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How Le Grand Depart in Yorkshire took over social media for one weekend in July

9 July, 2014

Last weekend, an estimated 2.5 million people turned out to watch the world’s greatest cycle race begin its journey in Yorkshire for the Grand Depart.

Le Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme, is reported as saying “I can see the Tour in their hearts, and in their eyes. For that, I say thank you to everyone in Yorkshire who has made this Grand Depart so very, very special.”

This “grandest” of Grand Departs showcased some of Yorkshire’s most famous sights and landmarks, as well as its beautiful landscapes and scenery. There could not have been a better advertisement for our tourism and leisure industry than the television coverage provided.

The event also lent itself perfectly to great social media coverage too. The internet was awash with commentary, photographs and video clips of the race and the celebrations surrounding it.

But how did the organisers capitalise on the opportunity and ensure everyone was talking about the Tour de France online?

#TDFYorkshire during the build up

The Welcome to Yorkshire-led planning team ensured businesses knew about the Tour de France branding guidelines and offered advice on what they could display and how to maximise the benefits. They provided visuals and logos to members and partners.

The organisers also set up and widely publicised the event’s social media channels, collected email addresses and kept everyone up to date with regular email campaigns:

“For updates and information on Le Tour in Yorkshire keep checking the official website of the Grand Départ and sign up to receive the official newsletter of the Grand Départ Allez Yorkshire as well as the official social media channels.


Sign up for email updates




They widely promoted use of the #TDFYorkshire hashtag so people could share their photos and excitement online – and they encouraged posting through retweeting some of the best images and quotes.

The organisers put a lot of thought into the content they shared in the lead up to the event, with regular competitions, photo opportunities, questions and campaigns to get everyone excited for the race and sharing their own content.

#TDFYorkshire during and after the race

This was contiued throughout the event, and the social media pages were carefully managed to pick up and report on everything going on throughout the weekend.

They followed this up after the event by continuing to monitor their social media pages, share content and follow up on retweets and photographs shared after the event.

ITV did a good roundup of the best pictures and tweets from Le Grand Depart.

From the incredible crowds:

LeTour crowds

To some of the wonderful bike-related community art:

LeTour community art

A royal send off:

Royal send off

[Photo by Reuters]

Some great Yorkshire-style advice for the riders:

LeTour it int arf steep

And the police showing their fun side:

LeTour police high five

@WestYorksPolice: This crowd control business is tough. She does look wheely spoketackular though #TDF @letouryorkshire #TDFPolicePics

LeTour police tweet wheely spoketacular

It was an amazing weekend and a joy to watch.

The huge impact – both nationally and internationally – that the campaign created is clearly evident from the number of retweets now on the @LeTourYorkshire Twitter page – especially by visitors from around the world.

From an output of just over 3000 tweets, the Twitter page now has almost 66,000 followers [correct as at 9/7/14] – an incredible conversion rate!

By facilitating others and making it easy to share online, the social media campaign capitalised on the wave of enthusiasm for the event and made the most of all the content that other people were sharing.

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[Photo: Action Images]

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