Karting Magazine, established in 1960, was the very first magazine dedicated to junior motorsport. However, despite their strong roots, they were slow to adapt to the online world, with barely any social media clout. The karting audience is young and very digitally-savvy, but the challenge to grow traffic was proving hard despite great content at the magazine's disposal. We took on the challenge to connect with the wider karting audience and grow the awareness of Karting's online presence.
Karting is predominantly a young person's sport. 76% of 12-15 year-olds are active on social media, which is a great fit. Karting Magazine had registered social media accounts but wasn't hugely active, lacked a strategy, and couldn't see the value of growing a social following.
We performed a social media audit of Karting Magazine, its rivals, and other motorsport titles. While the temptation is to try to lever the audience in every social channel, thanks to our audit, we identified that the two big hitters in the motorsports sector are Twitter and Facebook, with Instagram gaining pace in third. Our strategy was to target the two largest sectors and then enter other social media channels once we'd proven our formula.
We designed and set up Karting's social media channels to reflect the brand and promote the natural flow of fans and followers between the two channels. We experimented with all types of different content on both channels over the course of a month and evaluated to see which ones our audience really connected with. From here, we refined our formula until we hit the sweet spot. We developed a weekly social media planner, giving the team an easy-to-follow guide of what to post and when. This involved three pieces of content a day, the majority of which came from the website, but the website wasn't promoted in every post.
We began to gain good traction, with the Facebook fan count climbing from 7,000 fans to 12,000 in just 6 weeks with the majority of growth in the 18-24 age bracket. Our reach had also climbed exponentially, from 20,000 to 120,000 in the same time frame. We used Twitter to post the latest news and insights and referred to the website for the full story. On both channels, we posted overtly interactive content to encourage engagement, from 'Shunt Sunday' (videos of crashes) to 'Object of Desire' (the kit and components karters lust after). Once we had gained traction and a loyal following, we kept feeding the beast, refining the formula, and watching the numbers grow.
Then we hit on a magic idea: now we have a strong social following, we'll launch the first ever Karting Annual Awards, host it on the website, and conduct the shortlisting and voting via social media. We adopted a unified approach with Twitter and Facebook and made sure we mentioned each karter, manufacturer, or club's social media handle whenever they were shortlisted in order to gain valuable retweets and reach a wider audience.
The result was incredible; not only did we grow the fans and followers of the Facebook and Twitter accounts by over 300% in 6 months, but we also created the right social signals about the existing website, which now has double the traffic it did before the social media campaign. A welcome off-shoot was an increase in the magazine's digital advertising revenues and magazine subscriptions.
Over 3 times as many Facebook fans in 6 months
Referral traffic from social media up by over 245%
Website sessions more than tripled during the social media push and overall traffic is more than double what it was before the campaign
What We Learned
Effort put into social media not only improves your website's natural ranking factors, but the right social media campaign can deliver over and above your expectations. Once we'd figured out who the audience was and what they were looking to see, share, and contribute to, we kept giving them what they wanted and the payback was that they made our job easier.