Why MotoGP should embrace SnapChat and open up motorsport

snapchat logo over a MotoGP track.

Dorna Sports, the management company behind MotoGP – the premier class in motorcycle racing – recently advertised for a Social Media Coordinator with the role being responsible for all social media output from the organisation for the MotoGP World Championship. Social Media is something that I am close to having previously worked for a social media agency who trained and advised clients on the services, as well as working in-house for a North Sea company and was involved in the marketing side of the business as well as working on the web every day for the best part of the last decade.

Social Media has exploded over the past decade and with Facebook having over 1 billion active users, Twitter has over 300 million and Instagram and SnapChat also boasting users in their hundreds of millions. These tools have become an essential part of the marketing mix and name any business you can think of and chances are they either have a Facebook page or a Twitter profile.

MotoGP is currently active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Instagram with over 14 million followers across these networks so have built up a very large audience and shows the potential of the sport to build on this in the years to come.
They haven’t asked for my opinion ,but if I was in charge of the social media accounts for MotoGP this is what I would do:

SnapChat

SnapChat is the fastest growing social network at the moment and is gaining followers at a very high rate, amassing up to 100 million daily users in December 2015, just 4 years after launch. Recently brands and influential celebrities have bought into the network and begun posting content their on a regular basis.

Snapchat is a network where users share pictures and videos which are shown for a limited period of time (up to 10 seconds) before they are deleted. Users can send snaps to other users of the network, and there is also a chat section where users can send text messages between each other. As well as communicating with other users, all snaps are saved to your story which makes all snaps available for 24 hours.

Brands such as Sky Sports, MTV and Buzzfeed have started making dedicated content for the platform and I would invest heavily in this network if I was in charge of MotoGP’s social accounts. Images and videos from behind the scenes would give fans a greater insight into the sport and MotoGP staff would have access to all areas of the paddock. I would dedicate an entire team specifically to Snapchat content and leverage this opportunity to get a foothold within the platform whilst still in it’s infancy.

Live stories is a feature of Snapchat which any user can add their images or videos to related around an event. If each race weekend became a live story on Snapchat throughout the season, this would provide multiple angles and perspectives from users who were actually at the circuit. Other users at the circuit would be able to view live imagery from other parts of the complex, as well as giving users at home much greater access.

By creating exclusive video and image content for the platform, this will grow a larger audience for the sport and potentially a new audience as Snapchat users are younger in general than other social networks. By tapping into this younger audience, MotoGP can attract and maintain this audience that will hopefully follow the sport for many years to come.

Twitter

Twitter is a micro-blogging service where users post small updates of up to 140 characters, and has grown significantly over the last few years. MotoGP have been active on the site since 2009 and have built up 1.6 million followers since then, so they have a large following. Despite this large following, there are many more ways where the organisation could improve their activity on Twitter, with the biggest and most obvious one being that they should start engaging with other users.

Looking through their feed, they are currently using Twitter purely as a broadcast medium when it is designed, and much better used, as a conversational tool. Whilst over 1.6 million followers is impressive, I think it’s a relatively low number compared to the more than 10 million followers on Facebook. A simple way to gain more followers and brand recognition on Twitter would be to begin interacting with their followers.

In order to do this, they should aim to reply to each and every tweet that is sent to them. Whilst this may seem like a fanciful idea, that should be the mentality in order to expand their reach and increase their interaction. A dedicated team committed to Twitter should be empowered to take charge of the account so that there is someone replying 24 hours a day, with each  individual responsible being allowed to respond in a way they see fit at the time. Too many organisations send tweets and status updates through marketing departments and committees, and Twitter is far too fast paced an environment for that.

Race weekends offer a great opportunity to use services such as Periscope, a Twitter owned service, which allows live streaming across the web. Imagine watching a live stream from within the garage of Valentino Rossi or Marc Marquez during a practice session, or hearing from riders such as Danny Kent as soon as he steps off the bike. This would provide viewers with a previously unseen angle of the action and all that is required to achieve this is a smartphone and someone willing to record the action.

This combined with increased interaction on Twitter would lead to much higher brand recognition and awareness, with their follower count sure to increase. Whilst an increase in followers is desirable, the ultimate aim should be to increase the number of fans of the sport as well as entertaining the current fans.

Data

Data in motorsport is a closely guarded secret which teams and organisations like to keep close to their chest. Data is what teams use to develop their prototype motorbikes and clearly the teams don’t want to share that with anyone. The data I’m talking about has nothing to do with that aspect of the sport, instead I am talking about the data surrounding lap times, top speed, number of laps, top speeds etc at public tests and race weekends.

The data I would release if in a position to do so wouldn’t be anything sensitive, and would only be data which is in the public domain and released to journalists at each event. A couple of years ago I contacted Dorna to enquire about the release of data and any APIs etc that would allow access in order to build websites and apps with it, and was told that this wasn’t possible.

By creating an API that allows up to date access to data such as this would open up the sport and allow developers to use that data in hundreds of different ways and create a lot of content around the data and the sport, which will in turn increase awareness of the sport. With MotoGP and motorsports in general there is great interest in looking at the extreme data surrounding the races and equipment, and by allowing the raw data to be accessed and updated then it opens this up to a much wider community.

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