I found a lot of Do’s and Don’ts regarding Social Media on the internet when researching this blog article. This one was the most concise. Here’s another good one that lists top 10 of each.
If you have been following along with my Driver Marketing blog series or other Brand related articles then you probably have come across some Do’s and Don’ts advice that I’ve offered up. Bottom line: your social media is a Driver and Brand Marketing platform and your driver reputation is at stake with everything you post online, so most of the the rules are very common sense – like don’t be negative being the #1 Rule.
Here are my other Do’s and Don’ts:
Do create a website to secure your domain name. Then create your social media channels to match that name (which should be your Team or Driver’s name – avoid nicknames and using kart numbers unless that is the only way to distinguish yourself from others with same or similar names, or if your desired domain name is already taken). If the name is taken, then a variation of the name or using the “-” or “_” to separate words can be used. The names should be the same or similar across all online platforms. Don’t use your driver’s kart number in the website address or social media user names. Race numbers, although part of a driver’s brand, are not set in stone and often change during a racer’s career. Also, don’t let children create their own social media accounts without your help. The user names these kids come up with are over the top and no future sponsor will appreciate being associated with “Madmaxracer23” or “IhateAlgebra” – it doesn’t tell who the driver is and leaves no room for Brand Marketing. You and your driver have to remember that you can’t be like your peers on social media. You are a race car driver with big motorsports aspirations and that dictates that you take a more professional and PR savvy approach to these online platforms. Driver Marketing should be front and center and making sure your driver is “Marketable” is key to your overall and future success.
Do Maximize your Profile/Bio for effective driver/team branding. Each social network you have a profile on regardless of whether it’s Facebook or Pinterest has a bio section where you can input pertinent details about your brand. There’s typically room for a picture, short description, location, and a couple other relevant facts. Make sure you’re maximizing this space. Link to your website or Facebook Fan Page. You want the “About” section to be the same across the channels with the same user name if at all possible. If you are using a driver or team logo make sure you use it on all the sites to show consistency and to establish your Brand. Add a team or driver specific Hashtag as well. If you are Racing for a Cause be sure to include that with a link or logo.
Post consistently. You don’t want your channel or website (Blog) to go “Stale”. If you post too infrequently, your audience will forget that you exist and you will quickly fade into the deep dark recesses of their minds. However, if you are posting too often, you will become a complete nuisance and they will dread seeing your posts overcrowding their feed. For the beginner racer I suggest posting at least once a week on each of the different social media channels. You can stagger the sites for example you can post to Facebook on Mondays to give a race recap. PRO-TIP: You should post on Twitter at least once or twice per day to build brand engagement effectively, and it will not take too much time to complete.
Be Creative and let your personality shine! Your posts don’t just have to be race recaps or pictures of on-track action. Do you have a charity that your team supports or a cause that is near and dear to your driver? (aka: Racing for a Cause) Write a post about your sponsor or their product. Give a testimonial about another race venue, manufacturer or product that you use (even if they don’t sponsor you – you never where it might lead). Let your followers get to know you and your race team. Post a quiz or trivia question. Post a current news story related to racing that you found interesting and add a commentary on it. Tell your story! Be newsworthy.
Be positive. Give race recaps that people want to read and will make sponsors happy. Being a negative-Nancy or bully on Social Media will not build your fan base, nor make sponsors want to market with your brand. Don’t blame other drivers, the venue, track officials or inanimate objects for poor results. Take ownership and responsibility – fans want to hear the story, even an underdog story or driver errors can have entertainment value. Be Authentic! Be Humble! That’s endearing to race fans.
Give Sponsor shout-outs. Every chance you get you should be thanking your Sponsors and providing a link to their website or Facebook Page. You should have a dedicated Sponsor Page on your website and a Sponsor page App on your Facebook page (see Kaley Engstrom Racing). In addition to Sponsors, thank your fans too. Fans and sponsors will make or break a Motorsports career. Start the habit early and often. The ultimate goal for your Social Media Marketing Plan is to start and grow your Fan Base. This is what potential Sponsors and future investors as well as big car and team owners look at when picking drivers to offer deals to. Also for content, do a Sponsored Blog Post about your sponsor’s company or product, or if you do one on a company that you are trying to get to be your sponsor as an incentive and to show off your marketing savvy.
