This week on The DOYO Live Marketing Show our special guest will be Ryan Martino of Martino Motorsports. We are super excited to have Ryan on our Facebook Live marketing show this Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 11AM to discuss:
- Marketing in motorsports.
- Martino Motorsports use of social media.
- Youngstown - Ryan and his father are major contributors to a number of charitable organizations in the Valley.
Ryan took time to contribute a blog to DOYO Live, which is why we are here...If you have expertise and want to contribute content on marketing, social media, PR, lead generation, etc. Please be sure to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Media In Motorsports - A Family Affair
By: Ryan Martino, Martino Motorsports
My father Tom Martino and I have a sportsman drag race team headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio. We compete on a national level in the NHRA Drag Racing Series (www.NHRA.com) and are known as one of the top teams in our level of competition.
Our main objective through marketing with social media sources is to increase and maintain our worldwide fan base and exposure, attract new associates to our race team, and help promote the associates involved with our race team on a regular basis.
We are internationally known and recognized through our fame in the drag racing industry. Our fan base is worldwide.
We’ve been featured in articles in major print publications for our social media coverage and are often consulted with regarding social media sources and postings.
Social media is essentially a “free” marketing tool available to everyone and carries endless potential. We utilize the most popular forms of social media sources for our race team, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. In drag racing, Instagram (used to be Facebook) seems to be the most popular form of social media with Twitter the least popular.
This doesn’t hold true for most other sports. My theory is the most active demographics and age group in drag racing is the 40+ crowd who always wants to know who’s doing what and when. For some reason Twitter scares people away. It’s just a statement with an occasional photo or video. Instagram captures the fast paced society we live in and gives focus to videos and photos and not much text. People just scroll and like or comment. Facebook seems like a “cool” thing to be involved with for the older generation still. You see the 40+ crowd bragging about having a Facebook account, whereas the under 40 crowd sees it as part of daily of life.
Social Media Collides with Motorsports to Make Sweet Music
We were introduced to social media source marketing through friends of ours in the music industry in 2011. We took a look at what social media was doing for their music careers and record sales and tried to mirror that with our race team. The feedback we received from them was invaluable. There’s a reason why they have such a dedicated fan base and get the record sales and ticket sales they produce as an artist.
Chuck D of Public Enemy was probably one of the best guys to talk to about the “State of the Union” for marketing on social media and marketing in general.
The old Instagram days in 2011, where all you could post was a square photo with a border. This is tough to pull off when you have a long skinny cars.
Although we have been very successful both on and off the track and are very well “decorated” with awards and honors over the years, as a sportsman race team it’s very difficult to get mainstream media exposure for your fans and associates through major media print publications and television. We do very well with that exposure because of the branding of our race team, networking, etc. We are one of the heaviest marketed sportsman level race teams in all of drag racing.
To us, social media is a golden opportunity to reach out to our fans, promote our associates on a daily basis, and promote our associate’s products and services to demographics they aren’t usually exposed to. For instance, if we are at a concert and post pictures from the event, we are giving the concert goers and/or fans of the band an opportunity to see our social media sources and potentially attract a new fan to our race team and/or new potential customer to the associates of our race team through hash tagging.
People think we pay a big-time marketing firm to do our marketing and run our social media sources.
Our most commonly asked question is do we handle all of our own social media sources. Yes, we maintain all of our own social media sources, posts, and comments.
Race teams are hiring social media directors to exclusively handle their driver and race team social media sources for $40,000+ a year. That should tell you how important social media sources are to the sport of drag racing, sponsors, and fans.
Social media posting often takes advanced planning and around 20-30 minutes a day for posts and interaction with fans, fellow racers, and associates. We elect to post social media daily to keep fans active with our race team and happenings. Associates and fans invest time and support in our racing program, so it’s our way to give back. We are in a right now state of mind with the world, media, and news, so why not give fans and associates the right now on what’s happening and how we are doing?
