Scarcity -> Social Media Influence in Racing

As you might already know, this month I’m participating in the 2013 Social Media Success Summit. Going forward, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on how to apply what’s presented in the seminars to racing social media.

Not surprisingly, the opening sessions of the Summit started out with social media theory and building influence. This is somewhat unsatisfying for those of us who like tools (duh) but these topics are the most important blocks of the foundation for your social media house. Or garage. If we’re talking about what’s important.

Without a strategy on how to build influence, you’re just shooting in the dark with your efforts. And you know most of us don’t have time for that.

If you’re trying to build a real racing program, with sponsorship and loyal fans, you have to figure out how to build influence.  And since we don’t race every day, one of the most effective ways to do that is online.

So here’s the deal with influence: the things that might make you powerful offline don’t apply to social media. This includes power that comes from an organization, hierarchy or job title. Maybe you’ve made it to manager at your company. The Internet doesn’t care. Maybe you’ve got a diploma from a great college. Internet also doesn’t care. Maybe you’ve got lots of money. Unless you’re rolling around in it on YouTube a la Uncle Scrooge McDuck, the Internet (mostly) still won’t care.

The Internet hates real-world rules. And that’s a great opportunity for racers.

One of the best presentations of the week so far was Mark Schaefer’s seminar on How to Grow Your Social Media Influence. In it, he talks about one of the things that I think racers can really use to their advantage: Scarcity.

Schaefer argues that we can apply Robert Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence (below) to gain influence in the online world:

  • Scarcity
  • Likability
  • Reciprocity
  • Authority
  • Consistency
  • Social Proof

As I said, my favorite principle for racers is scarcity.

First, let’s talk about what it means. In the offline world, people become powerful in theory because they control scarce goods – oil, water, or other resources. So what’s a scarce good on the Internet? Something that stands out when everything looks the same.

We have that unique ability with racing. We have access to things that most people don’t – scarce information, events and opportunities.

Schaefer asks us to finish this sentence: “Only we___.” The blank is what sets you apart from the crowd. It should be so specific that it sets you apart just from other people but from other racers. All of the other racers, in fact.

“Only we – consistently make quick time at our local track.”

“Only we – take our racecar to church events in our community.”

“Only we – have a unique paint scheme that everyone recognizes.”

“Only we – run into every thing that does and doesn’t move on and off the track.”

See what I mean?

Get specific. Once you start answering that question, you can create content that reflects that.

If your ‘only we’ or ‘only I’ is your professionalism and how you treat your team like a business, down to the amazing charts and graphs you create, then show that off. Make sure your website and social media channels are extremely professional and have statistics and information that only you have access to.

If your ‘only we’ is having a hilarious driver who loves to perform, then have someone follow him around with a video camera and post them to your channels with a witty hashtag.

Your ‘only we’ is the reason that you already have fans – people recognize qualities in us or things that we do that sometimes even we don’t – and if they already like you, they want more of that ‘only we’ thing. So make the most of it. Plus, you’ll attract even more people that like that ‘only we.’ Those people will become interested, interact and eventually become a loyal fan if we treat them right.

So what’s your ‘only we’?



P.S. My ‘only I’? Only I apply business sense to racing nonsense with practical, real-world advice – which is the tagline I’ll be debuting along with the rest of my website re-launch in a month. Super excited.

P.P.S. If you like this post, you might also like my post on why we race and why it matters.

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About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.