I know, I’ve already gone over some tips for landing a racing sponsorship. But after some thought about my last article, I’ve decided to delve into the topic of influencer marketing a little bit deeper. We all know that the key to a successful racing team is finding advantages over the competition that you can exploit. Most racers focus on spending their hard earned cash on that next top-secret part that will get you an extra tenth of a second per lap. But every year those parts get a little bit more expensive. So, I thought some more advise on marketing might help with an advantage in the bank account area. And in my opinion, most local dirt racers are not bringing in the sponsors they could by being an influencer. If you don’t know what influencer marketing is or how you could use it to gain that next advantage, then this article is for you.
The term “influencer marketing” while a trendy buzz word, is actually a pretty simple concept and nothing new. At its basic form, it’s just using your reputation or status to influence consumer’s purchasing decision by endorsing a product or service. You’ve all seen athletes and actors doing this on commercials for decades. Nothing new there and unless you’re the next William Byron there are probably no TV deals in your near future. But social media has put a twist on that process and created an opportunity for local dirt racing teams. Believe it or not, as a local racer you’re a celebrity. I don’t know about you, but I am always nicely surprised when someone tells me that they have been following my team or just watched me race. It’s surprising to me just because I’m too focused on the car, track and what’s going on around me. I really don’t ever notice the stands other than just to wave during the parade lap. Well, back to the matter at hand. Here are some tips on using that celebrity to make your team stronger.
Forget Knowledge…Fans are Power
Step one: build a fan base, the bigger the better. The more fans you have the bigger influence you wield and the more you will be worth to a prospective sponsor. Here is where it starts to get a little bit tougher. You don’t just need fans, you actually need followers. Fans in the stands is where the process starts, but they are difficult to accurately measure and even harder to show to a prospective sponsor. This is where social media comes into the equation. Turn those fans (and their friends, and their friend’s friends) into followers, by creating and promoting your race team’s social media profiles. Not tech savvy, get your family or friends involved. I’m sure that someone you know is willing to oversee a Facebook and Twitter account and it’ll get them more involved in your race team.
Create Something You Can Sell
It’s important that you’re accounts are dedicated to the racing team, keep your personal stuff on your personal page. I’m not saying that you can’t be yourself, you need to express your personality to get followers. What’s important is that your racing team profiles are all professional, focused, positive, and interesting. Following these guidelines can be tough at times, this is another reason to have someone else at the helm of these accounts. The last thing I want to do after a disappointing or aggravating race is to log into Facebook and put on a positive face, but someone needs to get that job done. Without a doubt, the most important of these guidelines is, be interesting. I’ve seen a lot of race teams that do the same thing, post a picture of the lineup sheets and then at the end of the night a quick comment with finishing position (if they do that). While that style may be informational, it probably won’t grow much of a following. You need to provide an experience for the follower to be interested. Take some pictures throughout the night, and don’t be afraid to shoot a quick video. Most importantly, have fun with it. If you’re having fun the follower will too.
Exert Your Influence
Now that you have built that huge following it’s time to make an impact. When you go to your prospective sponsors you now have tools that many local racers don’t use, numbers. You can show a tangible ability to reach a real number of consumers. Assuming that your sponsor is wanting a return on his/her investment (they do), having numbers that can be backed up change the conversation drastically. But that still might not be enough persuasion to close the deal. So be sure that you have thought through what you can or are willing to add to that sponsor proposal. How many ways can you actually exert your influence over your loyal online followers? A simple Facebook post, or even a video of you talking about a product or service, sure that’s a no-brainer. Basics like this should be included in your proposal, but be prepared to go further. How about hosting a contest on your page where entry is some type of interaction with your sponsor’s page. Thow in an appearance that is advertised on your profiles in advance. During the appearance be prepared to shoot video that can be used on both your page and the sponsor’s page. Have contests on your page to give away your own apparel or a body panel. Make the entry into that contest a proof of purchase or interaction of some type with your sponsor.
The actual power of social media in marketing can be debated. But there is no debate that it has a real impact on sales, especially in a local market. Harnessing that power can give you an advantage over your competitors and get that coveted racing sponsorship. All it takes is a little time, creativity, and dedication. The great part is that you could make this work even if you’re not winning regularly. Just be interesting and built that base of followers.