On a grand scale, the technology for social media posting is already right in the palm of your hand on a constant basis throughout the day, and takes a couple seconds to shoot a photo to share or to post anything in general. If you were investing in someone’s race program, wouldn’t you want the extra “free” exposure for your company?
We do a lot of community service projects in our off weekends with local organizations in Youngstown such as the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, the local Cub Scout pack, Friends of Fido (Assisting the dogs of the Mahoning County Dog Pound), etc. We have to control our postings and make sure everything is kid approved and friendly due to our involvement with these organizations and fan base. We are definitely in a more sensitive society these days, so the less possibility of offensive material, the better we are. A lot of people show the “party” pics with beer, cigars, etc. Is that a good reflection for the companies they represent, our sport, our fans?
Let’s face it, the same photo of your car every day gets stale real fast, so you have to come up with new, creative, innovative ways to keep posts interesting. We usually try different camera angles, highlights of the cars features, old photos of our cars, etc
We are always copied. Whether it’s something to do with the race car’s layout, paint schemes, etc. Or social media, with coverage, camera angles, video angles, promo videos, filters, etc.
We do themed days to give people a chance to tune in if they are fans of a certain theme each week. WheelsUpWednesday (pics of the car pulling the wheels off the ground) TireSmokeTuesday (burnout pics of the car) ThrowBackThursday, etc. Although we aren’t the innovators of some of these days, we’ve definitely took this concept to a 7-day script some weeks and people have followed suit with their social media sources.
If applicable, we always give photo credit. These photographers are either amateurs, fans, professional photographers, have money invested in their talents and equipment, and take the time to shoot photos of your car and race team and share them. Give credit where credit is due.
Shark Week - Think Outside the Box
Thinking outside the box. In 2013, during Shark Week we decided to introduce a new team member to Martino Motorsports, an inflatable shark named #SharkTino which was covered with decals of the associates of our race program. Throughout the week we took #SharkTino around with us and took photos around the garage, at the track, around town, etc.
Due to the overwhelming success of Shark Week, we continue to bring back #SharkTino yearly. This includes a #SharkTino shirt line, which sells out instantly, and focus our social media to #SharkTino’s postings. As dumb as this concept may sound to some, we hit a major market for exposure (anyone interested in Shark Week), gave fans a good reason to follow our social media sources more closely throughout the day, and now have increased social media followers thanks to #SharkTino. We even created a SharkTinoOnTheShelf this past winter during the Christmas season, and had a lot of fun with that.
Social media is also a great way for the media, associates, and fans to stay up to date with your progress without hounding them with emails and telephone calls every time something big happens.
Behind the Scenes Access
All-access coverage. We are far from being regular news headlines on E! and Entertainment Weekly, but we try to give our followers an interactive look at what goes on behind the scenes at Martino Motorsports when not racing, and a first-hand look at some of the wild adventures we endure during off days and weekends (which include restaurant trips, road trips, concerts, sporting events, etc.).
We are known as the rock stars of drag racing. We are always backstage at concerts and on the field for major sporting events, front row, etc. We have branded our race team well over the years. Due to our fame and recognition, we are able to do this.
Let’s face it 24/7 and 365 of the same car gets dull and boring. You can only cover so much, we mix it up as much as we can.
We were featured on Discovery Channel for a reality television show on prime time television. As much as I thought this would boost social media numbers for us, we didn’t really see much of an impact from the appearance. This was bizarre.
Race Day Fan Engagement
When at racing events, we try to do our best to give our fans and associates the total interactive experience as if they were with us for the weekend. We keep these individuals up to date with our race schedule so they can log in and follow along, if the event will be shown on a live feed or television live so they can watch along, and post our results as they occur. Race coverage can get difficult when you start going rounds, but with the help of fans, we are able to keep everyone posted on our progress. One of the biggest struggles is being at a track with a weak cell phone signal or no wifi, and having to drive around to find a hot spot in the middle of a cornfield or fencepost to post to social media.
