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Last week we talked about the need for riders of all ages and abilities, who were looking for help, to make sure they were able to show a return away from the track to those that help them.

This week I would like to go into a little bit more detail on Facebook, a platform I believe has the best tools for you to make an impact for those that help you. Facebook was the first platform I used to market MX Vice. I knew if I wanted to grow MX Vice I needed to focus ninety percent of my time I had into this platform. Why? Well although Snapchat is great, it doesn’t have analytics and over ninety percent of the images that are shared are graphic images.

Snapchat has its place, but not yet. Instagram is great at brand awareness, but lacks the same volume of traffic that Facebook could offer. Instagram and Facebook are two powerful tools but are completely different, in my opinion. Twitter is a fantastic tool too but, again, it’s used differently to Facebook and Instagram. Each platform has different demographics also, from male and female through to different age groups. That is something to consider when putting your valuable time into promoting yourself and the companies you work with.

For this week’s blog, we are going to focus on what you can do with Facebook. Presumably you read last week’s blog, have made a Facebook business page and also added a cover and profile photo? Luke Sturgeon has got his page in place with a good profile picture and cover photo, so both D.S.C Cornwall Kawasaki and Talon are going to be happy with that.

First step is start using your page and liking all the pages of people who sponsor you or are potential sponsors. Please stop yourself from following Ferrari and hoping that they are going to notice you, as we’ll work our way through to luxury brands a little later on. Focus on personal sponsors, local businesses and shops that give you a discount for now. So, first up, go over to Talon Engineering and like their page, using your own business page.

Follow these steps and like another page as your own business page. Go to the page you want to like, click the three periods on the bottom right of their cover photo and you’ll see the option to “like as your page” from there. See the screenshot below for more details.

You can only do this from a desktop or the ‘Pages Manager’ app (not the Facebook app). If you’re on a tablet or mobile device, you could try logging into your Facebook account via a web browser (Safari or Chrome) and then access your business page to try and like it from there.

So now you should have liked all the pages of people who support you or potentially you would like to work with. The reason I have asked you to like these pages is for a good reason and they are to show your support to the companies and now you have the ability to tag them into posts when you add a new picture or video. Tagging these companies enables you to alert the company to yourself if you don’t currently have a relationship with them or support companies that support you by exposing them to your followers.

In the post above, Nathan Dixon has tagged MX Vice into his post. That means that MX Vice will get a notification that they have been tagged. If you don’t get that like on the post from that company the first time then keep trying, starting engagement with companies and getting on their radar is key and the main reason you are doing this. Social media is all about engagement, so everything else comes second.

Promote and conduct yourself well on social media and people will want to be associated with you. Now I expect all of you to be adding posts regarding race reports, podcasts, blogs, videos and basically anything you’re doing proactively and tagging these companies in. Next up is a Facebook review. Facebook loves reviews, so make sure all the companies you want to talk to or support you get a positive review. Again this alerts that company to your name.

Next up are specific posts to brands and equipment. A lot of people fall foul of putting up a picture of their bike or race picture and mentioning everyone who supports them. There is nothing wrong with this, but think of it from a sponsor’s point of view. Business is business and they will not want to share a competitor’s product or brand if they don’t have to. They won’t tell you this directly, but trust me on this.

Instead produce posts specifically for the products you have or require help with. Take for example Carly Rathmell and MRS, who distribute Gaerne in the UK. These guys have a fraction of the budget of bigger companies and rely on great feedback from customers. If you’re looking for help from MRS, Carly or any other companies think about how you can help them. Some examples could be…

  • Pictures of your boots/equipment after racing and then after cleaning. Put some effort into getting the boots looking really good after; my Gaerne boots always look good after every ride. Make sure that you then tag MRS and Gaerne in. If you’re reading this from outside the UK find out who the distributor is in your country, follow their page and tag them in. A photo of you on the line with a shot of your boot specifically.

Talon love it when users tag in their products and send through pictures – every time someone mentions the brand they have analysis software to collect this information. I know this, because I have set this up within the company worldwide. Here is another insight: I provided Talon with a list of the teams and riders they sponsored and produced a document to show how many times they were mentioned, what the reach of the posts was and how much influence they had. They used that data to either renew contracts, reward teams with better deals or cut the people who were giving nothing back.

In 2018 I will be doing the same, but in even more detail and not just for Talon. I now have to provide this service for teams, athletes and brands as everyone now is starting to understand the value. Keep this to yourself though – get the jump on people who haven’t read this far.

So, for this week you need to start getting proactive on Facebook. Complete everything I have talked about above and start to produce content that will put you on a radar with these companies and next week I can start to talk about engagement and content, which are two of the biggest factors.

I have also mentioned a tool. We have a new tool that you will be able to use. It will have your social media score across all platforms, plus rank you against people in your championship. This will be open to brands to see how good you are. The tool will be released on October 1st at the MXoN, so you have now until then to really get your sh*t together. Below are screenshots of media, teams and riders to give you an idea of how they are performing. More are being added daily with a leaderboard.

Words: James Burfield