March Social Media Madness

March Madness is upon us.

Millions will flock to social media for advice on how to fill out their “March Madness” bracket or learn what time their favorite team is playing so they can watch via streaming media.

It also means that numerous brands will be increasing the social media component of their tournament budgets.

In 2010, Coke spent 2% of its ad budget on social media; in 2011, they added a zero and increased it to 20%. Last year, Coke Zero sponsored the “Social Arena” on NCAA.com. ESPN and Verizon offered a similar version called “Tournament of Tweets.” Reese’s enticed fans to visit their Facebook page for a chance to shoot a half-court shot worth $1 million at the 2012 tournament. This year they are offering a trip to next year’s tournament and Reese’s for life.

There goes my girlish figure.

I’m sure there will be new brands that join the March Madness this year. Here is a list of “16 Sweet Must-Follows” on Twitter, compiled by Sam Laird of Mashable, as well as the #marchMadness Social Media Cheat Sheet posted by Likeable Media.

One group that doesn’t embrace the NCAA love are IT professionals who suffer network slow-downs due to the streaming of live games by employees – and employers – during office hours. Then again, it builds camaraderie, right? Gives you things to talk about around the water cooler. How’s your bracket doing? Did your team win? Did you see that last second shot?

No doubt about it: The big dance is a slam dunk online.

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