Voice of the #F1 Fans – Socially Inept #F1

Editor’s note: TJ13 began with a desire to offer a ‘fans’ perspective’ of this glorious sport of ours; warts and all. There are no agenda’s behind the articles and certainly no censorship from corporate interests. As a growing community, many articles are written by passionate fans and we’d like to encourage more debate and more doodles and muses from you all.

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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.”

fernando-alonso-selfie-monza-podiumWhy 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.

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13 responses to “Voice of the #F1 Fans – Socially Inept #F1

  1. What can you say about an article like that… first of all I agree completely. Your arguments are good and I have no reason to oppose the logic behind them. But having said that I’d like to quote one of our Google+ friends that really struck me. The quote was something like “You’re applying logic to a world where logic hasn’t been seen for a long time.”. The logic behind F1 is so far removed from reality that this kind of logical thinking is simply not understood. Further proof that F1 has a serious problem for the future but for the moment there is hardly anything that can be done about it. And the depressing thing is there is no one who is allowed into Bernie’s castle in the sky and has the balls and intelligence to make the poison dwarf king understand the value for F1. And if there is such a person he must remember that the only argument that might change the poison dwarf king’s mind is when he/she explains that social media can increase profits 😉

  2. Well written and well thought out.
    Soon enough the rich old men in control of various sports will die off ( football/soccer and Formula1 mainly) and we can bring it all into the modern era.

  3. All part of the cycle. I think Bernard is way too smart and not as senile at all as some here would wish. No.
    He’s aligning everything to buy back the sport.
    Look at all contracts he signs with classic tracks. He knows he needs them. Look at history: Lauda had him by the balls? No. Lauda was worth more then 1 million, but didn’t realise it. Bernard did.
    And that’s Bernie: always playing for the now but with an eye to the future: Tamara and Petra know social media and they will take over – or one of them – and he will watch from the devil’s office and smile.

  4. Where is the Grim reaper when you really need him. He is the only one with the power to change F1 any time soon I’m afraid.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if Bernie thinks that social media is a bunch of washed up journo’s having a chat over a pint.

  5. It’s amazing how resistant to change and communications evolution so called captains of industry are. It’s not as if it costs anything and it’s not like they have to do it themselves! All tools and resources are there, ready to go… Get one monkey per team to focus on it for only 1hr per day. FFS.

  6. Yep, selfies will save F1. Google+ will save F1. Hey look at the wonderful stuff Lotus is doing with social media! They’re so cool!

    Good grief. Social media ninjas never fail to amuse me.

    I wonder if Lotus’ suppliers are accepting retweets as payment towards overdue bills yet?

    • I’m not a social media ninja, how can I be when I don’t have or use a Google+ or Facebook account and my Twitter one has languished without me for months now?

      Having said that, it’s not about direct ways to make money from social media, because that can only work for those people or companies directly involved in the operation of it. See Facebook and Twitter for good examples on how to make money that way.

      For anyone else merely using social media, it is all about the indirect ways of raising its own value. That can be done by increasing brand awareness, but it can also be helpful to reach a new audience, so new people will become interested in the sport and buy your merchandise for example. Even if a team won’t profit directly from some new viewers on the screen or visitors at the track, an upward trend will sooner or later be noticeable in their share of the FOM payout.

  7. Don’t forget that it was also Toto Wolff who is the originator of the most stupid comment from anyone connected with F1: “the (social media) model does not work yet as you cannot monetise it”.

    That’s probably the same kind of thinking the rest of the F1 decision makers share, or we would have seen the first social media strategy of the sport by now.

    • um, Toto is correct. I know, because it’s my job to know.

      Social media can’t be monetized. Hashtags can’t bring back kidnapped girls in Nigeria. Your mom’s Facebook post about her computer being broken again doesn’t sell Dells.

      Social media is a bunch of meaningless time sucking blahblahblah, nothing more. It can’t be measured to $, so no one wants to pay for it. Go ahead and try to sell it, even to “progressive” companies. The best you will get is a limited investment test. You’ll run your brilliant social media program, and when you go back to sell them more, they’ll ask you “So how many more units of laundry detergent can be tied directly to the test?” and you’ll reply back with some gibberish about Likes and Fans, and they’ll laugh at you after you leave the room, and they’ll get back to do real business and making real money.

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