In May of 2011, I took a look at how the F1 teams were using Twitter to connect with their fans. All the teams were using the platform at that time, but differently, reflecting the team policies and the personnel in charge of the accounts.  I re-assessed them in August of 2011 and again at the end of March 2012.

There have been a few changes in that time.  Teams  – and their sponsors- have realised the need to use social media to help market themselves and engage their fans. Someone who follows a team across social media channels can be seen as more of a fan and is perceived to have a higher value to the sponsors (there’s been some interesting studies on this, with the evidence compelling but not yet conclusive) . Teams are dipping in and out of different tools, with a website, Twitter and Facebook being the most common, but they’re also on YouTube, Flickr, Google+, Pinterest and others.

But this survey started off as Twitter only and the re-run is Twitter only. So how did they stack up? The methodology the same; I looked at the last 100 Tweets, the number of replies, the number of retweets and how recently the 100th Tweet was.   I weighted replies higher than the others in the scoring.

Team Replies retweets 100th Tweet Score
Ferrari 93 0 28th Mar 41
Lotus 71 1 25th Mar 41
McLaren 16 3 23rd Mar 35
Sauber 6 24 24th Mar 33
Mercedes 8 2 24th Mar 32
Caterham 7 4 23rd Mar 32
Red Bull 14 1 8th Feb 26
Marussia 4 1 23rd Mar 22
HRT 1 0 24th Mar 21
Williams 0 3 21st Mar 18
Force India 3 0 12th Mar 16
Toro Rosso 0 0 16th Nov 10

Taking a look at how their positions have changed

Team May 2011 August 2011 Mar 2012
Ferrari 10 10 1
Lotus 2 1 1
McLaren 9 4 3
Sauber 5 7 4
Mercedes 6 7 5
Caterham 2 3 5
Red Bull 7 9 7
Marussia 1 2 8
HRT 11 10 9
Williams 8 5 10
Force India 4 6 11
Toro Rosso 12 12 12

The biggest surprises there are Ferrari and Marussia. Taking a look at each of the teams.

  •  Ferrrari:  Was not last in previous surveys only due to  frequency of postings, but it was all broadcast. But in the last couple of months, it’s all changed. Ferrari have turned around their attitude to social media and have just taken it by the horns.  They’ve been argumentative and vocal, making sure their message is out there and not holding back when things are said they do not agree with. The reason they have such a high reply score is because they’ve spent a lot of hours this last week answering questions of all types. I LOVE the new Ferrari tweeter – or the fact they’ve let the previous person loose!
  • Lotus: Consistently good at Twitter; have not changed what they’re doing but they have changed their tone to have a lot more wit (I understand there’s a new Tweeter)
  • McLaren: From being broadcast they’re now pretty chatty, holding regular social Friday happenings to answer questions.
  • Sauber: Fairly consistent in ranking, although they have got into the bad habit of re-tweeting lots of praise about themselves. I can understand it after the Malaysia GP, but it’s a habit to keep an eye on.
  • Mercedes: No real change, they do a few more replies at the moment
  • Caterham: Have made a lot fewer replies and are doing more race broadcasting. I understand it’s the same person as last year, but they are pushing out more news during race
  • Red Bull: Still the same type of behaviours on Twitter. Red Bull are the team that are trying out a lot of new platforms at the moment, to various degrees of success (eg they ran a cake baking contest using Pinterest)
  • Marussia: The joint largest drop in rankings, with only 10% of the replies of last year. Another change of Tweeter, with little happening between races
  • Williams: are not doing that much on the channel, mainly race reporting. Although did join in the fun of #BOTTAS
  • Force India: a similar drop in the rankings to Marussia, (and another one with a change of person doing the tweeting as I understand it). They’ve stopped joining in the conversation
  • Toro Rosso: they don’t care about the platform at all.
Christian Horner on Twitter? Not officially no, but he could be... image: @CraigNormanF1