Skip to content

F1 FEATURE: Social Media Etiquette with Rachel Clarke

by on July 8, 2013

RCbigTwitter can be a wonderful place.  I’ve been fortunate to meet some great people and passionate Motorsports fans on social media.  I use social media daily for many reasons.  Primarily to stay informed, stay connected and to be entertained.  It can be an educational tool and a marketing tool, to both learn trends and to sell yourself and your brand.  I share my blog posts, musings, poems and opinions and particularly enjoy the interaction.

Many of us make mistakes however, which can drive people away and actually reverse the our efforts.

In an effort to help us all understand the power of social media, I’ve reached out to Rachel Clarke, a subject matter expert who happens to be a Formula One fan. Rachel graciously entertained my request for an interview.   I would like to thank her for her time, effort and her insight into the world of Social Media.

I hope you find this post to be educational, enlightening and entertaining, I know I have.




Let’s get to know Rachel;

1. What would you like the readers to know about you?

A: Nothing?! 😉  I’m English, love F1, work in social media marketing. I’ve lived in Glasgow, Amsterdam and New York. I now live in London. That’s the bare facts

2. Can you share with us what you do and what your typical work week looks like.

A: I work in a marketing agency, heading up their social media team. We’re not a pure-play social media agency, but work across experiential (creating events and experiences), sponsorship and shopper. The social team support all of these activities.  A typical day for me would include supporting the community managers in the team (who manage Facebook pages etc), writing social media strategies, consulting with the other teams in the agency and answering their questions about social media and working on pitches – ideas for new clients.

3. I’ve noticed your passion for Motorsports, where did it come from?  What interests you most about Formula One?

A: I’ve had a long interest in Motorsports, starting off with watching speedway with friends as a teenager. I watched the F1 on TV, but that was all. In 2005, when I was working with Diageo, the drinks company, my team were lucky enough to attend a test day with McLaren. Johnnie Walker, one of the brands I’d been working on, had just started sponsoring them. I loved being able to watch the team in the garage go about their business.  That’s really why I tend not to follow a driver only, I’m more interested in how the team works and what goes on behind the scenes and how the whole thing works.

4. Do you have a favourite team? Driver?

A: I’m far more of a fan of the sport than any one team. I’m interested in what they all do and like a great race rather than one in particular always winning. However, if pushed I’d say McLaren and Marussia are favourites – one at the front, one at the back, so you can get interested in more than ‘race’. With drivers, there’s an element of patriotism in I like the British drivers, but no real favourites.

5. How long have you been a fan of the sport?

A: A long time as a casual fan, but far more interested since 2005, as noted above.   I went to my first race though in 2010 and that upped the fandom a notch

6. What do you think gives F1 its allure?  Among Motorsports, where would you rank Formula One?

A: I think ALL Motorsports are hard and all of them are fun. But the reason I like F1 is the development race, that it supposedly has the best drivers (although not all of them, given how cash-focused it is),  There’s the world stage aspect as well. At the German GP weekend, I actually said that the GP2 drivers gave far better on track racing on the day – not that common as they’re often a little silly – but I love the strategic angle with F1, trying to see if I can find out what the teams will do.

7. Where do you see F1 in 5-10 years?

A: Still there. in some from. But they need to sort out the politics and the money. The teams need to work together to ensure they have a sport!  I see it going public and just being a cash driver for stockholders, which I don’t think is the best proposal. You’ll end up focusing on the high-end teams only, with little regard for the smaller teams or keeping a healthy spread of teams. I think the sport would become poorer for that – and lose relevance and audience.

8. If Bernie were to be forced to leave F1 (because we know he will never die or leave on his own), what do you believe will happen to the sport? Will it become more corporate, with a decision by committee approach?

A: Yes. I think they’ll try and take the commercial rights public and it’ll become poorer for it (as above)

9. We have the Canadian GP and now have a second race in North America in the US with a third one possibly on the way, What does F1 need to do to gain market share?

A: Be relevant! By all accounts, F1 works in Canada, it’s just never really had the right focus on the US. The sports market there is very, very different and the teams/sport can’t come in and expect the US to just do what the rest of the world does. It needs to work on its marketing and the way it connects with audience. The move to NBC is interesting – hopefully it will open the sport to a wider TV audience (although I have no visibility of how it is being promoted there)

10. Why do you believe F1 has struggled to attract the masses in the US market?

A:See above – although can’t really tell as not really experienced F1 in the US. When I was there in 2006, it was invisible – I had to watch the UK coverage

11. What do you make of the tyre debate in F1 and the testing fiasco?  Has this hurt F1’s image? Has it hurt Mercedes or Pirelli in the public eye?

A: A friend of mine, who watched the British GP as a casual fan, failed to realize the tyres were Pirelli or that there was a testing row. From her perspective, it was just a bad race.  I think the F1 fans are often too introspective and fail to see the bigger picture. She had no idea there was any problem.  However, if you read the papers/blogs, then you will be realizing there is a problem. The first one is with teams. They need to at least put on a common front at the time to not being seen as squabbling children and bringing the sport into disrepute. The hard-core, read everything. Fans will be aware that Pirelli did exactly what they were asked to do and had tried to change the tyres but the teams would not let them. Although in my opinion they did not try hard enough as they should have just called it a safety issue. it’s the rest of the fans, who love the sport but don’t devour the news who are going to take the worst away from this for Pirelli. They’re the ones the company are primarily trying to reach – and they will be left with the impression that Pirelli can’t make tyres.

