In a previous life we worked on a project that if you pay attention to the news, you will have heard about. It was a project that had zero press support and they were also extremely hostile towards our project. To remedy that we had to engage with social-media in a big way to overcome this significant hurdle. Admittedly, it was the only sphere that would give us a fair hearing but once we did that, a grassroots movement grew and with that we were off and running and ran one of the most famous campaigns in recent times. Despite lacking both funds and media backing, we achieved something that the history books will one day show was the starting point for one of the biggest stories of our lifetime in our particular part of the world. Yet, if it was not for our social-media campaign. We’d have been laughed out of town.
So what has this to do with Manor Race Team? Well, we think they could do a damn sight more on social-media.
This table was provided by Blurrt, a company which specializes in social-media analytics. They measurable insights on such things as sentiment/emotional reaction, topics of conversation, volume of data, reach, gender demographics and geo-location. During last weeks pre-season test, they turned their attention to the amount of discussion going on online regarding the test sessions in Barcelona and as you can see it was Manor that received the highest score. In the period they undertook their analysis, there were 10,677 tweets regarding Manor who were tweeted about more than Force India, Torro Rosso, Sauber and Williams combined. 46% of these tweets can be identified as positive and 11% negative, the highest respective scores of all the F1 teams. The gender split is in line with the rest of the teams, apart from Sauber where only 8% of tweets are identified as sent by women but considering Switzerland didn’t even give women the vote until 1971, we are not surprised.
So why the silence from our beloved heroes? It is neither difficult or costly to send out a few interesting or engaging tweets. Some may argue this is synonymous of F1 but Red Bull, Renault and now Haas are excellent at fan engagement. I’m not sure what has impressed me more about Haas, their ability to turn up on day 1 and look on the pace or their social-media/fan interaction. I’m sure there were some fans out their looking forward to seeing the American team fall flat on its face but thanks to their approach to the fans I am already warming to them.
During the first pre-season test, Manor interacted with one single tweet from a fan. The measly amount of tweets that were sent out included the usual PR stuff and reports that had already been reported a thousand times elsewhere. Even that single tweet was boring, lazy and lame.
Love that! https://t.co/PvgvJXJEiX
— Manor Racing (@ManorRacing) February 22, 2016
We took screen grabs (below) of Manors twitter account on the day that Rio Haryanto was announced with the team and again today (27/02). As you can see they have gained 19,400 new followers in a very short period of time and that isn’t taking into account the people who started following them in anticipation of Haryanto’s arrival, making this a conservative estimate of how many new people are interested in the team. That’s 19,400 new fans of the sport, 19,400 new fans of the team who can help you build your brand and 19,400 new potential paying customers. So where is the new website that allows for Indonesian translation? It would take all of two minutes to upload simple software to translate the old website whilst you build a shiny new one.
How about a new twitter account to engage with the new Indonesian fans? We appreciate many Indonesians speak very good English but it foolish for the team not to be engaging with them in their native language. Where is the sort of fan interaction that other teams can clearly do perfectly well? How about a Youtube channel where Rio can address his millions of fans in his native language and help fans new to the sport learn more about the wonderful and weird world of F1? And where is them promise of some new merchandise? It’s almost like they don’t want our money.
We appreciate the team is going through a restructuring phase, and they are attempting to hire new marketing people but most of the things on our wishlist can be fixed in a matter of minutes. If Rio Haryanto is a success, they are sitting on a potential goldmine. They should be cashing in whilst he is still hot news. It’s basic PR. Fortunately, Rio Haryanto is very accessible and active across his social media accounts. We even noticed he posted a picture of his crash during testing on Instagram with a sad face. What a sport!
We understand that the importance of social-media as an agenda-setter is vastly over stated. Despite all the online noise, it is still the traditional media outlets that set the agenda. However, social-media is important. Particularity, when you are a smaller team. None of our drivers will be seen by millions on chat shows wearing silly hats and trying to promote a personality that isn’t there. Manor drivers won’t be seen on TV on the podium at the end of every race, there won’t be endless on-track footage of the MRT05 allowing them to show of its sponsors to millions around the world, nor will there be endless speculation regarding which top name will be driving for them in 2017. Manor can only compete with the other teams on social-media. They now have the interest, fanbase and two very marketable drivers. They should be doing more.
*EDIT* It has came to your attention that the Instagram account does not belong to Rio Haryanto. It made us laugh, so it stays in the article.