Social Scoop: Four

Advice from experts.

Advice from experts.

In previous editions of ‘Social Scoop’ on MX Vice, various topics have been covered; social media, Facebook and content have all been dissected in a bit of more detail. The fourth edition of this was supposed to land last week, but acquiring the useful information below took longer than expected. It was well worth the wait, however, as all of the titbits that brands have provided below are gold for athletes of all levels.

No matter whether you are reading this is as a professional or amateur rider, you are going to be approaching the same people. The guys below deal with every submission, make the decisions, monitor profiles and set out contracts. Intrigued? Well, without further ado, allow me to introduce them.

Rob Sartin (MD of Talon Engineering): Talon Engineering have undoubtedly been the leaders in wheels, sprockets and hubs since its foundation in 1972. Most companies that offer wheels etc. have used Talon as the benchmark when getting their products produced in China. Talon, on the other hand, manufacture and build their products in the UK. Rob has been at the forefront of digital for the past five years; he has expanded his business and talked to new customers through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. An audience of more than 200,000 customers has been built through social media alone.

Rich Taylor (Owner of EKS Brand): Rich Taylor has been handing it to the multi-million-pound eyewear industry on a fraction of the budget for the path six years. How? Rich has used social media and influencers like Steve Matthes to build a loyal following. Early on Rich understood what was required from social media and, if you are not a fan of EKS brand now, you will be once you read his comments below.

Mark Fereday (Training and Sales Development Manager of Bridgestone): If you are from the UK, you will have seen the recent movement and exposure of Bridgestone. They have made a huge impact in amateur racing and built a loyal following. Consequently, the brand’s profile is one of the most talked about in the British industry. Now they are setting their sights on the professional scene with the sponsorship of the Bridgestone Masters.

Dennis Bloch (Sales Director at Seven): Dennis Bloch, an industry veteran, works with Roger Larsen and James Stewart at Seven. Dennis has his finger on the pulse of not just Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, but also the FIM Motocross World Championship and all European countries. Seven, being a young company, have focused their advertising on digital and used tools like social media to grow the brand.

Max Steffans (Athlete Race Manager for Fly Racing): Max Steffans has his finger on the pulse; he has only missed a handful of races in the last nine years and prepares all the race gear for athletes, as well as monitoring the athletes and brands on social media. PulpMX and distributors like Race FX.

• • •

Rob Sartin

MD, Talon Engineering

MX Vice: Do you look at how an athlete performs on social media prior to approaching them?

Rob Sartin: A rider or team’s following on social media is an important factor in deciding the level of support that Talon would provide.

What factor of importance is this for Talon now?

It is increasing all the time and we don’t see this changing in the foreseeable future.

If a rider had no social media, would this have an impact on the monetary package a rider would have?

Yes, we will not support riders or teams with little or no social media following. If that rider is injured and you base your return on results – that is it. With social they can still talk and influence.

How often do Talon check social media for mentions, tags and additional forms of engagement?

We routinely monitor the level of engagement a rider or team has weekly.

Do Talon use any social media tools to check how many times a rider tags them? If not, will you in the future?

We use a system called Piptook, which gives us a detailed view of performance as well as qualify future riders for teams. We also use Facebook Insights to monitor mentions and pay for reports to be completed annually before the Dirt Bike Show and EICMA.

• • •

Rich Taylor

Owner, EKS Brand

MX Vice: Do you look at how an athlete performs on social media prior to approaching them?

Rich Taylor: Yes! Unfortunately, social media is a big factor on who we want to invest in. You can win every local race and be the fastest dude around but, if a guy who gets fifth every week has a ton of quality followers and not fake ones, he is actually worth more to me than the fast guy. It is sad but true.

Just how important is this for EKS Brand now?

Again, it is huge! Even when it comes to "big" riders. I do not want to name names, for instance, but there is a factory rider out there right now who is a seventh to tenth-place guy consistently and he has a huge following on social media. For goggles he is making as much money as [Ken] Roczen and [Eli] Tomac. Not because of his results, but because of his following and personality. At the end of the day it is all about selling product for the company. This guy has a lot of followers, because he constantly posts very entertaining posts and people really like following him.

If they had no social media, would this have an impact on the monetary package a rider would have? Would they be paid less?

Much less! In fact, I would go as far as to say I would not be interested in any racer who did not have a good following. We sponsor guys, as a company, so that we can sell more product. If I give a racer a set of goggles, I have to sell at least three pairs to pay for that one even pair. If I pay a rider to wear our goggles I have to sell three times as much money in goggles as I pay him to break. It is really not worth sponsoring a racer who won't help to sell my products. Like I said above, it is all about sales. If I sponsor you I expect you to help sell my product. It is not enough to just be the fast kid anymore. That fast kid now has to be a salesman, push our product and do tags constantly. Otherwise they are not worth sponsoring

How often do EKS check social media for mentions, tags and other forms of engagement?