12. On to Social media etiquette, what are the top 5-10 mistakes made by users on Twitter and Facebook?

A:This is a difficult one because what may be a mistake for one brand may be fine for another! It all depends on who you are. (and I’ve treated this from a brand perspective)

  • Treating social as a broadcast channel. It can be, but that’s not what it is best at

  • Doing nothing but pushing a sales message all the time.

  • Thinking it’s all about the followers. You can buy followers or use tactics that just drive numbers up, do not assume an account with lots  of followers  is ‘good’

  • Ignoring your fans – you may not want to do ‘customer service’, but if your fans expect it, then know how you are going to deal with it

  • Not being yourself. Pretending to be something else. It’s unauthentic and can be spotted. Aston Martin will not talk like a rapper!

  • Letting Social Media being done by the intern (because they are ‘young and get this stuff) or giving it to PR/Corporate Comms (because they do comms). You have to have the right person for the job, who understand the media and how it can be used.

  • Remember that people share your content with their friends because they like their friends, not because they like you. Every time someone shares something, they are saying something about themselves or thinking that it would be useful to their friends. So always think about what value you can add

  • Jump on the latest trend/meme/happening and completely screw it up. Plenty of examples of this, eg. advertising sales when there is a hurricane

  • Be stupid! And this often means you’re breaking the law. This is more of an individual issue than a brand issue, but don’t use hate speech, threaten anyone, tweet the name of the latest suspect in a case. Because you are liable to be breaking the law and you can be prosecuted. Or you can lose your job

13. Can you give us your top 5 tips to follow on Twitter, Facebook and Linked In?

  • See above

  • Be a decent human being!

  • Understand that everything you say is PUBLIC! Even if locked down behind Facebook privacy, assume it is public. if you wouldn’t say it in person or absolutely stand by it, then don’t say it.

  • Understand the uses of the channels. All 3 are very different, don’t repeat stuff across them, make the content suits both the channel and the people you are connected with

  • Remember, not everything you read on social media is true. In fact, the default mode for an ‘breaking news’ should be suspicion. There is reason that journalists are paid – they have time to check things out (eg a good example was the rumour about Murray donating his Wimbledon winning to charity. it was false. A journalist checked it out, but it continued to spread)

14. One question I get asked a lot by fellow bloggers and writers is, How can we effectively use social media to market ourselves without being annoying or crossing the imaginary line in the sand which turns people off?

A: Add value. Everything is about adding value. How can I provide something that is useful to the people who read/follow me.  What does what I’m writing say about me. Does it demonstrate my expertise? My brilliance?  My ability to get things done?  When entering others conversations, then bring something too it. Don’t exist in a silo – read others, comment elsewhere, join in, it’s not all about you!

15. What is your ultimate goal professionally?  I don’t mean in 5 years, I mean ultimate goal… for instance, I would like to be the CEO of or something similar.  Professionally, what would make you happiest?

A: Win the lottery, go and do social media for a race team! To be honest, I could probably look for that at the moment, but would have to completely downsize and you rarely get employed at that far below your CV experience! In reality, I like what I am doing, it’s a job that did not exist when I was at university. In fact. my uni time was pre-web 🙂  I’d like to continue in a role where I can add thinking to stories, to add strategic value, to make things.

Rapid Fire Round:

Below you will find a series of choices, pick one from each selection or just reply neither or N/A

1. Coffee or Tea

2. Wine or Beer

3. Soup or Salad

4. Hairpin or Start/Finish

5. Senna or Schumi

6. Button or Hamilton

7. Top Gear or Fifth Gear

8. Sky Sports or BBC

9. Monaco or Monza

10. F1 Poetry or F1 Tech

Quick F1 specific

1. Fav. Circuit and why?

A: Not been to enough! But I like Silverstone due to the history. Ask me in 10 years when I’ve been to more

2. Fav corner in F1?

A: Eau Rouge. The first one I saw live. it’s massive!

3. Circuit you would most like to go to that you have not been to ?

A: Monaco doing it the expensive way. Canada for more realistic aims

4. Circuit you would most like to return to?

A: I’ve been to Silverstone for the last 3 years, Will probably continue. I loved Austin!

5. Circuit you would most like to return to the F1 calendar?

A: N/A

6. Most memorable GP?

A: They all blur!!!  I’m not very good at that. But 2008 Brazil is a favourite

7. Fav F1 personality not in media?

A: Heikki Kovaleinan

8. Fav F1 writer/reporter ?

A: James Allan

9. Fav food to consume at a GP?

A: Anything that isn’t burger and chips. The hog roast at Silverstone was OK

10. Fav F1 quote or saying?

A: The Senna gap one. and I HATE ‘for sure’ which is just a weird verbal tick


From → Features, Formula One

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: