Telling Your Brand’s Story
Social media has become an excellent way to tell your brand’s story. It meets your customers and clients where they are and connects with them on a level beyond, above and around the normal sales pitch. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be used to make a sale - it just has to be done the right way and in a way that feels natural and authentic to the platform you’re using as well as your own brand. In his best-selling book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary Vaynerchuk discusses how to connect with your followers on social media through subtle “jabs.” These jabs of content establish trust and create a connection with your followers by giving them resources, information, shout outs, and other non-salesy information. For instance, a box may share pictures of their members working out - tagging each member in the photo and captioning it with inspiring quotes or a “kudos” style shout out. Nothing needs to be said about “sign up today” - the jabs just make people feel good - about themselves and about you.
The right hook comes later - when you’ve earned their trust. Then and only then, can you put out a completely authentic, earned sales pitch that by that time feels natural and is compelling to your followers.
So let’s look at a few different platforms and discuss some major DO’s and DON’Ts as well as how to “jab” your followers.
Facebook is becoming a difficult place for businesses. Thanks to some new algorithms, Facebook only shows unpaid business posts to about 10% of your followers. If the post gets positive feedback in the form of likes and comments, it is then shown to another 10% of your followers and so on. If it falls flat on that first 10%, no one else is likely to ever see it in their feed. However, paid advertisements can work wonders with guaranteed results and minimal budgets.
Facebook is also a great place to create a deeper community and its likely that the majority of your members or followers are already there. Create private groups for members of your gym so that they can share workout tips, pictures, WODs and more in a private setting that feels exclusive. This doesn’t cost you a thing, but is an added “perk” for your members. A private group is also a great place to introduce new members - they can get to know other members online before coming into the gym, easing them into the group.
Make sure you’re posting more than just WODs on your Facebok page. Share success stories, brands you love, upcoming events, community involvement and more. Make your members and followers feel like they are part of something bigger than just a gym.
Use twitter for timely and brief updates. Within your tweets, tag your followers, post pictures and use hashtags when you can. Create a hashtag that’s specific to your box so your followers can tweet and tag their own posts and pictures, creating a tag stream you and your members can reference and interact with.
You can post to twitter more frequently than Facebook or Instagram because the “life” of a tweet is usually only about 30 minutes before it’s so far down someone’s feed they’ll likely never see it. Make sure you are following your members as well as other brands and affiliates you respect. Retweet them often or tag them in posts about them.
Instagram is another great place to reach out to and engage with your members. Instagram is sort of like twitter for photographs, with the ability to edit and filter pictures, tag people and use hashtags.
When members sign up, gather their handles (usernames) on Twitter and Instagram and ask for their permission to tag them in photos you post. The CrossFit culture is very much about promoting your own members and their successes, and Instagram is a great place to do that.
Instagram is also a great place to connect with other brands and gyms you respect. “Regram” their pictures by taking a screenshot, then post and tag them in the comments so your followers can check them out. These are all authentic, engaging “jabs.”
Since Instagram is the newest of the platforms we’re discussing and since we see so many wins and so many fails on Instagram, here are a few DO’s and DON’Ts to keep in mind.
Tips for a Strong Instagram Presence
- Over do it on the filters. In fact, unless you went to school to do this, don't use them at all, except maybe an occasional black and white.
- Regram using a third party app. (CrossFit HQ instagram stopped doing this a while back.) Take a screenshot and give a shoutout in the comments!
- Post too many whiteboard pictures, or too many words in general. People are on IG to look, not read.
- Over promote. Jab, jab, jab - right hook when something is really worth it. 80-90% of your content should be eye candy for your audience.
- Memes. Enough said. You're better than that.
- Post a lot, but not too much. Once or twice a day is perfect.
- Take lots of pictures of your members! Celebrate them constantly.
- Post during peak hours (studies say its anywhere from 6pm-10pm).
- Follow accounts with GOOD content. Look to what they are doing for inspiration.
- Take video and grab a screenshot to get that perfect, blurry free pic.
- Be classy, positive, and encouraging in your images and in your voice.
- Encourage comments. Ask questions of your followers and RESPOND when they post!
- LIKE every picture that a member or follower posts that includes a location tag, hash tag, or comment having to do with your box. Let your followers feel the love.
Remember, it only takes one blurry, or dark, or over-filtered picture for a follower to lose faith in your feed. No one has time to look at poor content.