From the other perspective, social media is also a great tool for fans and associates to know where we will be racing and/or doing a personal appearance. This allows these individuals to attend and support these events, spread the word to family, friends, and suppliers, retailers, etc. It’s also a great way for these individuals to share their experiences, photos, and videos from these events to their friends and our race team. It’s often a win-win situation for all.
Social media is also a great way for distant fans to keep in touch with our raceteam. We get regular requests for autographs, team apparel, etc. and ship all across the world to these fans thanks to social media.
The silent likes and silent followers. Everyone knows what you’re up to, doing, and where you are, but these people don’t follow you, like, or comment on your social media posts.
Measurement - Speedy Results
Some of the frustrations with social media marketing is the like and favorite counts for posts and total followers on each social media source. We often get comments from other race teams and associates that our social media sources are considered to be one of the most active, have the best content, and set the standard for social media marketing in drag racing. Most of the time, our posts have great support, but not as much as we’d like. Some teams pay for followers, we elect not to. This has to effect our chances with some potential associates to our race program, but on the other hand, you look at people who have 300,000+ followers and they are no further ahead then we are with a fan base and associates to their race program.
We made it to our first 1000 followers on Instagram without following anyone as a goal. It was accomplished in about 5 months.
The other fundamental to social media is knowing your associate’s social media sources and preferred hashtags for increased traffic for their company. For instance, one of our associates is K&N Filters. People will hashtag #K&NFilters, and have no idea that all that’s hashtagged is #K.
We are known as the kings of hashtagging. Love it or hate it, it’s 30 fishing lines out for new fans and worldwide exposure for our race team and associates.
Other struggles are timing. There’s a ton of research and books written on the timing subject for the best time to post. You can have the best post in the history of social media, but if it’s posted at 2:30 PM on a sunny Saturday afternoon, who’s really going to see it?
Overall, social media marketing is a priceless and valuable tool to our race team and the future of the sport of drag racing. If you ask ten people about it, you will get ten different responses and theories on how to be successful through social media marketing. It’s a highly debated subject, but is definitely the way of the future and leading cause for the extinction of print publications.
One more thing, don’t forget to like all our social media sources at
Martino Mortor Sports on social media:
ABOUT Martino Motorsports
Martino Motorsports is a family owned and operated sportsman drag race team headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio. Martino Motorsports is comprised of father-son tandem, Tom and Ryan Martino. Drag racing has been a hobby to the Martino family for 40+ years. While both maintaining full-time employment throughout the week, Tom and Ryan compete on a national level with their award-winning race program in the NHRA drag racing series (www.NHRA.com) against drivers and race teams from across the world, and are known as one of the top teams in their level of competition. The Martinos’ race season typically runs April through October and includes stops in most major venues between the east coast to mid-western portions of the United States.
In our careers, we have earned countless event and class wins in 10+ categories of drag race competition and multiple “Top 5” finishes in season points standings in both national and regional competition; broken numerous national and world records in Stock, Super Stock, and Modified competition; are multi-time top qualifier award recipients; and have been awarded 20+ Best Appearing Car and Best Appearing Crew honors.
Ryan Martino, a second generation driver for Martino Motorsports, grew up at the race track with his father Tom. While Tom was racing into the late hours of the night, Ryan could be found throughout the pit area racing everything from matchbox cars to big wheels trying to follow in his father’s winning footsteps. As son of a national drag racing standout, Ryan had an easy transition into licensed driving duties in the early 2000s earning his Super Comp license driving one of NHRA legend Edmond Richardson’s rear-engine dragsters, and winning three out of his first eight events in Sport Compact competition driving a hometown built Chevrolet Cavalier in 2003. In the summer of 2011, Ryan upgraded his NHRA competition license to Advance E.T. status during the NHRA Lucas Oil Series Event at the historic National Trail Raceway and currently alternates driving duties with his father Tom throughout the season.
