At the beginning of each week, Owner Case Belcher meets with the rest of the Four Barrel CrossFit staff to discuss everything from business issues to their social media strategy.
“It’s pretty easy to see the weeks we sit down and put a lot of thought into it. Our reach and our impact is a lot higher than the weeks that we don’t,” Belcher said. “I think that’s one of the big keys to staying consistent and getting the most specs you can out of really any social media platform.”
Bill Byrne, the director at Remedy Communications, said while having a strategy is helpful, the hardest measurements with social media are engagement and tone. It’s one thing to get a lot of likes, Byrne said, but those likes have to turn into memberships.
Even Eric Allen, the vice president of business development at Wodify, struggles with social media engagement on Wodify’s Facebook page. He explained that when Wodify’s Facebook page had 10,000 followers, it experienced much more engagement than it does now at over 55,000 followers.
If a Box owner sees a drop of engagement on social media, Byrnes said it’s time for a change of strategy. “Every couple months, you don’t need to redo your website, but maybe you redo the way you post images to Facebook or Instagram. Maybe you redo the filter or the font you use. Something that keeps people engaged,” Byrnes said. And unfortunately, he has not found a magic formula to conquering social media. It’s experimenting and adapting to what works for each specific gym’s membership-base.
Four Barrel CrossFit is in the middle of a website renovation. Since opening, Belcher said they have continued adding programs and a video archive to the site, so he is worried it’s getting cluttered. He and his team are in the process of deciding what is useful and what they can get rid of on the site.
Byrnes said the secret to social media is for Affiliates to engage consumers like how they themselves would want to be engaged. “The easiest example: don’t clog the feed. If you’ve got that friend that posts non-stop throughout the day, no one likes that. So don’t do it to your members either. The other easy point is [to] be diverse. If you only post cat photos, that’s going to get annoying,” Byrnes said. “Social media posts, even with the best intentions, can demotivate as much as they can motivate. Pay special attention to what you post and also, how often you post things.”
Belcher added Four Barrel uses social media to tell the story of the gym, which involves facilitating community.
He and Byrnes both agreed that in such a “DIY culture,” social media is a beast that most Affiliates should be able to tackle themselves. This means they don’t have to outsource the task to a local agency. “It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can be as simple as that owner or that Coach sitting down and being like ‘OK, we’re going to use these three outlets, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and then we’re going to post two times a day and here’s the type of content that we’re going to post.’ It can be that simple,” said Belcher.
Wodify is hoping to also add simplicity with the social engagement tool in its app. While Allen admits the app is seeing improvements in the next year, he believes it has helped develop community outside of the Box.
And while members may attend the same weekly class times, the social media tool allows people to learn about others in the community who go to different classes. “I’m at least going to know a bit about them. I’m going to know that they usually finish in the top of the leaderboard. I’m going to know that they maybe PR’d Fran last week. I’m going to know a couple of these things about them, so I think it definitely enhances community,” said Allen.
Most importantly, he said social media could act as a digital accountability friend that allows you to see how an athlete did at a previous WOD, and then inspire him or her to do better on the next workout.