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Socially Inept F1
I think that Mr Ecclestone needs some mental help, as does FOM. Their recent comments on social media are a bit appalling. Every successful company employs people specifically to run their social campaign; and that is how you “make money” doing it.
If you take for instance, the adage that any publicity is good publicity, then they’ve already got it wrong up in FOM HQ. The point of social media is interaction and with the amount of people involved in social media now, interaction would come almost instantaneously. For example, the younger folk are interested in “selfies.”
Why then, doesn’t Bernie take some selfies with some of the many sports figures and actors/actresses that appear at the GPs? Not only is this hilarious, but it also builds that “wow, if LeBron James likes F1, I should have a look at it, too” mentality. That is how you build viewership. Make it relevant to a certain demographic.
You already have most F1 fans in your pocket. But its hard for us to find ways for other folks to commit. I’ve been watching since I was a young boy, and getting folks to understand why I watch now is difficult, especially in NASCAR-ville.
In reference to “making money” why don’t you open up your licensing Mr Ecclestone? I know big broadcasters are full of money bags, but this is 2014. If you can’t watch F1 on YouTube or directly on the website, you have lost people from the word go. We write on these sites so folks can have opinions on the races and even some opinions on what you lot have done for the sport.
There are YouTube video creators that make a reasonable amount of money just from the ads shown in their videos. There is no reason you can’t get into doing things like this. You have brands sponsoring the teams and there is no reason you couldn’t get them to sponsor the videos or pieces you post about the sport.
For example, Sauber F1 Team has taken hold of Google+ (my social media site of choice), and this is because of their implementation of a professional social media account. Not only do they provide excellent content like professional videos and photos, they truly interact with their fans by replying to their posts and comments.
In Austria, at the Friday morning press conference, a few questions were asked about social media and whether it felt like the commercial rights holder was against such media implementation. It felt like everyone answered on eggshells, unfortunately.
While most of the answers were calculated, which I understand, no one really hit the nail on the head there. Toto Wolff said “…we are on the verge of probably entering into a new era, where its going to transition into the digital world…” However, in the previous question about showcar teams, Wolff states they get 50,000 new likes on a good day on their Facebook page. I think these statements mostly sold me on the idea that there are few people in charge in Formula 1 that understand the value of social media.
So on one hand you say that social media is working out great for your brand, then in the next line of questioning you say you think you are embarking on a new digital platform? The digital platform is here, and it has been. Its waiting for you to take control of your commercially available content and make it available for people to watch, and more importantly, interact with.
To tell you how long this has been going on, Adam Parr of Williams had an interesting chat about social media, in 2011, “Rubens [Barrichello] has more than a million followers on Twitter, of whom a significant proportion are Brazilian. For Renault, Brazil is a key market and when Rubens is sitting in Grove at the launch of our new partnership and he’s tweeting that we’re back with Renault and this is fantastic news, a million people, who have opted to follow him, get an endorsement of Renault which is not commercially driven…How do you quantify what that’s worth? How many TV adverts of a Clio is that worth? He didn’t charge anything for that, there is no cost to that, but it just gives you an insight into the possibility. And that is nothing to do with how you broadcast race feeds.” These are the relationships that you enter into, when you hire a professional to be a part of your brand.
Another example is Alain “The Professor” Prost. He’d not ventured onto Twitter until July 23rd 2014.
As of the writing of this article he already has close to 7,000 followers. That’s 700 followers a day for someone who is a historical racing figure and part of a new FormulaE team. This is how social media works. The populous want to know what The Professor has to say, and Twitter is the perfect place to share it. He’s shared information about his FormulaE team, and a picture of him relaxing by the pool.
Formula 1 is a worldwide brand and it should stay that way. The more you limit your social stances for FOM and Formula 1, the more you are losing. Sometimes you have to take a chance and invest in something you aren’t sure will work.
This is one of those things. You don’t want to wait until you have to get into damage control to enter the social aspect of sport.