I began my public relations career working primarily with a variety of internships. In a number of these positions, I worked with NASCAR brands and racetracks.
Having worked around motorsports for about four years, it was interesting to watch the sport change as the popularity of social media grew. I can remember in 2008 when Twitter really started to take off with many brands, journalists and drivers trying to utilize this new way of engaging race fans.
Now, four years later, NASCAR has become dominated by social media, especially Twitter. One of the best examples of this was when Brad Keselowski garnered over 100,000 new followers on Twitter while the Daytona 500 was under red flag conditions.
With that single event, NASCAR was forever changed showing other sports that NASCAR was not stuffy and behind-the-times. NASCAR was on the brink of something big.
Last weekend was the racing world was forever changed with the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR. This was the first time in the history of sports in which a major sporting event incorporated their title with a hashtag into an event. Furthermore, they set up a special Twitter page which aggregates all #NASCAR related posts.
This is tremendous for a sport that has battled the “good ‘ole boys” perception for several years as they try to stay current and on-trend in terms of marketing and social media.
As someone who worked in racing for a period of time, I’m proud to see how the sport has been one of the first sports to relate to fans in this new way, and allow them to be as updated as possible with all of the happenings, as well as reach out to their favorite brands, drivers, journalists and other personalities in this new way.
It will be interesting to watch as more sports take from this concept and further social media within the industry.