The organisation I have chosen for this assignment is the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) – which is the statutory body for all New Zealand racing and betting. In particular this assignment focuses on NZRB’s event information hub – TheRacesNZ – which is found at theraces.co.nz.
Use of Technology
TheRacesNZ provides a hub for the more than 60 race clubs throughout the country to promote their events. Clubs update their event pages individually, TheRacesNZ provides a standardised format for displaying the information.
The racing industry is trying to attract a young audience base to come along and enjoy a day out at the races. The primary vehicle used to engage with this demographic is social media.
More than just a website, social media facilitates social networking and the creation of communication links between organizations and individuals important to its existence.
As well as providing event information, TheRacesNZ also encourages people to become a Friend in return for which users receive access to competitions and prizes, the latest news on upcoming events, and early access to tickets for certain events.
Other social media activities take place on TheRacesNZ’s blog, Pinterest page, twitter updates @TheRacesNZ, photos uploaded from racing events to TheRacesNZ’s Instagram account, and there is a Facebook page.
Communication between TheRacesNZ and its followers takes place via the blog and Pinterest (one way communication). Email direct marketing (e-DM) is also used to communicate directly with members – these email communications can be tailored to specific individual details based on the information provided when people have registered as a Friend of TheRacesNZ, (e.g. fashion tips for young, female racegoers who have previously attended a racing event).
Photos and videos shared via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook allows racegoers to share their experience at a racing event with their own group of friends. The Content Specialist is also able to share images captured at race meetings, with the wider audience via these social media platforms.
People are encouraged to collaborate with each other via the social media platforms by for example, messaging about the weather at a particular raceday saying how sunny it is to encourage others to come along; they can also post photos of their location at the venue, crowd shots showing everyone having a great time, etc.
During and following the racing event, TheRacesNZ also post video clips and photos from the day and encourage others to do the same – tagging in their friends and sharing their experience. In effect, they are marketing the event to their broader networks and hopefully encouraging others to come along to a race meeting to experience the fun.
At selected racedays, people are encouraged to provide their email address for feedback. Following the race meeting, an email is sent out with a link to the survey. Everyone who completes the survey goes in the draw for a prize. The feedback is collated and sent back to the racing clubs to use for future event planning.
Polices & Guidelines
To ensure a united look and feel across all social media content, TheRacesNZ has a Content Specialist who is responsible for monitoring all content prior to it being posted to any of TheRacesNZ social media platforms. Other members of TheRacesNZ team are encouraged to send through content, particularly photos and videos from actual race meetings they are attending.
The NZRB also has the following in place:
Social Media Guidelines
The Guidelines provide information for all employees and contractors who use social media sites where they identify themselves as being associated with NZRB. This ensures correct procedures are followed such as individuals including a disclaimer statement in their bio information e.g. “These are my personal views”.
The Guidelines also encourage all NZRB staff to take an active interest in the NZRB’s social media activity, encouraging everyone to monitor the social media landscape and forward any links to positive or negative remarks about the NZRB through to the Communications team.
Social Media Policy
The Policy details what is acceptable practice when using social media platforms and provides details about the use of social media sites for NZRB communication and promotional purposes. Even though different business units across NZRB may have their own social media presence, all content must meet NZRB corporate standards and those standards are documented in the social media policy.
Cisco’s S.O.C.I.A.L. approach
Using Cisco’s S.O.C.I.A.L. philosophy framework, these are the five areas as applied to TheRacesNZ’s social media presence:
Much like Cisco, NZRB actively encourages its employees to participate in social media – and as with Cisco, all employees are expected to do so within the guidelines of the Social Media Policy and the Social Media Guidelines.
NZRB employees are encouraged to actively monitor social media. While Cisco encourages their employees to directly engage with customers, NZRB Policy requests that any positive or negative feedback identified online, is referred via email to the NZRB Communications team. This provides for a structured approach to responding to feedback (particularly negative feedback).
The Social Media Content Specialist is responsible for ensuring the quality of the social media online content is maintained at a high level at all times. This includes engaging with new members in a timely manner (e.g. individually acknowledging and welcoming new Friends of TheRacesNZ within 24 hours), ensuring the blog is kept up to date and relevant, e.g. as we move into winter racing, updating the Fashion tips to reflect the change of seasons, etc.
Key social metrics are monitored and measured regularly to identify what is popular with the audience and what may not be reaching the target audience.
Like Cisco, NZRB also actively look for both advocates and detractors of their business. Social media provides a platform where those individuals can be identified and engaged with. Regular monitoring of feedback, comments posted online, etc. ensures the organisation is able to react quickly and effectively when dealing with both positive, but mainly, negative feedback.
Once a new Friend of TheRacesNZ has registered, they are contacted generally within 24 hours by the Content Specialist, acknowledging them as a new Friend.
All Instagram posts, tweets, Facebook comments, etc. which mention TheRacesNZ are also individually acknowledged. This is done to establish a real connection between followers and TheRacesNZ.
Providing the template for event information at TheRacesNZ allows all racing clubs, no matter whether they are run entirely by volunteers as is the case with many smaller clubs, or they are large organisations with their own dedicated marketing departments, to provide all of the relevant information in a consistent format.