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Volume 23 No. 18
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The Zion Effect: Social Media

A TIMELINE OF FOLLOWERS

Diehard basketball fans knew the name Zion Williamson by the time he started his junior season of high school in 2016. His thunderous dunks, incredible combination of size and strength, and engaging smile at age 16 drew comparisons to LeBron James. Fans naturally wanted to know more about the young phenom, so they began flocking to his social media accounts on Instagram and Twitter. By the time he committed to the Blue Devils on Jan. 20, 2018, Williamson already had 1 million followers on Instagram.

 

HELD TO ACCOUNT

Nowhere is Williamson’s impact more evident than on social media. He officially became a Blue Devil on July 1 and since then Duke’s basketball account, @dukembb, has added 285,000 Instagram followers. That’s more than the total number of followers for every basketball program but two — North Carolina and Kentucky. Total Instagram followers:

 

INTERACTION ON IG

Williamson’s own Instagram account has a 16.6 percent interaction rate (percent of posts that have been liked, commented on or shared) compared to the accounts for Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky.

FEATURED ACT

No one in college basketball drives to the basket as ferociously as Williamson and no one drives traffic on social media like him either. Nine of the Blue Devils’ top 10 Instagram posts since July featured Zion prominently, and four of the top 10 were exclusively about him. @dukembb’s top 10 Instagram posts by total users reached (number of unique accounts that saw the post) since Zion arrived in July:


1. Top plays from Kentucky

901,000


3. Zion "He's just a dunker."

872,000


4. Duke freshmen SI cover

707,000


7. Throwback vs. Virginia

652,000


8. Zion block vs. Virginia

651,000


9. Workout video

646,000

View this post on Instagram

Energetic & agile. 🗣💨 🔵😈

A post shared by Duke Men's Basketball (@dukembb) on


10. Reddish buzzer beater

601,000