Within the sport of auto racing, across the board, they are huge users of social media. You can’t go to a race track without seeing a hash tag that can be used when you are tweeting about something going on in the sport. Every team, from NASCAR to Indy Car and all other forms in between use Facebook and Twitter at a minimum and just recently Instagram has begun to become a popular app. You can’t look at a car or a driver and not see a website, twitter handle or a “follow me on Facebook” somewhere. “After winning one of the most popular victories in recent Indianapolis 500 memory, IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan took to Instagram and expressed his joy to his legion of fans worldwide with a picture of him pouring the traditional winner’s milk over his head, accompanied by a single word: “Yesssssssss”.” (Knell, 2013) Enter the campaign that Indy Car used to bring more fans into the sport:
The results from this campaign exceeded what the sport was looking for, and helped them to gain new fans, and boost their social media presence.
It’s interesting how NASCAR has embraced the use of social media much more wholeheartedly than any other form of racing. They have embraced social media so much that they actually have a control room in Charlotte NC where they have a team that monitors the number of NASCAR related tweets, especially when something happens on the track. “This is how the race for information unfolds inside NASCAR’s new Fan and Media Engagement Center, where every morsel of Twitter and Facebook action — 107,946 social media mentions in the case of Bristol’s race day — is tracked, collected and catalogued in hopes of better navigating the information age.” (Ryan, 2013) NASCAR is always looking to keep their fans engaged, but it almost cost Brad Keselowski some serious money. During a rain delayed Daytona 500, the cars finally got back out on the track and were running the race fairly late at night. During a red flag, Keselowski had his phone in his car and was tweeting to his followers. NASCAR went ballistic, and has banned any driver from having their phone in the car now. Being a fan as well as working in the industry, these kinds of social media applications can really show the average race fan the side of the sport that most people never have the opportunity to see.
For my PR clients, I make sure that they all have Instagram account as well. It is important to be able to show the garage area or pit road to the fans so that they can feel like they are all truly apart of the sport.
Knell, M. (2013, May 29). How Social Media is Helping to Bring Fans Back to IndyCar. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from http://socialfresh.com/how-social-media-is-helping-to-bring-fans-back-to-indycar/
Ryan, N. (2013, September 24). NASCAR hitches ride to social media, technology. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nascar/2013/09/24/nascar-fan-media-engagement-center-social-media-twitter-facebook-bristol/2864237/