How the NCAA’s online audience soared to 1 million

The college athletics organization uses social media to engage fans and answer critics—and it’s not all about football and March Madness.

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Some communicators use Twitter to lob Nerf balls of corporate niceness when responding to critics, tweeting “Thanks!” and “Appreciate your views!”

Not so at the National Collegiate Athletic Association, where a VP of communications drills hardballs like, “Nice try. Read the transcript,” (to the author of a book about money and pro sports) and “Wrong again Jay” (to ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas).

Offering gentle guidance to the media is one prong of the NCAA’s two-part digital strategy, launched under Ronnie Ramos, managing director of digital communications.

The NCAA is both building its fan base and seeking to correct misinformation on the sort of issues that can blow up and dominate the national sportscasts. Athletic games, after all, are an American passion, so the debate on Twitter rivals that in a Los Angeles sports bar on the eve of the USC-UCLA game. And the NCAA wants to take part.

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