Formula E has been an undoubted social media success but the concept of FanBoost has been the subject of much debate as to its effectiveness and place within the sport. So, with the help of Team Amlin Aguri, I sought to prove its value both to the Formula E and its fans.
Ahead of the Long Beach ePrix I took to Twitter and stated that, if Team Amlin Aguri could attract a minimum of 50 FanBoost votes and 50 Retweets, I would dye my hair as best I could to match their gorgeous blue livery.
I hoped that this would provide further evidence to demonstrate that the concept was directly responsible for promoting fan engagement – making the teams and drivers work harder to give something back to their supporters and promote greater affinity for the sport. And in return generate a committed fan base for the teams themselves.
Never make a bet you can’t keep
Team Amlin Aguri took me at my word, promptly sharing two updates through the team’s account and the response from the Twitter community was instantaneous.
Over the following hours ahead of the race the two tweets from the Team Amlin Aguri account, alongside one from my own, generated 82 Retweets, 103 Favourites and 49 comments on Twitter, as well as FanBoost votes for the team. Team Amlin Aguri’s first tweet alone generated over 3,800 impressions, 21 Retweets, 9 Favourites and one new follower.
At this time the blog only had a following of around 180 followers. Yet, when making good on my bet, just two tweets from a fan of the sport with dyed-blue hair generated over 5,700 impressions and a great social media conversation. Other fans came forward to show their support for the team, sharing photos blue nails and expressing a desire to join in. Within the day, tweets from my blog alone had created over 11,200 impressions with a total engagement level of 47% (Twitter Analytics states that any engagement over 1% should be considered a success).
While this may seem abstract, it directly illustrates that proactive engagement with fans works. Whether that be offering behind the scenes insights, merchandise competitions, VIP treatment or some idiot with aspirations of working in the sport dying his hair blue. I hope you’ll agree it does or I have irreparably dyed my shower tiles blue for nothing.
Socially supported success
So few sports understand how to engage with their fans online, let alone how to make it social media relevant, but in this sense Formula E has excelled.
Sure there are areas for improvement, on which I will be writing soon, but the use of video, images and traditional competitions have created a connected crowd that could never be confined to the trackside bleachers, but numbers in the millions across the world. In this way, Formula E has replicated the successes of many consumer brands, but little has been as effective as FanBoost, which enables fans to have a direct impact on the result of the race itself.