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  • Social Media
  • Social Media
  • Social Media

    Live-Tweeting a 70-Year-Old Event | Iroquois Steeplechase

    Twitter and Facebook expand the tradition of Nashville’s annual celebration of spring.

    Situation

    For over 70 years, the Iroquois Steeplechase has marked the beginning of Nashville’s social season. From extravagant women’s hats to luscious food and drink, the annual horse race tells the story of the South like no other sporting event can.

    While the race itself is historic and full of tradition—like the beloved parade of the hounds—communications about the event and conversations between race directors and its fans cannot follow this traditional path.

    For the 70th running, the Bradford Group helped the Iroquois Steeplechase modernize its publicity and event marketing by integrating live social media updates. With a fully committed presence on Facebook and Twitter, the event overcame operational challenges like spotty cell phone service and an over-taxed website to talk with its fans on the most important day of the year.

    Actions

    Two months before the 2011 Iroquois Steeplechase, the Bradford Group created a Twitter account for the event and began gathering followers and posting race details leading up to the big day.
    Race day dawned cold and rainy, but the Bradford Group was out in full force, manning the media tent and monitoring early social media chatter.

    For the event, the Bradford Group pre-scheduled Facebook updates and tweets that shared facts and an insider’s perspective on Nashville’s annual rite of spring. Content included:

    • Sponsor recognition
    • Official race details
    • A #steeplechase101 hashtag, which introduced newer fans to the sport

    During the event, we used social media to continuously post live updates that commented on big moments; circulated the latest weather outlooks;  responded to race goers; posted individual race results; and integrated photos and videos that captured the excitement, fashion and energy of race day.

    Results

    The morning of May 14, 2011—as the 2011 Iroquois Steeplechase got underway—the hashtags #steeplechase and #Nashville were both trending topics on Twitter, which means that they were in the top 10 Twitter topics nationwide.

    Additionally, we saw a 575% increase in the daily mention of the @TNSteeplechase handle. More importantly, our 2011 efforts set the Iroquois Steeplechase up for the future, as fans increasingly joined in on the social media conversation for the 2012 event.

    For example, for the 2012 running, fans of event’s Facebook Page engaged with posts five times more on race day than the daily average of the previous month. On race day alone, the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Facebook posts were seen in users’ news feed or ticker 17,404 times.

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