As with many people, especially famous people, the drivers of NASCAR use social media to let whoever is interested in on what is happening in their life. Drivers such as Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano etc, use social media outlets such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to thank fans, give away memorabilia, post pictures and comment on their performance in recent races.
The more popular drivers such as Earnhardt and Kyle Busch have well over half a million followers on Twitter. In fact, Dale Jr. has over 1.5 million followers.
Social media has allowed drivers to keep fans updated and gives them a chance to show fans a little of their private lives when cameras are not rolling. Of course, they still must be a bit careful about what they say or show on social media as many people have gotten into trouble for being too honest about what they think and do.
Social media can be a double edged sword. Drivers like Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Kurt Busch who sometimes get the fans against them on the track for perhaps driving a bit aggressively, or off the track for comments made in the heat of the moment, can use Instagram and Twitter to make peace and show fans that they are not bad guys after all.
Busch has given away autographed items and tickets to the Brickyard 400 in the past week. Dale Jr uses Twitter to answer fan questions, post pictures of some of his off day activities, talk about some of the things that go on during the race and so on.
Logano is using his Twitter to post pictures of him doing things with fans, and also uses it to post comments about his race results, show what he does away from the track and even to sort of apologize to Kurt Busch for hitting him at the end of the race at Daytona earlier this month.
One great thing NASCAR drivers are accomplishing with social media is they are connecting to young fans. Many times the followers of these drivers are kids. Kids today are so ahead of the cruve with technology and know all about following their favorite celebrities. This is unprecedented in the sport that until 20 years ago had a following made up almost entirely of white men from the south. With social media, fans of all ages and backgrounds can follow and connect with drivers.
Social media is the latest tool NASCAR is using to promote the sport, their sponsors, and so forth, It is very effective in keeping the fans feeling like they are a big part of the sport. Connecting with the younger audience is a vital need for NASCAR as whole. In order for the sport to secure a wider audience down the road as it’s current fans get older and less prone to spend money.
Drivers and teams who use social media to their advantage better than the others will always have a leg up on the competition as far as souvenir sales and fans cheering them on at the track. Imagine if there would have been Twitter back in the days of Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip. Maybe they wouldn’t have been booed for much of their careers?