The build up to the F1 2014 season has begun and all of the teams are testing their cars in public for the first time. With social media playing a huge role in marketing and launching the new F1 year, who has impressed or disappointed in the social media F1 Grand Prix?
Force India were the first team to release images of their new VJM07 at the end of January. The hashtags associated with this unveiling were #VJM07 #FeelTheForce and their official Twitter handle @ClubForce.
Between the 7th Jan - 6th Feb, there was 6,205 tweets using the #VJM07 hashtag and 8,723 tweets containing #FeelTheForce. The official Force India Twitter account also saw 22,110 replies to tweets. Their Facebook Page also saw an increase of 83% in engagement, but only after testing had begun.
Overall, Force India saw a 4% increase in Twitter followers and 27% gain in Instagram Followers. Unfortunately their YouTube account only picked up 529 new subscribers and 251 new followers on Google+.
On the 24th January, the McLaren MP4-29 was officially unveiled to the public. Using #McLaren2014 and #BelieveInMcLaren as a build up to the 2014 season but for the launch itself, McLaren did something different and innovative for their social media strategy.
Along with creating the #McLarenMP429 hashtag, they also launched a Twitter Q&A with Jenson Button under #AskJenson. They also created YouTube video’s and an Infographic about the new car. They also used their Google+ and Facebook accounts to post, but less frequently along with Instagram for press launch images only.
The #McLarenMP429 received a total of 11,500 mentions over the launch period on Twitter along with #BelieveInMcLaren being used over a longer period of time received 5,906 mentions between 6th Jan - 7th Feb. The mentions for the official McLaren Twitter handle peaked on launch day at 15,000 mentions. Their Twitter reach increased by 15,652, Facebook by 54,260, Instagram by 2,835, YouTube by 2,968 and Google+ followers increased by 4,350.
The McLaren campaign was much more organised than the Force India campaign. The marketing team at McLaren put more effort into really focusing on social media, especially with running the Q&A with one of the most popular drivers, Jenson Button.
The #UnboltTheBull hashtag received 7,584 mentions in a 30 day period and the #RB10 hashtag managed 8,484 mentions but this soon became a distant memory after day 2 of testing. Mentions of their official Twitter handle hit 6,549 on launch day with another spike a few days after testing. The team added 12,198 new Twitter followers but more impressively, increased their Facebook fan count by 153,909. Instagram grew by 3,488 followers, YouTube by 2,120 and Google+ by 10,797.
The Red Bull team faced a lot of problems after releasing their car and were forced to announce going back to the factory to deal with problems. Red Bull only completed 14 laps over the four day pre-season testing in Jerez suffering serious overheating problems.
The first image of the #F14T was released on the 25th January along with Youtube Interviews. Ferrari also jumped on the bandwagon of former Ferrari F1 driver Kimi Raikkonnen joining the team for the new season by creating #WelcomeBackKimi. They also created a hashtag in support of Michael Schumacher's recovery (#ForzaMichael).
Twitter was the chosen network for the build up around testing with Facebook and Google+ featuring the image of the #F14T on launch day only. Surprisingly, Ferrari did not include Instagram as part of their social media strategy.
The #F14T hashtag attracted 42,298 mentions on Twitter, Making it one of the most anticipated cars for the 2014 season. YouTube was the only other platform that Ferrari focused on for their social media campaign however, all of their social network followers increased. Ferrari’s Twitter following increased by 18,748, YouTube subscribers by 4,454, Facebook by a massive 182,053 and Google+ by 46,685.
Because of Ferrari’s well known presence in the car industry and because of their high profile drivers, Ferrari already had a head start but that doesn’t take credit away from their strong marketing strategy.
The Mercedes W05 was launched on the 28th January with a teaser campaign leading up to this date across all of their social channels.
Bringing some clever wordplay into action with the #W05sup being introduced along with an infographic 3D model of the “Power Unit”, YouTube videos showcasing the engine noise and the second hashtag for their campaign; #ListenForTheWhistle.
Mercedes AMG also created the hashtag #KeepFightingMichael in support of former Michael Schumacher. Another YouTube teaser was released featuring both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg with abstract angles of the car and a further humorous video featuring a reporter winding up both drivers about bogus car/rule changes.
Looking at statistics, the #W05sup hashtag attracted 12,145 mentions on Twitter with the official Twitter handle mentions reaching 14,367. Mercedes AMG impressively increased their Facebook likes by 20%. Twitter followers increased by 14,871 and YouTube picked up 2,920 new subscribers.
And the winner...
Twitter was the leading marketing tool for all mentioned teams and Instagram surprisingly not being used as much as one would expect. Mercedes seems to be the only team who really utilised all of what Facebook has to offer.
Looking at everything, there is one clear winner. After successfully launching a marketing campaign across all social networks and showing great innovation, the winner is the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 Team.