Lessons From UMBC’s March Madness Twitter Triumph

by Mar 27, 2018Content | Social Media | Email

March. It’s that magical time of year where the seasons are changing and the weather might be getting warmer. It’s also the time of year when college hoops fans dedicate hours to making a perfect March Madness bracket, only for it to be ruined in one day.

I wouldn’t claim to know much about basketball, but even I know that when 16-seed UMBC beat first-seed UVA for the first time ever it was a BIG DEAL. But the other star of the night that caught my attention was the UMBC Athletics’ Twitter account.

This account was not only a highlight of the night, but also gained over 35,000 new followers overnight. Social media managers can learn a lot from the account’s success and how to use it for a brand or business.


Be Yourself





What do all the best Twitter accounts have in common? A personality. They’re relaxed, they don’t take themselves too seriously and most importantly they tell some jokes. Brands shouldn’t be afraid to reveal that there are real people behind their accounts. What that looks like is different from brand to brand. Wendy’s is renowned for being borderline rude to some users that reply to it:

Whereas Denny’s has embraced a personality that’s just…weird:



When it comes to your brand or business you have to decide what kind of voice and personality you want it to have

Don’t Get Personal

Obviously, adding snark to your social media is the popular method for Twitter success these days but there is a limit. In an interview with SB Nation, Zach Seidel, the now-legendary UMBC director of multimedia communications, said he never intended to target Virginia or its players directly, which was a smart move. If he had, the mood of the account could have been entirely different. Targeting players and the school specifically (missed shots, fouls) makes the criticisms more personal and leaves a sour taste. Plus, they won by 20 points so there was no need to gloat anyway.


Steer Into the Skid





As anyone who manages social media knows, you’re going to get some criticism every now and then. The best thing to do when a user has a legitimate grievance is to apologize and offer to resolve the issue over private messaging. However, some of the best Twitter content comes from just embracing the criticism and being humble about it.

UMBC may have been eliminated in the second round, but they’ll be a part of history forever. The team and the Twitter account have made quite the name for themselves, and I can’t wait to see what they do next year.

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