April 24

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How March Madness Affected Purdue and UConn’s Social Media

Athletes, Social Media, Sports

March Madness is the kind of event that brings millions of college athletics fans across the country together. Whether you’re a big basketball fan or just a casual observer, the nearly month-long tournament always captures attention with its fanfare, brackets, bets, and Cinderella stories.

The interesting thing about March Madness is that it also presents a great opportunity for smaller schools to build serious brand attention. There are plenty examples of tiny liberal arts schools stepping into the limelight by defeating larger “blue chip” names. And in just about every game there’s an opportunity to make new fans, recruit new students and athletes, and energize alumni.

This year, the final two teams in the men’s March Madness already had plenty of name recognition. The Purdue Boilermakers are a perennial tournament team (not to mention a school with solid academic cache), while the University of Connecticut Huskies have won a whopping six men’s basketball national championships since 1999.

Despite already having plenty of name recognition, both schools saw some solid growth in their social media metrics thanks to the tournament. 

Let's take a look at the impact the first three weeks of March Madness had on the final two men’s basketball teams (between March 17th and April 7th).

How March Madness Affected The Purdue Men’s Basketball Social Media Accounts

Over three weeks in the tournament, Purdue’s Instagram account saw impressive growth. The account saw a 12.7 percent surge in their Instagram audience, welcoming 18,281 new fans to their loyal base. This was by far one of the fastest periods of growth for the account.

While Purdue did increase their content output on Instagram during the time, it wasn’t by as much as you’d might expect. The team increased their Instagram post count by 1.4 percent, sharing 107 new posts.

Purdue posted about four times as much on their X account as they did their Instagram account. (Not super surprising, given a lot of people use X to check scores etc. and it’s easier to make a quick post there than on Instagram). The account posted 404 times on X, only a 1 percent increase. The account slightly outpaced the post increase, adding 2,429 new followers in those three weeks, good for a 1.5 percent increase.

Overall, impressive growth, but not an earth-shattering level of output from the accounts, despite being a top team in arguably the biggest sports spectacle in college athletics.

RootNote Learn Stuff March Madness Purdue

How March Madness Affected The UConn Men’s Basketball Social Media Accounts

UConn’s Instagram growth was even more impressive than Purdue (and remember, this was before UConn eventually ended up winning the championship). The account saw a staggering 19.8 percent growth, gaining 26,212 new followers. 

That may have had something to do with the fact that they also increased their posting activity, this time sharing 150 new posts, an increase in about 5 percent. It’s not scientific, obviously, but hard to ignore the fact that all things equal, UConn gained more followers and posted more. This follows the general trend that shows increased quality content output leads to increased growth (within reason).

UConn also saw more growth on X, recording a 2.6 percent rise in followers on the platform (a total of 3,122 new followers). The team account also posted slightly more than usual — a 1.9 percent increase and a total of 309 posts on X. 

It’s also fairly interesting that UConn posts significantly less than Purdue, but thanks to an increased output during the time period also saw great follower growth.

RootNote Learn Stuff March Madness UConn


March Madness really is a unique opportunity to put a ton of teams in the spotlight. Thanks to it going on for nearly a month, a well-timed social media strategy can lead to good growth. 

But there’s got to be a commitment to increasing your output while more eyes are on the school. Because UConn and Purdue have both been around and in the national spotlight plenty of times before, they may not have leveraged the opportunity to produce more content and grow faster as much as a smaller school could have. 

Still, the tournament proved to be a boon for the team’s Instagram accounts. Now it’s up to them to keep making good content that has the opportunity to reach those new fans and more.






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