It’s almost that time again when sports bars hit capacity, employees call in sick and millions of Americans fill out brackets predicting the last team standing in the NCAA basketball tournament.
March Madness, which runs from March 14 to April 3, is a major cultural phenomenon you can tap into with your social media marketing. The seemingly obvious choice would be to have customers fill out brackets and issue a reward to the one who earns the most points; however, this could violate state, local and federal gambling laws.
A safer (and more creative) approach: design your own competition modeled after the seven-round elimination tournament.
Garden & Gun, a Southern lifestyle magazine based in Charleston, South Carolina, uses this annual event to drive thousands of readers to its Facebook page and website multiple times over the course of three weeks. In recent years, the magazine has hosted a “Southern Foods Battle” and “Greatest Southern Towns Bracket.”
Garden & Gun comes up with 64 contestants (just like in the actual tournament) and divvies them up in four divisions, such as “beverages,” “snacks,” “gourmet entrees” and “desserts.” During each round, timed in conjunction with the basketball games, readers pick their favorite choice among a pair, eliminating the losers until only two picks remain. The magazine talks up the competition on Facebook, racking up hundreds of likes, comments and shares, but the actual voting occurs on a landing page on the website.
You can give G&G’s tact a floral spin with a “Battle of the Buds” contest. You could even use it as a way to educate customers. You could choose divisions like “everyday flowers,” “bulb flowers,” “exotic and tropical flowers” or “premium bulbs.” (Check out past Fresh Choices columns in Floral Management for some inspiration.) During each round, share photos of the contestants and fun facts about each, touting their excellence. You’ll get engagement for a significant swath of time while boosting awareness and appreciation for your blossoms.