The perceived value of NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski’s Twitter account soared more than $200,000 following his track-side tweets during the 2012 Daytona 500. Just three days after the incident, Keselowski’s Twitter account had attracted more than 215,000 followers, resulting in the estimated value of the account to soar to more than $300,000. Prior to the incident, Keselowski had fewer than 30,000 Twitter followers.
Keslowski and his Twitter account became news during this year’s Daytona 500 when the race was stopped due to a fire on the race track. As crews worked to extinguish the flames and repair damage to the track, drivers were forced to wait and watch. Taking advantage of the unusual circumstance, Keselowski retrieved his phone from his car and began Tweeting messages and photos. During the two hours the race was suspended, he gained more than 130,000 new followers.
He later explained how the phone came to be in a car he regularly drives at more than 200 m.p.h. During the 2007 NASCAR season, Keselowski was involved in a serious accident and was taken by helicopter to a local hospital. Without a way to communicate with his family during the incident, he vowed not to let that happen again so he had his team to install a holder for a phone inside his race car.
After initially considering taking action against the driver, NASCAR officials quickly realized the opportunity that was literally “at hand.” Keselowski says, “NASCAR was 100 percent behind my actions. They know I didn’t put myself, or anyone else, in jeopardy by tweeting while the car was moving. Everyone at NASCAR gets what Twitter and social media mean to the fabric of popular culture these days.”
NASCAR benefited as Keselowski’s photo of the on-track fire was retweeted more than 5,000 times and his name was been mentioned more than 100,000 times on Twitter in the days after the race. He had been described as a “Twitter natural,” even before his prime-time tweets from Daytona. Last year he used the medium to break news of the condition of his injured ankle following a crash during testing outside of Atlanta. Prior to this year’s Daytona 500, Keselowski’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team ran a promotion that allowed thousands of his followers to get their Twitter handles on his truck for that series race at Daytona.
For more information about strategic and crisis communications, call the Fallston Group at 410.420.2001. The Fallston Group is a crisis management and communications company; send email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.