Cycling Social Media
Social media is part of the marketing strategy in cycling. Who is doing it well?
time - from racing, training, to signing kits. It really is borderline cyber-stalking and if you're a fan of the team this is exactly what you want.
New to the social media scene is Omega Pharma - Quick-Step. This Belgian squad has jumped on the social media wagon as they have realized how important it is to build a relationship with their fans. As you know they've added an American flavor to the squad with the addition of Levi Leipheimer and bringing Specialized back as an equipment supplier, most notably the bikes and helmets. The site is still in its growing stages and has a basic layout, but I've been told that changes are in the works. If you're a fan of the Quick-Steppers click on the "Fanbase" tab for wall papers and an app lets you post your head onto a team kit, which is a great time killer for those at work. Don't feel restricted to just posting photos of yourself. I photographed my cat's head to see what she would look like in a kit and as I suspected - she looked great.
Garmin-Barracuda gets top marks for engaging in the social media world. Love him or hate him, team director Jonathan Vaughters isn't afraid to tweet a response to someone or engage in a four hour debate, much to the chagrin of the team's public relation people. The team site has all the bells and whistles which are now standard. The only complaint I have is that they should have live streamed their team launch. Hopefully they can fix that for future events. Cycling fans are not content with cell phone videos posted to YouTube the next day.
Of course Team Sky, a team sponsored by a media company, has a sharp looking site. As expected it features the usual team updates, video replays and a tech page for those who want to know how to clean your bike the "Team Sky way." Spoiler alert - they use the sponsor's lube and bike wash on the team's Pinarello bikes.
I spoke to the person who runs the social media of a WorldTour team who told me that while product placement is necessary, there needs to be a way so it isn't artificial (like the RadioShack tweets). Because let's face it, a forced corporate sponsor tweet will turn off people quicker than a cold sore on your date. The flip side of that coin, those products are what keep the teams rolling and sponsors need that return on investment (ROI).
Ultimately the team wants to drive traffic to their site and to the team store to either purchase team issue stuff, or at least get some eyeballs on the sponsor's name. Also they want to create a personality that attracts fans, which taken a step further, leads to consumers of their product. It's the circle of commercialism life - social media draws people to site, people become fans, they purchase goods, sponsor gets a good ROI and they continue to support the squad.
There are several other teams that