From Facebook Live to interacting with fans, NASCAR drivers are some of the most engaging.
NASCAR drivers are more easily accessible in 2017 than ever before. From the sport’s most popular face; Dale Earnhardt Jr., to parody NASCAR Twitter accounts, fans always have an outlet on social media.
NASCAR, like other companies and businesses must sell a brand — a brand in which has not done very well in recent years. Talent and good racing alone do not seem to cut it for the average race fan, or person interested in new sports, especially of which can last four hours and 500 miles. That is where social media and popularity come into play.
It’s no joke that Dale Jr. is doing something right off the track for NASCAR and new interests.
With his 14 most popular driver awards and over 2.1 million Twitter followers, NASCAR expands to more than just Sundays at the race track.
Earnhardt has the ability to excite followers with live videos after races, turn the clock back with pictures of his legendary father and draw laughter with his sarcastic wit.
Averaging nearly 400 retweets each tweet, and tens of interactions with fans, Jr. alone has transformed the landscape of NASCAR’s crowd marketing.
“By the end of my career, thanks in large part to social media, I’ve really gained a new appreciation for my fans’ dedication, their enthusiasm when we succeed, and their encouragement when we fall short of our goals,” said Earnhardt.
Since the 2016 NASCAR season, Dale Jr. has gained over 238,000 twitter followers, per ESPN.
According to Hookit, a social media analytics company, Dale Jr.’s earned value for sponsors lands at roughly $21.8 million. This ‘free advertising’ has led to a multitude of exposure for his sponsors and Hendrick Motorsports.
According to NASCAR, in 2016, the sport drew over 256 million social media engagements, an 87% increase from 2015, and over 670,000 app downloads.
Since NASCAR added content to Snapchat, it has seen a 14% increase in numbers with ‘live events’ where drivers, team members and fans contributed their experiences at the Daytona 500.
Digital films such as ‘Ready.Set.Chase’ had a huge impact on the viewership and interactive landscape in 2016 — garnering over 13,000 views.
Sunday racing has also expanded beyond just Fox and NBC on TV, but to other platforms: “If they’re watching on their mobile app, if they’re watching via NASCAR.com, if they’re watching on television, it’s our job as the league to provide all of that great content in all of those places”, said Jill Gregory, NASCAR’s Chief Marketing Officer “and then make sure that we deliver the right experience for each of those platforms.”
Like other sports, mobile content and short ‘interest grabbing’ videos are bound to hook the viewer and spur interests.
Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski’s wit and humor spur all sorts of fan interactions. Keselowski says he loves engaging with fans but wants to do so in unique and authentic ways with out making sponsors mad.
Keselowki recently live-tweeted the Coca-Cola 600 after he was wrecked out of the race on lap 20.
Ryan Blaney of The Wood Brothers Racing has also had a big impression on younger fans on Twitter. Blaney, who notched his first NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series win at Pocono took to Twitter to celebrate and show off his post-race fun.
After his first win, Blaney gained over 20,000 Twitter engagements and hundreds of new followers, allowing hundreds of social media users and fans to acknowledge Blaney as one of the future NASCAR superstars.
Blaney also comes to the table as a outwardly spoken Star Wars fan, something millennials can relate to and enjoy.
As of June 16th, NASCAR’s largest social media impact came from Joey Logano.
Logano promised to donate $10,000 in honor of his 10,000th tweet — he delivered in less than 24 hours.
Over 11 thousand people retweeted the request giving Logano the opportunity to donate $10,000 to the Habitat for Humanity.
NASCAR’s viewership has been down over previous seasons, but there is no shortage of talent or social media prowess. NASCAR is moving the ranks as one of the most marketable sports in America.
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