By Katie Cortez, Contributing Writer for Long Beach Business Journal
With less than two weeks left before the 43rd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, racing fans will see an influx of social media posts from every angle about the upcoming race weekend. The city’s largest event has seen a complete social media makeover in the short timespan of a little over one month.
Eight to 10 weeks before the race is the “most intense time period,” Grand Prix Director of Communications Chris Esslinger said. “That’s when you’re seeing the most selling, more stories out in the media. The promotion gets ramped up.” It is during these crucial weeks that Esslinger has brought in a total of three social media teams within the last few years. For the 2017 race, Esslinger and other members of the Grand Prix team wanted to see more engagement with their fan base, so they retained the media relations duo of Sadina Zaccari and Kelsey Duckett of Seventy Seven Enterprises.
Zaccari and Duckett had previously worked with the Grand Prix in the media relations department for the now defunct Pro/Celebrity Race and were chomping at the bit to give the overall race a social media upgrade. “Kelsey and I grew up in racing families, so this was a passion for us,” Zaccari said. “This is something that we absolutely enjoy and something that we wanted to be a part of and work for.”
On February 8, the two women began using their passion and knowledge of racing to promote the race weekend and engage with fans, with an understanding that social media is constant and by utilizing the different platforms as more than just advertising tools.
Doubling as the Grand Prix’s social media and media relations team, Zaccari and Duckett use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to reach out not just to fans but to other media outlets as well. “I handle the majority of [social media],” Zaccari said. “[Kelsey] likes to go on [Twitter] because she handles the media relations for the Grand Prix. So she’s on there engaging with journalists. She uses it more as a business tool than anything.”