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Dog Days of the Sports Calendar: Social Media Case Study - College Hoops

The Tribe
August 3, 2017

For sports fanatics like me, this time of the year is brutal. Basketball season is long over and we’re still a month out from football. For whatever reason though, my mind has been on college hoops here in early August. I can’t get out of my head how incredible last spring’s “March Madness” tournament was and just how cool it will be when San Antonio hosts the Final Four in 2018.

So for my blog topic today, I’m reviving a post I developed back in March that never saw the light of day (due to a busy spring!) – a case study examining the social media presence of the 2017 Division I College Basketball Tournament’s top seed, North Carolina, and that of its lowest seeded, Texas Southern. I hope you enjoy.


You gotta love March Madness – 68 schools, teams, and fanbases, all striving for one goal – the Division I NCAA National Championship.

While there’s a lot to love about the tournament (pick ’em brackets, upsets, emotional fanbases, and an endless stream of games), my favorite part is watching all of the smaller, lower-seeded colleges duke it out against the “big boys” in the first round of the tournament.

To me these “David vs Goliath” clashes are truly fascinating.

Think about it. On one side, you’ve got (usually) a big-time program with a massive fanbase and storied history. On the other, you’ve got (usually) a smaller school without as much of a national presence and a significantly smaller following.

It really is a marvel to watch.

In celebration of the tournament and the “little guy,” I selected a “1 vs 16 seed” match-up in this year’s tournament and sat down to study what each team is doing well on social media (Facebook specifically) and what tactics each could adopt from the other.

The “1 vs 16 match-up” I chose to study… Texas Southern vs North Carolina.

Let’s get started with Texas Southern!

*Texas Southern

*Since Texas Southern doesn’t have a dedicated page for their Men’s Basketball or Athletics Program, I studied their main school page (which serves as their defacto basketball/athletics program page)

For a school with an enrollment of only 9,557, I walked away extremely impressed with TSU’s per post engagement numbers. Across the board, Texas Southern’s content sports strong engagement numbers (reactions, shares, comments) – the level of engagement I normally would expect from a much larger, more established brand page.

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These type of metrics tell me Texas Southern has done a great job in ensuring their students and alumni are connected on social and that TSU’s past content has been relevant/strong enough for Facebook’s algorithm to spotlight their new content.

Good stuff, Tigers!

North Carolina

To no surprise, the Tar Heels have a robust Facebook page. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a program as storied and historic as North Carolina’s.

The one thing that jumped out to me? Just how darn clean the Heels’ page looked. From colors, image size, copy, and across the board – UNC’s social runs a tight ship.

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Nothing’s jumbled, awkward or ill-fitting – really a thing of beauty.

Let’s transition (no pun intended!) to what best practice each page could adopt from the other:

What could Texas Southern adopt from North Carolina?

I’d love to see Texas Southern adopt some of the graphic design principles of North Carolina. The Tarheels do such a great job of making clean, modern, and easy-on-the-eyes graphics – I’d love to see what Texas Southern’s page would look like with UNC’s graphic design prowess.

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I think Texas Southern’s maroon and grey colors would look great spotlighted in in this type of graphic style.

What could North Carolina adopt from Texas Southern?

I’d love to see North Carolina mix up their content with a little more “on the spot” (less scheduled) content, like Texas Southern does (photo albums, Facebook Live, etc.):

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While this “raw” content isn’t as nicely packaged, polished, and fine-tuned as North Carolina’s, there’s a certain authentic, homey feeling to it that’s really appealing. As a Social Media Manager, I’m always trying to strike that right balance between scheduled out content and raw, “on-the-spot” stuff like you see from the Tigers.

Enough social media talk, let’s kick back and watch the games begin!

Go Tigers! Go Tarheels! (and Gig ‘Em Aggies!)

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