What #Indycar Can Learn from the #Daytona500

By: Angie King

I’d like to thank @Indycar_MN (a.k.a. Matthew Hickey) for letting me hijack his blog. I needed an outlet after conversations on Twitter Tuesday morning about the Daytona 500 inspired me to create a list of hashtags for Indycar events in 2012. I’ll get to the hashtags in a bit, but first I wanted to fill you in on what inspired me to write this. (If you don’t care, scroll down to see the list of hashtags and skip my ramblings!)

#Indycar Reacts to #Daytona500 #NASCAR Coverage
 I noticed a bunch of Twitter chatter Tuesday morning regarding NASCAR’s use of social media during the Daytona 500. I was interested to see what people were saying, because as I mentioned in another guest post on a different blog (yeah, I’m blog hopping), Twitter was a huge factor in converting me to an Indycar fan last year. (Read that blog: #RIPDanWheldon:  A Tribute to the #Indycar Twitter Community.)

I admit, while I was watching the Daytona 500 on Monday night, I was impressed by the coverage given to Twitter by the broadcast. I was also impressed that #daytona500 was trending on Twitter the whole night. I was left wondering if this Twitter integration was standard or new for NASCAR. And because I'm not a regular watcher of NASCAR (it bores me) and I'm only in my sophomore year of Indycar fandom, I also wondered which motorsport embraced Twitter first.

Luckily, I got my answer on Tuesday. The first thing that caught my eye on Twitter that morning was this convo between @JackOnSports and @jerrcruz1077

@JackOnSports: Kudos to the Fox gang! Long haul and they road it to the finish. Love NASCAR's embrace of social media. R U Listening IndyCar?

@jerrycruz1077: @JackOnSports what? #IndyCar has been the forefront in social media and twitter since 2009. Again Nascar trying to take away from @IndyCar

I actually saw a few other Tweets defending Indycar's long history with social media, so I feel like that's settled. And it made me happy to know Indycar was there first. (Obvious bias.)

But then I started following some conversations between Pat Caporali (@Pcaporali) and many others about what Indycar could learn about social media from NASCAR's example during the Daytona 500. I won't go into all of the details (look at @Pcaporali's feed from Tuesday morning for the full story), but the main point I felt that Pat and others were trying to make was that:

Yes, Indycar has been on the forefront of social media. Yes, Indycar fans have a great community on Twitter. But there are MORE things that the Indycar TV broadcast and the official Indycar organization can do to make improvements.

Lessons Indycar Can Learn From The Daytona 500 Twitter Bonanza:
§  Display everyone's Twitter handle during the broadcast, including the broadcasters, teams and drivers
§  Talk about what's trending on Twitter during the broadcast
§  More consistently use the #indycar hashtag when Tweeting about Indycar (I feel like fans are pretty good at this, but not so much teams and ESPECIALLY not drivers.)
§  Use relevant hashtags for each race to make it trend before, during and after the event (I saw people using the #daytona500 hashtag on Twitter saying they tuned into the race just because it was trending. Imagine that kind of exposure for Indycar!)

Note: These are just some ideas I gathered while watching the Daytona 500 and gleaned from others on Twitter the next day. These ideas, and any others I’ve missed, are extremely nuanced in their strategy and execution. These are just the bare-bones takeaways.

2012 #Indycar Race Hashtags
So, long story short – it's that last idea listed above that prompted me to create my list of proposed hashtags for 2012 Indycar events.  Some of these are better than others, and I welcome your feedback on them. We should keep in mind that they need to be short enough to RT, and will likely also be used with the general #indycar hashtag.
Race Name
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Sao Paulo Indy 300
Indianapolis 500
Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix
Firestone 550
Milwaukee IndyFest
Iowa Corn Indy 250
Honda Indy Toronto
Edmonton Indy
Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
Streets of Qingdao
Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
Baltimore Grand Prix
Auto Club Speedway

It would be nice to decide early on what to call each race. It would be even nicer if the official Indycar website were to post the hashtags next to the race name on the schedule. And put it on the spotter's guides. Anyone want to help me bug them about that? Let's RT links to this article and make sure to tag the official @Indycar Twitter handle!

Feel free to comment on the blog or catch me on Twitter.