NASCAR is a professional sport portrayed, by many, as “people driving a car and turning left,” but surprisingly the NASCAR fan base has gone anywhere but turn left. In fact, the professional sport has been called by many sports commentators as the “the largest spectator sport.” According to Search Engine Journal, NASCAR has a strong fan base of over 75 million fans, and sells over 3 billion dollars to fans annually in products and tickets, while broadcasting their weekly races in over 150 different countries. For the past 5 years, NASCAR viewer ratings have been right behind NFL viewer ratings, and race fan attendance itself has always been in the fast lane.
Here is a look at 7 ways Social Media has helped NASCAR grow in popularity:
1. Twitter pairing with NASCAR started the Social Media push
NASCAR’s latest marketing plan includes a push for greater online presence which, Forbes documented, NASCAR’s partnership with Twitter back in 2012. Thus, creating their first social media outlet, aside from NASCAR’s main website, to be used in creating NASCAR updates and posting race updates.
2. Sharing daily related content and updates
NASCAR loves to keep fans updated and entertained. Search Engine Journal says NASCAR accomplishes this, “by posting videos of previous races or interviews with some of the drivers on video sharing sites”, like NASCAR.com, NASCAR’s mobile app, and social media sites. The daily postings of content and videos creates interest and excitement about the next big race to current fans, and even attracts new fans.
3. Expanding their Twitter presence
With NASCAR providing daily content via Twitter, Forbes pointed out that the Twitter.com/#NASCAR hashtag has received over 2.25 million tweets by 275,000 contributors in 2012 alone. While NASCAR’s official twitter account, @NASCAR, has grown from 800,000 followers in November 2012 to almost 1.6 million followers in October 2014.
4. Expanding their Facebook/Instagram presence
The NASCAR Facebook page has grown from 2.4 million likes to over 4.4 million likes from 2012-2014. Thus, showing the online followers have almost doubled on both Facebook and Twitter social media platforms. While the NASCAR Instagram page had over 60,500 followers at the end of 2012, and today have over 180,000 followers, according to Tuckahoe Strategies.
5. Expanding their target market using Social Media
Taylor Strategy conducted an independent survey finding that back in late 2012, 61% of people ages 18-34 were more interested in NASCAR than they were the previous year. Forbes also found the same study conducted by Taylor Strategy, finding that 54% of avid NASCAR fans said they regularly visited social media sites for NASCAR content, with the percentage jumping to 78% for fans between the ages of 18-34, which explains why the NASCAR fan base has increased.
6. Easing off social media regulations for drivers and teams
Forbes pointed out the reason for high social media followers and interactions is due to NASCAR not having strict social media rules on race day use, unlike other professional major sports leagues. This freedom allows for drivers and teams to reach out to fans and send them person shout-out messages and warm wishes to them.
7. Integrating individual driver and team social media pages
As a result, many drivers and teams have social media pages which display what the drivers and teams are up to, including great fan interaction activities. Most drivers have their own method of reaching out to their fan base, whether it is a weekly podcast, a monthly newsletter with free giveaways, autograph sessions for fans before a race, or even a meet-and-greet with the driver.
It is remarkable to hear a professional sport that has people driving fast cars around a racetrack once a week continues to grow in popularity. The future is shifting into high gear for NASCAR. With NBC’s recent 10-year contract broadcast rights signing, and NASCAR’s pairing with Youtube, featuring previous full-length races. NASCAR is a living example of how a business can successfully incorporate social media platforms to help their business steer clear of an accident.