Chris Ferguson: “The main thing that separates us from NASCAR is the fact that the fans can actually interact with the drivers.”
“I think the main thing that separates us from NASCAR is the fact that the fans can actually interact with the drivers,” Chris Ferguson tells RacingNews.co of social media usage.
Chris Ferguson has a big social media following. It’s sort of a job in itself to all the things up those things updated. At the same time, Chris and crew like to engage with the fans as well. It’s a team effort, his mom and his brother help him operate the social pages. As he said, “We always respond.”
Chris personally handles his twitter and his Instagram. But, with the Facebook page, it’s a group of editors.
“On my twitter, I’ll respond to everybody,” Ferguson claims. Everybody? “In all honesty, about 90%. I try to respond to everybody.”
Social media is the biggest tool drivers and track can use. With a couple clicks you could potentially reach an audience bigger than a sold out crowd at the dirt track. At the same time, it’s free.
“I think with a lot of people, they don’t use it enough. A lot of it has to do with myself and guys like you and Bobby Pierce, we grew up in the era of social media. When twitter was born, when Facebook was born, we were there for that. So, for us, it’s like a second language. I hate to say that but it is.”
If I’m not winning races at the same level as Scott Bloomquist or Jimmy Owens I gotta have that extra boost.
“I can take a photo and just post it on twitter. They’ll be a 150 people like it. The racer depends on sponsors and people that want to be involved with my team. If I’m not winning races at the same level as Scott Bloomquist or Jimmy Owens I gotta have that extra boost. To put myself at that level promotional wise. I think that’s where social media comes in hand.”
Note: Since this interview Chris Ferguson has announced that he will hit the national tour in 2018. The North Carolina driver is set to the join the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series.
Social Media Trolls
There are some negatives to social media. Or maybe, it’s a positive thing. I don’t know, it kinda depends on how you look at it…
Any regular user of social media has them, myself included. Most of the time, it’s the same people over and over. Little gnats that just buzz around your mentions. To the younger crowd, seeing this behavior is normal. It’s expected, but there’s also a lot of ways to handle them.
How do you handle the trolls? Do you ignore them? Do you block them? Do you troll them back?
“It depends on what kinda night it’s been, Ferguson explains to RacingNews.co. “I typically try to just ignore them. Just because my mom taught me that you don’t wanna stoop down to their level. It’s hard not to. Some people really throw some jabs.”
Kenny Wallace has an interesting take on this. Paraphrasing he says, “when people do that, it’s because they’re upset with their own life.” So, Kenny Wallace just responds to trolls by telling them him he loves them.
“In the end result, if you kinda stand your ground and let them be their self. At the end of the day, nobody’s better than anybody else. We’re all people, we’re all human. So, people make mistakes. You do your best not to stoop down to other peoples level.”
There are points where I don’t even read the Racing News comments, for days. That’s the level I go to ignore it. That’s silly though because most comments are positive or questionary.
But, it’s that hatful comment, that 1 in 20 comment that grabs your undivided attention. I try not to but sometimes I slip into defensive, attack mode and press the ‘nuke em’ button on the keyboard.
I try my best to just ignore them and I give that advance to anybody who’s trying to represent companies.
“There’s been times where people really struck a nerve,” Ferguson has similar instances. “I had to say what I believed was right. I try my best to just ignore them and I give that advance to anybody who’s trying to represent companies because these people want to see you on your best days.”
“People that spend a lot of money with you, they expect a professional. At the dirt late model level, people that put a lot of money into your program, they want to see you respect everybody. Respect fans and respect everybody at the race track.”
It’s so hard to ignore them. So hard.
“It is, it’s tough and I know you’ve dealt with it too. I see people all the time, I try not to read much into it. You’re doing your job and if people don’t like it, that’s their problem.”
“You’re not going to change people’s minds. When their mind’s set, they’re gunna say what they wanna say.”
In February, Chris Ferguson will hit the road for the World of Outlaws Late Model Series tour. The first event will be hosted at Screven Motor Speedway on February 9th.