By Edward Cardenas

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels  became an interactive source news, photos and updates for race fans during the weekend, especially during Sunday’s rain storm.

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The Twitter feed, which has nearly 7,400 followers, provided updates on racing schedules, live Periscope videos, videos and photos throughout the event.

But on a rainy Sunday morning, just days after the first Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans race was called early due lightning, the Twitter feed celebrated the weather and encouraged fans to come to the race.

A #Ponchoswag hashtag was also launched for followers to show how they wore rain gear.

 

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The Grand Prix’s social media team was augmented by 18 Wayne State communication students who worked with marketing agency OTTO Detroit and Franco Public Relations Group to create, publish and manage the social media content for the Grand Prix social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

“When it rained on Sunday, the social channels have grown so large that we needed really great moderation to answer all of the question that everybody had,” said Mark Russell, head of social marketing for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “We were able to respond and get back to everybody and answer their questions. We really wanted fans to know it was still going to be a great day.”

Under the direction of Franco Public Relations digital marketing specialist Alex Fulbright, the Grand Prix social media team became more responsive to questions posed on social media. She also created the #Ponchoswag hashtag and who wore it best? features.

These efforts paid off, with the Grand Prix social media channels having 138 million impression Friday through Sunday and a 1,000 new followers sign up. Last year there was 97 million impressions and 150 new followers.

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“The year-over-year growth has been incredible,” said Russell. “Fans are starting to rely on these social channel to get information.”