Real Fit AND Social:
If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or we’ve had a conversation in the last 6 months, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard something about November Project. Yes, I’m an avid participant (even when it feels like -21 below in a snowstorm) but this post isn’t about my participation. Either unknowingly (but probably knowingly) Brogan and Bojan, the co-founders of November Project have themselves the perfect situation to take advantage of the power of social media. They do no paid advertising, yet they are able to tap into the power of social media and word of mouth to get people to #riseandshine and #justshowup at 6:30 (and sometimes, 5:30!) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, despite whatever conditions Mother Nature presents.
Routinely, hundreds of people show up to get active to start their day. “The Tribe” has grown organically through word of mouth. At the end of most workouts, a group photo is taken, which results in exactly 50 people being tagged on Facebook. The potential for virality this creates on Facebook is tremendous, not to mention the other dozens of photos tagged, Instagrammed and tweeted. Unbeknownst to the user, anytime a photo is taken and posted, it results in many other people who are actually not participants (yet!) seeing how much fun we’re having out there. This means more and more people will learn about what’s going on, and hopefully join in on the fun!
This is organic social media marketing at its finest. Many of the photos contain what November Project calls “Grassroots Gear” (see example below) so if November Project isn’t already tagged, people can at least Google search “November Project” since it’s on the apparel.
Let’s take Mondays for example. Monday is called “Destination Deck” meaning it’s in a different location each week. There’s no mailing list or billboard to see where to go; the only place to find the location is through NP’s blog or other social media channels. All additional important information is posted this way as well.
This past Friday, normally a hill run at Summit Ave in Brookline, Boston was hit with about 14 inches of snow and subzero wind chills. Did that stop NP from its usual workout? Yes! Brogan and Bojan saw the opportunity as the perfect storm to do something even more awesome than just working out. They saw an opportunity to give back to our neighbors on the hill. They took to social media and told everyone that could make it, to bring a shovel. The workout yesterday resulted in half of Summit Ave’s driveways, cars, sidewalks and steps being shoveled out, almost entirely before any of the residents knew what was going on.
What does this mean for social businesses?
Brands can harness the power of social media in a similar way. People are always looking to be a part of a community, in whatever form that may present itself. Brands can organize tweet-ups where a group of people can meet-up for dinner/drinks (picture 50 people walking into a restaurant and spending lots of money) or to perform some sort of community service, by potentially incentivizing people with some sort of offer, brand swag, or giveaway prizes.
Looking for a brand that does this well?
First-Ever runDisney Nighttime Meet-Up to Kickoff Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort
runDisney offers the opportunity to run through Disney’s parks during a race, but there are plenty of other great destination races available. A way that they can differentiate themselves even more is by offering these meet-ups, often organized through social media. The running community is HUGE in the USA (somewhere around 40 million), but the running community involved in social media seems so much smaller. These meet-ups give people who may already be connected the once or twice a year opportunity to spend some time with each other in person, which otherwise might not be possible. This is certainly a huge deciding factor when it comes to deciding where you’ll be spending your money on race registration.
The opportunity doesn’t end with just the running community. Sports teams can take advantage of this too. Meet-and-greets with athletes and team-sendoffs to away games can be exclusively promoted through social media channels as well. In a town such as Boston (or any of the other major sports cities) there are multiple teams vying for your dollars as a fan. Differentiate your brand and offer exclusive, engaging opportunities like this and see what happens.
Brands that take advantage of the power to engage with people online, while also creating opportunities OFFLINE will continue to enjoy the rewards of doing so.