Five Tips to Cover Motorsports Events on Social

When you are covering a motorsports event, social media can be fast, flexible and unforgiving. You need to be prepared for anything to happen on the track during the race. At the same time, you want to look for opportunities to get candid shots of driver and fan interaction.

Little girl autograph
Keep an eye out for fan and driver interaction.

1. Show them what they can’t see on TV

At any given motorsports event, there are a hundred things going on at one time. I approach brand or sponsor social media coverage as the opportunity to take your fans either beyond what they see on TV or to places they wouldn’t normally have access to.

Do a quick video or Boomerang of the drivers practicing their exchange, or the crew going through the pit stop execution. Take a quick tour of the team trailer. Better yet, borrow a golf cart and head out to where the die hard race fans are camping and tailgating. That could equal footage for days, but some might not be shareable to your fans.

IMSA tire inspection
Give the fans a behind the scenes view.

2. Plan an interview list.

Between the practices, warm ups, track walk and meet and greet in the paddock, there will be time to get a quick video.

Don’t limit yourself to the team, race officials, TV personalities and the flag guy are all great one minute videos. To make sure you make good use of everyone’s time, make sure you know ahead of time what one or two questions you want to cover, and be ready to film on the fly.

3. Each social media platform has a purpose

Do not, post the same thing on each platform by hitting the button and cross-posting!

Twitter is used while the race is going on. Be part of and follow the ongoing conversation between fans, the series, track and teams. If you have enough follower engagement, I’ve had Twitter meet ups and hashtag contests while on site.

Facebook has evolved with the Live feature, so some of those interviews could be live as well as post race coverage in the winner’s circle. If you secure an interview ahead of time, promote it before you go live. I also use Facebook for pre-event promotion especially if there will be brand activation on site with a call to action.

For example, I would make a video slideshow using team promo photos and other photos I may have taken at a previous race. Then I would boost that video via a Brand Awareness campaign, targeting an audience who follows the series. Targets are not limited to the type of car that is sponsored by my brand, but should also include others who race in the series. You can also target fans who like other sponsors of the series and teams.

Now that Instagram has introduced the carousel, you’re not limited to posting one picture from the event. Pick your top five and post them and include a video snippet.

kid with front fender
Each sponsor, race series, team and driver should be tagged here.

4. Follow and Hashtag appropriately

Before the motorsports event, make sure you are following the series, teams, drivers, manufacturers and sponsors. Take note of the official hashtags that each are using so when you post you include those to be part of the conversation.

If you’re going to promote your own hashtag, first make sure it isn’t already being used. I like to use Tagboard. Then promote it in your Call to Action and graphics prior to the event. If no one knows it exists, they won’t use it.

5. It’s okay to be a fan, but you’re there for the brand

Whether you’re a lifelong series fan, or it’s your first time covering a motorsports event, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the race.

It might sound obvious, but if you’re posting on brand social media platforms, you are expected to maintain their persona. Before you hit that post button, make double and even triple sure that you are posting as the page and not as yourself.

Regardless of what series you are covering, there is nothing like anticipation and the sound of the engines revving waiting to see the green flag drop. Showcase that energy through your social media coverage. And make the teams and drivers you are sponsoring ¬†part of your brand’s persona through social media.

Follow and Follow Back

Social media is a reciprocal relationship of “Follow and Follow Back”. This applies to anyone who has a presence on social media.

Follow selectively

That doesn’t mean you need to follow every one. In fact, I’m a bit discriminating about who I will follow back. Especially if it seems like all I’m getting is a sales pitch.

What I want to do is build my network. In my opinion, building and maintaining a social media relationship is similar to going to a networking group or being part of a group online.

As I continue to build my personal brand and business, I want to be able to rely on my network for advice, opinion and input. And you never know when that relationship will come in handy!

Where others “miss the boat”

It’s cliche, but I see brands missing the proverbial boat when it comes to the Follow and Follow Back methodology.

If you are an established brand like Coca-Cola or BMW,  following back is not the necessity it is for smaller brands.

Brands who want brand awareness must be proactive in their engagement with others. This happens by being aware of hashtags, and following and tagging relevant brands, media and influencers in the industry.

Get found by others

Case in point. On Instagram, if you post a photo of a 1968 Fastback Mustang, then you should be including every Mustang hashtag that makes sense including #Ford and #FordMustang.

Use hashtags to find content
Include hashtags that allow your content to be found.

Don’t forget to include media tags to your favorite publications like #musclemustangsandfastfords. A saavy social media manager may pick up that you are an enthusiast, and could be a great brand ambassador or contributor.