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For college basketball fans, March, not December, is the most wonderful time of the year. Selection Sunday means brackets, buzzer-beaters, and millions of fans Googling where the school that just upset the No. 1 seed is located.

It’s hard to replicate the national visibility that institutions receive if they are selected for the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments. The buzz, campus excitement and alumni pride at any level (NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, etc.) when your team has the chance to compete for a basketball national championship is hard to match throughout an academic year.

Here are four ways that your institution, regardless of size or basketball competitive level, can capitalize on the excitement of March Madness.

Take Advantage of the Spotlight

Consider your institution’s name being read during a basketball championship selection show as a gift that will keep on giving. Fanbases expect the athletic department-related social media channels and websites to focus on basketball in March, but the overarching institutional channels can share in the spotlight.

In 2015, I managed the institutional social media channels at the University of Iowa. The men’s basketball team heard its name on Selection Sunday in a matchup against Davidson, so I created a post on X (formerly Twitter) reaching out to the opponent. Once Davidson replied, I knew we could have some banter.

The back-and-forth on social media drew national media attention, including a reply from the Golden State Warriors after the University of Iowa account asked if Davidson’s own Stephen Curry had exhausted his eligibility. Iowa’s institutional social media accounts gained numerous followers, which meant more views of our academic and brand-related content.

Institutions never know when Cinderella’s slipper might fit during an upset run like Butler or VCU in 2011, Florida Gulf Coast in 2013, Loyola-Chicago in 2018, and many others. Being prepared with content across platforms, whether it’s social media, your institutional website or emails to prospective students about the buzz surrounding the institution, can lead to increased awareness and engagement with your target audiences.

Legendary Moments

The coast-to-coast layup that sealed a victory. The buzzer-beater three-pointer to win a national championship. No matter the division or level, tournaments in March create moments that live forever. Alumni can remember exactly where they were when one of “those moments” happened for their alma mater. You can take advantage of March Madness excitement by polling your fans about their favorite moments in school history or ask them to submit their own stories about a historic March event. Take this user-generated content and let fans take a trip down memory lane with you as the guide.

Showcase Your Outcomes

March Madness doesn’t have to be focused on your own institution’s basketball teams. Maybe a coach that is being featured during the tournament got his or her start at your school. How about a former student athlete that is now on a successful coaching staff? Is one of your alums a member of a national broadcast team or working behind-the-scenes as a producer or director? Examples like these allow your institution to connect to March Madness while showcasing outstanding outcomes—stories that prospective students say they want to see from a college or university on their list.

Enjoy the Madness

Not a “basketball school?” Don’t have the opportunity to jump into the national spotlight? That doesn’t mean your audiences won’t enjoy some March Madness-themed content for your institution. People love filling out brackets in March. Let fans complete a bracket made of “favorite places on campus” or “most famous alumni.” Create spaces on campus for game watches that allow students to unwind in between classes and promote that type of activity to your prospective audiences. You don’t have to be in the tournament to take advantage of the atmosphere surrounding it.

In the whirlwind of March Madness, institutions of any size or division can leverage the thrill of the moment, regardless of tournament participation. From sparking engaging banter on social media to immortalizing legendary moments through alumni stories, showcasing outcomes beyond the court and creating campus buzz, March offers countless opportunities for institutions to captivate audiences, forge long-lasting connections and enjoy the madness.

Aaron Blau is the VP of Education at Primacy, a nationally recognized experience agency that accelerates growth by building exceptional brand experiences.