Specialized Bicycling Components had a terrific close to July. Last weekend, Italian cyclist Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour de France while riding one of the company's 22-speeds, and then sales accelerated in certain global markets, according to the company's executives.
But Nibali isn't the only one who deserves a pat on the back—marketers for the Morgan Hill, Calif.-based player were generating a ton of buzz leading up to the win on Twitter, utilizing the platform's video ad unit that's currently in test mode. The tweeted spots garnered a 6.5 percent engagement rate, which is double what the brand got during last year's Tour, per Clayton Anderson, Specialized social media lead.
"And then if you look across all of our social media platforms from Facebook to Instagram," he explained, "we had about 500,000 engaged users and around 6 million impressions [overall]."
Last year, Anderson said, Specialized racked up a 350,000 engaged consumers—a notably lower number.
While Twitter video stats are intriguing, the suggestion that social media helped drive revenues with Specialized's retail partners is even more interesting. Ben Capron, CMO for the brand, said some locations saw 5X sales jumps as Nibali rode to glory.
"With the Tour de France being a truly global event and second in terms of viewership only to the World Cup, it creates a lot of inspiration that really drives folks to get down to their Specialized dealers and get on a bike and get out there and ride," he said, "which is really what we're all about."
Indeed, while Adidas enjoyed World Cup marketing successes, Specialized's Tour de France initiative, dubbed #ItsMyTour, shows that niche players can achieve big things with real-time marketing, too.
But of course, it helps that the company's bike won 10 out of the three-week event's 21 stages.
"We were really fortunate this year," Capron said. "We literally won the whole kit and caboodle."
Lastly, here are two examples of the videos his team pushed with Promoted Tweets for the Tour de France. (You need to click on them to watch.)