Every day. It is really important for us. Social media is by far our best source of advertising today.

Do EKS use any social media tools to check how many times a rider tags? If not will you in the future?

We do. HookIt has a nice one. But, to be honest, right now we do most of our research the hard way and go into the tags every day. We try to like or comment on most of the tags. It helps us to understand who is working for us and I think the rider is stoked to know we acknowledge his post. Social media is the future… I can't say I am too pumped with it but I do understand.

• • •

Mark Fereday

Training and Sales Development Manager, Bridgestone

MX Vice: Do you look at how an athlete performs on social media prior to approaching them?

Mark Fereday: We will look to see if there are any pages already created for the rider and also whether they talk about their racing on their personal social media pages. This helps to give us an idea of the tone of voice they use about their racing and whether they have a community of people who are responding. This is really just for information though, if they don't have a social presence, it gives us the opportunity to create and lead the conversation and tone.

What factor of importance is this for Bridgestone now?

The social media presence of our riders (whether created by us or the rider) is important as it gives us a platform upon which to shout about our rider, our activations within the sport and our product. We have a large number of themes to get across on our social media channels and so having a dedicated motocross channel that has an engaged audience gives us the opportunity to be targeted with our messaging.

If they had no social media, would this have an impact the monetary package a rider would have? Would they be paid less?

This would affect the package we would offer, as it limits the return on investment we would receive.

How often do Bridgestone check social media for mentions, tags and other forms of engagement?

We check our social media pages and that of our riders on a daily basis, as well as having notifications to set up to see when we are being mentioned or tagged in content. It is essential for us to stay up to date with any mentions, messages and comments to ensure that all messages are being responded to properly but also that the Bridgestone brand is being communicated in the right way.

Do Bridgestone use any social media tools to check how many times a rider has tagged them? If not, will you in the future?

We use a platform called Engagor to track all mentions of riders, as well as mentions of Bridgestone across the rest of the business.

• • •

Dennis Bloch

Sales Director, Seven

MX Vice: Do you look at how an athlete performs on social media prior to approaching them?

Dennis Bloch: We are always analyzing athletes on social media and we definitely will review athlete’s social media before reaching out to them for sponsorship. We also look at dealer’s social media to help us understand what kind of a business they have.

What factor of importance is this for Seven now?

Seven is a youthful brand and our consumers live on social media, so we obviously believe that social media carries a ton of weight. We are more active on social media than any other forms of marketing.

If they had no social media, would this affect the monetary package a rider would have? Would they be paid less?

I cannot say that they would get paid less, but there is definitely a value on athlete’s social. If there were two similar athletes that we were looking at to represent our brand, I can definitely tell you that the one with a stronger following and engagement would probably get the deal with us.

How often do Seven check social media for mentions, tags and other forms of engagement?

We are reviewing our hashtags and mentions on a consistent basis, multiple times a week to see how engaged our athletes and consumers are with the brand. We review Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Do Seven use any social media tools to check how many times a rider has tagged Seven? If not, will you in the future?

We currently do not use any third parties to manage or monitor our social media, but as we continue to grow our business this is something that will be added.

• • •

Max Steffans

Athlete Race Manager, Fly Racing

MX Vice: Do you look at how an athlete performs on social media prior to approaching them? 

Max Steffans: Absolutely! It is definitely something we consider when looking at an athlete. It is not the end all, but it is a big part.

What factor of importance is this for FLY Racing now? 

It is important so that we know that the athlete has the right following for the FLY Racing brand, has the right reach to help get new customers and keep existing customers interested in the FLY brand.

If they had no social media, would this affect the monetary package a rider would have? Would they be paid less?

It depends on the athlete and the level of the athlete we are looking at. If it is a high-end rider, it could potentially affect the pay in the long run. If people do not like them they may not buy our product, which is why we sponsor them.

How often do FLY check social media for mentions, tags and other forms of engagement?

Every day.

Do FLY use any social media tools to check how many times a rider tags FLY? If not, will you in the future?

To some extent, yes, we do to make sure athletes are using our tags to gain more awareness for the brand. As for actual technology to track hashtags and/or social reach, we have not yet but I think we will in the future.

Piptook - Advanced Data Analytics

Words: James Burfield | Lead Image: ConwayMX

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