The Martinos presently compete in the fastest sportsman-level category offered in drag racing, Top Dragster, with a custom-built 260" rear-engine dragster equipped with a 1300+ horsepower 665 cubic inch V-8 Big-Block Chevrolet enhanced with two nitrous-oxide systems. The Martino’s dragster covers sixty feet in less than one second and crosses the quarter-mile finish line at speeds well over 215 miles per hour. Once the dragster crosses the finish line, a two parachute system is deployed to slow the vehicle for a safe exit from the racing surface.
Tom received the nickname “World Famous” in the late 1970s after receiving his fair share of national media attention with his then famed “Tino’s Toy” Dodge Dart. This feat was nearly unheard of for a sportsman class racer on the NHRA, IHRA, and AHRA circuits at this time. The nickname started as a joke with close friends and fans in Northeast Ohio, however, after making multiple appearances in some of the most popular media publications in the racing industry, product catalogs for industry leaders, and various appearances on television, the nickname quickly spread like an epidemic throughout the country as race announcers picked up on what Martino was accomplishing through his racing operation. The nickname still remains with Tom as a result of his many accomplishments on and off the race track over the years.
Ryan played NCAA Division I college football at Youngstown State University (2000-2004) under Coaches Jim Tressel and Jon Heacock, and graduated from Youngstown State University with honors in 2004. Ryan currently serves a Bailiff in the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas. Ryan was honored by the Mahoning Valley Young Professionals in 2013 as a “Top 25 Young Professional Under 35” for his outstanding contributions and community service involvement in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio through the use of he and his father’s race program.
The Martinos take great pride in giving back to their community in their spare time and are actively involved with a host of hometown organizations including the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County; the Beatitude House (serving homeless and disadvantaged women and children in three counties in Northeast Ohio); the Friends of Fido (assisting the dogs of the Mahoning County Dog Pound); and local Cub Scout packs. The Martinos use their race team and car as platforms to help promote these organizations on a local and national level throughout their race season and make multiple personal appearances for these organizations throughout the year to help raise awareness to their causes.
In 2012, the Martinos worked with the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County to develop a #ReadToSucceed program to help promote the public library system, its services and valuable resources available to the community, and most importantly stress the importance of reading to all ages through the use of their race car and team. That same year, the Martinos were selected to join the library’s elite list of local and national celebrities involved with the Public Library’s celebrity READ poster program, which includes accredited award-winning authors, movie and television stars, and professional athletes from all over the world.
In 2015, the Martinos were recognized by the City of Youngstown (Ohio) with a “Welcome to Youngstown” billboard which remains standing present day, welcoming visitors and residents to the historic city and recognizing the Martinos as National Drag Racing Standouts. This honor was dedicated and presented to the Martinos by the Mayor of Youngstown and Youngstown City Council in the Spring of 2015.
In 2016, the Martinos were recognized by the Mahoning Valley Historical Society for their accomplishments and contributions to the automotive industry and were currently featured in a four-month exhibit titled “The Wheels of Steel: Mahoning Valley Car Culture” sponsored by Summit Racing Equipment. This exhibit showcased the rich history of car culture and automotive history of the Mahoning Valley including the Packard, the Avanti, and various Chevy / GM / Pontiac models (which were all manufactured in the Mahoning Valley); racing legends and tuners such as the Blaney Family (Sprint Car and NASCAR), Floyd Trevis (Indy Car and Sprint Car), and our race team; historic race tracks; and nationally recognized and award winning car clubs and custom car/ restoration shops.
ABOUT DOYO Live
DOYO Live is a digital marketing and interactive design conference in Youngstown, Ohio. Which will be held on August 2 & 3, 2017. We are dedicated to the ongoing education of marketing, sales, business, and design professionals through our online assets, in-person workshops and annual marketing conference. We are also dedicated to helping stimulate the economy of Youngstown, Ohio and are purpose driven. We give back with local charities and time. Which is why we are so pumped about The DOYO Live Marketing Show, which features a number of local experts and businesses. If you are interested in having your business featured on an upcoming DOYO Live Marketing Show, email us! Dennis@DOYOLive.com.