Formula 1 itself might only just be realising the true potential of social media – even the TV feed has begun displaying event specific hashtags – but the teams themselves have long been aware of the benefit.
Not only did Mercedes secure the double, but they got the most out of social media during the 2014 season according to a report by industry monitors Repucom.
Whilst all of the teams have some form of social media presence, it seems just a handful are using it properly. The @MercedesAMGF1 account accounted for 30 per cent of all social media activity amongst the teams, with @ScuderiaFerrari lagging behind on 19 per cent, @McLarenF1 on 12 per cent, @LotusF1team on 10 per cent and last years champions @RedBullRacing on just 8 per cent.
Mercedes took an early lead in the ‘social media standings’, but dropped behind Ferrari around the Chinese Grand Prix according to the report, however Mercedes were again top for the rest of the season, bar Austria, where Williams’ sensational pole saw them mentioned the most.
Why is it important though, surely it isn’t earning them any money? That’s not strictly true. Using market data and various calculations, Repucom found that a single photo posted to Facebook by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, which was liked more than 215,000 times, is equal to almost £35,000 in brand exposure.
Add that up over hundreds of photos, status updates, likes, retweets and shares, and the value of social media is easy to understand.
Overall, the report estimates that, in total, social media posts had around 8.64 billion impressions globally, with 84 per cent of those from people aged over 35.
Growth has also been strong, with an interaction increase of 54 per cent for the teams from 2013 to 2014, 36.5 per cent for drivers whilst official F1 keywords (such as #F1) has risen by 11.5 per cent.
Social media marks a new channel for sponsors to share their products and therefore, with declining television audiences, the teams need other ways of enticing big name sponsors to keep paying the ‘big bucks’.