when an event drives unprecedented traffic to your accounts? How do you respond? What should you focus on? For FGCU, there are a few key takeaways:

Getting in On The Action

@FGCU_mbb, the official Twitter handle of the men’s basketball team at FGCU, has been getting more attention this week than…well…ever. 

FGCU Twitter Account Engagement During NCAA Tournament

A look at the ten days leading up to the tournament show an average engagement rate of under 40-50 mentions, @replies, and retweets each day. On Sunday, after beating San Diego State to reach the Sweet 16, the Twitter handle exploded with over 1,000 engagements. Monday and Tuesday saw similar results.

While it’s safe to say that this level of engagement is unlikely to continue after the tourney ends, take a look at their most engaging Tweet. The folks behind @FGCU_MBB should take note that it’s not a game update or a win announcement. It’s a link for a pep rally. Focusing on community involvement and making your network feel like they’re a part of something important is a key engagement tactic. Everyone wants to be a part of something big, and this is important to focus on as a social marketer.

Big Business

While the team has been posting more during the excitement, they’re also being sought out by big names looking to share in the congratulations and excitement.

FGCU Twitter Followers During NCAA Tournament

It’s not just students talking about their school. Everyone from sports personalities like Erin Andrews, the NFL’s official handle and The Chicago Whitesocks, to consumer brands like Sony and Capital One are talking about the young school from The Gulf Coast.

For FGCU’s social team, this is a HUGE opportunity to build your network. Focus on these key influencers. Share special content and start conversations with them. They’ve already acted as ambassadors for your program once, with a little finesse, they may continue to be.

Driving Traffic

The @FGCU_MBB account has only Tweeted 165 times over the last sweet 16 days. And those Tweets have made an impact, resulting in 5,464 engagements, but the bulk of their reach has been due to those big names mentioning the handle.

@FGCU_MBB Twitter Reach and Impressions

Over 11 million people have potentially seen the school’s account mentioned, resulting in 19 million potential impressions, and over 14,000 clicks on their links.

This is a great opportunity. While their exposure is at an all-time high, FGCU has the ability to not only promote strategic messages, but direct strategic traffic. With all eyes on their account, they’ve already shared links for over 14,000 site visits. When a social team finds themselves in a position like this, it’s a perfect time to sit back and ask “which content is the most important, and where do we want to drive traffic?”

For FGCU, chances are that this trend will continue today as the hype builds for tonight’s game against Florida.  If your social team found yourself in a similar situation, what metrics would you follow, and how would it impact your plan?

With Simply Measured, you can easily track and identify those key points to focus on. To analyze your own Twitter account, and what your team should be focusing on, sign up for a Free Trial and take our reports for a spin.

Kevin Shively

I lead marketing for Simply Measured. Recovering journalist. My team is embarrassed of my hilarious jokes. Firm believer that the best marketers are the best storytellers and the best storytellers use the best data.

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