Taking my love for auto racing from being a casual race fan to actually being involved with a team has been quite an experience for me. When I first got involved on the social media side of a team about a year ago, my experience with Facebook was all I really had to go on, and honestly, it was for my own personal use.
I was given my own clients to work with when I first started, and all I had to do really was to provide pictures and information as to where certain drivers were starting and finished in a race. That was the easy part. It was when I went out on my own, I started to realize how much more involved I needed to be.
This year was my first full year of being on my own, so I did a lot of learning by the seat of my pants. I started the season off with my first press release. Since I didn’t and to this day don’t have a separate website to promote my business or my clients I found that I needed to do some research to understand how I was going to be successful with this. Facebook was my social media application of choice to start. I would write a press release and send it to all the media contacts that I had made over the past year, which was fine, until it came time to share it with the 497 “likes” on Facebook. How was I supposed to link to my site, I didn’t have. So I learned quickly that I would need to post any releases as a picture.
When I first started working with Emily she had just about 400 people that liked her page. I thought, well, here are 400 of her closest friends reading what I wrote. Today, she has 681 likes to her page, and continues to get one almost every day. Talk about a freak out.
When posting information about a race team, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been the three apps of choice. Facebook as I noted above, has grown by almost 400 people liking the team page. The team also has a Twitter account that automatically updates when something is posted to the Face book page. I decided to add the Instagram account as part of her social media repertoire, but it really hasn’t taken off like I had hoped.
In my opinion, the Facebook page is the social media app that most appeals to the race fan here in the Northeast. It seems to be the best vehicle out there to reach the fans and gets the most interaction, unlike Twitter and Instagram. The Twitter account has gained a few followers this season, but nothing like what we have seen with Facebook
I think that the fan actually feels more like they can connect with the drivers through Facebook in the series that I work with. They can post congratulations for a successful race, they can give her words of encouragement or they can ask her questions about something that may be going on. During the race, I spend most of it updating the fans with where the drivers are in the race and at what lap. In the past, I was given advice that you don’t want to give the race fan that kind of information, because you want them to come out to the track to see it in person. That is a great point, but if you are a fan of a certain driver and cannot make it to the track that week to see them race, then it makes sense to keep them updated on how things are going on race day. To me you want to keep the fan engaged and coming back to see what else it is you have to say.
On a much larger scale, like the Nascar Sprint Cup Series or Nationwide Series, Twitter is the app of choice to interact with drivers. More and more drivers in the series have Twitter accounts and tweet pretty much all day from the race track as well as during the week. It makes the fans feel more like they are a part of the driver’s everyday life as some of them will open up and have a question and answer with their fans.
While on a personal level, I love using my Twitter account to post my casual thoughts and to be involved in certain “sports” fan groups. However, this summer taught me that, for my PR business Facebook is the winner, hands down, to keep the fans in tune with what is going on.