Social Madness competition measures businesses’ social media prowess

A new March Madness-style competition put on by American City Business Journals puts corporate social media front and center.

For Social Madness, the growth of a company’s social media presence is measured by tracking the number of votes it receives on three platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Companies that increase their likes, followers, connections, etc. score points for the competition.

“Local winners enter brackets where they’re paired off against one another,” says Don DePerro, president and publisher at Columbus Business First. “Three local winners, as defined by their size −large companies with 500 or more associates, medium with 100 to 499 associates, and small companies with fewer than 100 associates− will compete against similar-sized companies. Then the local winners from our 40 cities, as well as from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, will move on to a national bracket, where they will compete for the national Social Media brand championship.”

DePerro says businesses should participate in Social Madness for a few reasons. One, it can act as a catalyst for setting their social media plans in motion. Two, businesses are always looking to attract fans, and the contest is another reason to push that effort. And, three, the contest’s local sponsor, Milenthal-DelGrosso will offer social media tips and host webinars where participants can ask questions and glean insights from each other.

Prizes will be awarded at the national level, and local winners will be publicized by Columbus Business First.

“With our local sponsor, there has been talk about awarding the winners from each category −small, medium, large business− with a short two-minute company overview video that the winners can use on their websites and in other promotional opportunities,” DePerro says.

Currently, more than 70 companies headquartered in Central Ohio have applied for Social Madness; that number is expected to climb to 100 very soon.

The only city with more participating businesses than Columbus is Atlanta.

“But for Columbus to rank second among our 40 business newspapers, when you consider we publish in cities the size of Boston,San Francisco, Philadelphia, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Miami and many others, is absolutely outstanding,” DePerro says.

It’s important for participants to keep in mind that social media works when companies have something to say, he says, adding that too many businesses set up social media accounts, but have a hard time gaining traction.

“Businesses need to understand what their target audiences want from them in terms of communications, and then create that content on behalf of their audiences before they can expect a robust building of fans,” he continues. “It’s a process and doesn’t happen overnight, and there’s no silver bullet. You need to create content and test its effectiveness, and then do it again and again, and then measure what type of content inspires follower growth.”

To learn more about Social Madness, visit