One of those things that you’re not quite sure will ever actually happen… except today, it finally has. About time! I’ll update this throughout the Singapore Grand Prix weekend no doubt, but for the moment, how wonderful is it to see Formula One Management (FOM) treating social media as a promotional tool rather than a threat.
Retweets! Pictures! @F1 has landed in the year 2014! I think it is important to note that, as of writing, FOM does not have a presence on Facebook. Should they choose to turn this into an official page, they will automatically have over three million likes, triple than their current Twitter total.
Just before practice one, we had a fantastic infographic (see above), which as of writing has had over 300 retweets. The simplest ideas go far, and this is something that I have advocated in the past, simple things such as that can help introduce a new fan to the sport. Throughout the remainder of the session, the Twitter feed tweeted out World Feed images, such as Kimi Raikkonen’s brake fire and Nico Rosberg tearing apart his wing mirror. Unsurprisingly, Pastor Maldonaldo was the first person to appear on the feed with a smashed up car during practice two. Both of them have been retweeted a lot, and it goes to show how much difference images make to the interactivity that a Twitter feed can have, I’m sure @SkySportsF1 can advocate to this. I do wonder if Sky will still be tweeting out World Feed images going forward, or whether that is now in FOM’s hands, we will find out come tomorrow…
A point I made early on in practice one was that the #SingaporeGP should be integrated into the World Feed. Coincidentally I’m sure, less than two minutes later, that actually happened! It’s something that I hope will continue throughout the weekend, as I mentioned in the tweet, its important for Formula 1 to drive the conversation online, to get a new generation of online fans involved. The more the World Feed and Twitter are integrated going forward, the better. Messages, such as the #SingaporeGP in that respect, works. That continued into practice two, infographics becoming a popular trend with the official Twitter handle looking at the battle between team-mates throughout the session.
The message “Join the Conversation: #SingaporeGP” was more frequently seen throughout practice three and qualifying. Useful, and as mentioned above helps direct traffic online, it is worth remembering now that Facebook is adopting hashtags. In that sense, it is a social media platform neutral message, as it does not directly refer to either Facebook or Twitter.
Unsurprisingly, infographics were featured less on their Twitter as we headed into the more frenetic part of the weekend, instead images from their World Feed were tweeted out at various points. In response to a point I made above, @SkySportsF1 were also tweeting out World Feed images, so there is no change going forward there. On occasion, I have on this blog looked at how F1 has interacted with Twitter during qualifying sessions, with various images on Twitter, the last analysis on here was from Austria in June. The picture there is significantly different to the one I posted on Twitter above. I called @F1 “the gateway to Formula 1” with good reason. With nearly a million followers, you can see why FOM needed to exploit Twitter, and it is brilliant to see that happening.
Michael in the comments below wonders if we could see video clips appear on their Twitter feed, perhaps in the form of seven second Vine’s. I don’t see that happening as broadcasters’ pay out millions for the rights to the World Feed content, for this year at least. Images are fine, but when we’re talking about video, it is a completely different ball game. Take Sky in the UK, for example. They’ve paid, in the region of £45 million for the rights to broadcast Formula 1. Would the cost of the rights be diminished significantly if FOM decided to start posting video clips on Twitter? I don’t know, and I suspect that is a longer term question for both broadcasters and FOM.
FOM took a different approach to their Twitter on Sunday for the race, with not one screenshot from the World Feed in sight.
All of the images on the Twitter feed during the race were data driven, either lap charts as seen above or fastest lap tables. I don’t know how well this worked really, and would have probably benefited from one or two World Feed images instead of all the content being data related. Either way, that concludes FOM’s first weekend in the social media world, and as noted above, it is great to see them finally using Twitter to their advantage, something that really should have happened several years ago.