Use images: Remember that visual content is the most important element when it comes to Social Media Marketing. You have a great subject for pictures: a Driver in a race suit with a race kart most likely decked out in custom graphics. Also, don’t forget to post custom graphic images that you have created. I use Picmonkey.com to create my custom graphics, to edit an image or add text to an image. Picmonkey.com has a free service plan but for around $35 a year you can upgrade and get all their bells and whistles. I think it’s very worth the cost and a good investment in your marketing and content strategy. If you upgrade you can use all the fonts on your computer in addition to their fonts so this is a plus for Branding purposes when you need the fonts to match your marketing material.
Posting videos is a must as it is the current Social Media “Hot Button” and videos get a tone more views and shares than regular plain, image free, text posts do. The Facebook Live Stream is great for showing off your driver’s races. Then you can copy the video and upload it to your YouTube Channel. Another great idea is to post candid driver behind the scene videos, or “Webisodes”, where the driver is talking into the camera (kind of like being interviewed) and explaining a race, event, kart set-up, some mechanics or other topics that come up on race days. Tie that in with the on-track action and you will have a very good video that your fans will enjoy watching. It also is a good way to create a bond with your fans as they get to know you better doing these one-on-ones. Jett Hays did one during the Texas State Championship that I thought was well done. >>Click Here to watch it for yourself. And, I’ve said it before but I will say it again, A YouTube Channel is vital to your drivers racing career and marketing efforts. Here is my post on how to create a YouTube Channel. [Here’s a video that tells you how to copy videos from Facebook >>Click Here.]
Be honest. In the age of the internet, fact-checking comes second nature for most people. Also, most race venues or event promoters will post race results and/or Press Releases or other competitors will post race results that include your driver information. Don’t be bragging about results that were not honestly earned either. In other words, if you got a 1st place but there were only 2 karts then that’s not necessarily an ‘earned win’ and shouldn’t be over-celebrated in a posting in most cases. PRO-TIP: Use the Driver Workbook/Spreadsheet to record your race results and keep all your race data in one organized file. You will be so glad you kept up with this important information later on when you are creating a Race Resume or filling out Driver Development or Sponsored Contest Applications. And when that time comes, being honest about your results and accomplishments will be scrutinized by the selection committees and team owners and they will check it against your online posted results as they do their due diligence on driver background checks. There are only a handful of opportunities out their and you need to make sure you position your driver in the best possible light so that he or she stands out from the other, equally if not more, talented racers who want the same spot as you.
Be brief. Don’t Be boring. Your Blog and Facebook posts can be as long as you want, while Twitter is limited to 140 characters. Save your Press Release or long blog posts for your website and use shorter posts or links to posts for social media channels. Utilizing hashtags is also important but don’t over do them. #nolikesarunninghashtagthatgoesonforever. Note: Use the hashtag #KAMKartway when posting pictures to Instagram so that you show up in our KAM Instagram Feed. Just another way to promote your driver and show support for your home track.
Be helpful. Share or post items of general interest for other racer or for those who may be looking to get into karting. Being helpful is the number one way to generate post shares and likes and build a good reputation. Share How To Video’s or engine builder and/or kart set-up tips. Share your knowledge to help other kart racers who may be just starting out or who are on the fence about getting into karting. There are other topics that you can cover under “Being Helpful” so you don’t have to limit yourself to karting.
Build your email list. Add an email sign-up form or button on your website and link to Facebook. Provide links to Twitter and Instagram too periodically. Then create a “Team Newsletter” once a month or every quarter and email to your list. I use Mailchimp for my newsletter and email list. It’s a free service and very user friendly with app integration for most social media and website builder (& WordPress) sites. You can do double duty with your content delivery and write a blog post where you only put the first paragraph or summary on the newsletter and they have to click the link to go to your website to read the entire article. This email list is important and will show sponsors and car owners that you have a following of “Readers” also called subscribers. What ever you call them they are part of your Fan Base that you want to build as large as you can. Your Fan Base is the target market of your potential sponsors and they are the reason why you get that big cash deal or not. Sponsors are not just going to give you money in exchange for a sticker on your kart wing. They want a tangible ROI with an audience that will drive sales (or give them the numbers they want in exchange for a sponsorship as in community outreach). Your Fan Base and email list is the biggest selling point you have and having a talented driver alone is not going to cut it in motorsports today.
Now it your turn.
Have you started your Social Media Marketing Strategy yet? The sooner the better to better your chances of creating and building a strong Fan Base. Remember your online reputation is everything and Driver Marketing is not a luxury you can put on the back burner. Driver Marketing and PR is a must do element of your race program if you want to succeed and move up t o the next higher level of competition. It is crucial if you want to go to the highest level in motorsports as a professional race car driver.
If you have questions or concerns let me know – leave a comment to start a conversation. I’d love to help you get started.