South Arlington CrossFit Communications Plan Mayra Gonzalez Georgetown University Advanced Strategic Digital Communications 2013
TABLE OF CONTENTS CFSA Plan
Executive Summary ........................................................................................................ 3 Situation Analysis ............................................................................................................. 4 Background ..................................................................................................................... 5 CFSA Goal & Objectives .............................................................................................. 10 Key Publics ..................................................................................................................... 10 Strategies & Tactics ...................................................................................................... 12 Appendices: References ............................................................................................. 16
Executive Summary ______________________________________________________________________
Trends in the fitness industry come and go. Since its inception in 2000, CrossFit has attracted many ardent enthusiasts across the United States -‐ as well as its share of critics. CrossFit South Arlington (CFSA) is a CrossFit affiliate gym founded in December 2009 by our client, Siddharth Sawkar. CFSA is committed to the methods of the Crossfit program, but its owner and staff are also committed to making a significant impact in their customer’s lives through a school-‐based approach that involves goal-‐setting and nutrition education. Through online research, on-‐site interviews and member surveys, we learned about what attracted the members to CFSA, what is keeping them at CFSA and areas of opportunity for improvement. The results suggest that CFSA is on the right track and can generate even more success with the new school based approach if communications by the gym staff, especially the owner, to the community are consistent, clear and repeated across multiple channels. This plan offers suggestions and tools that will support the client and his staff as they work to communicate with members more clearly, regularly and efficiently.
Situation Analysis ______________________________________________________________________ Mr. Sawkar purchased and renovated an abandoned warehouse to house the gym, or “box” in the lingo of CrossFit (see Appendix H), in a developing neighborhood in Crystal City in Arlington County, VA. Arlington County is home to multiple CrossFit gyms (see Appendix C). The parent company does not prohibit competing boxes from opening in close proximity based on the assumption that successful locations will survive if not thrive from having to compete for members based on the quality of the offering. In the fall of 2012 and in the competitive spirit of the parent company’s philosophy, the client realized the need to differentiate his box from other area boxes and other popular gyms. CFSA began to adopt increasingly personal and customized coaching methods with a focus on personal goal setting and community-‐building. In fact, the overwhelming and positive theme in member survey responses was the sense of community that Mr. Sawkar was able to create (Appendix D). In
January 2013, Mr. Sawkar announced the gym would focus on a new school-‐based fitness approach to guide its members to take responsibility for their own lives and start to live their lives according to their aspirations and dreams. The new school-‐based approach implemented in April 2013 requires members to follow specific training and education in order to reach their goals. CFSA coaches help each member define their goals and target their perceived constraints or weaknesses, reinforcing and building their strengths in order to realize a more abundant and enjoyable life. In late March of 2013, CFSA’s head coach, who had been working closely with the client to initiate the school-‐based programming changes, unexpectedly resigned. Hoping to help members and staff make the transition with out the head coach, the client hired a new communications lead. This was in order to improve communication between staff and the members of the gym as the owner suspected that a lack of sufficient communication contributed to the former head coach’s decision to leave.
The CrossFit Service CrossFit members complete daily strength and conditioning workouts to improve overall fitness. CrossFit is known for its Internet and virtual community model. The CrossFit parent company allows independent gyms to license the “CrossFit” name to affiliates who pay an annual fee and has certified trainers. Affiliated gyms are allowed to have individual specified adaptations and develop their own programming, pricing, and instructional methods. CrossFit workouts are typically 20 minutes or less and include high-‐intensity interval training and all out physical exertion. Workouts include combinations of various exercises and equipment. Longer, hour-‐long workouts are typically performed at affiliated gyms and include warm ups, work outs of the day, skill development segment, and stretching. Workouts are recorded and scored to track progress and promote competition.
Background ______________________________________________________________________ Fitness Industry Overview
According to IBSWorld Analysts, the fitness sector is likely to continue growing despite economic uncertainty (IBISWorld).
IBISWorld Analysts, 2012
This bodes well for CFSA, though the gym may want to follow any consumer impacts in the area caused by the recent sequester-‐related furloughs and consider these trends when setting or changing pricing. Brand Analysis: Sentiment and Tone of Online Authorities The highly educated demographic of the gym’s membership and prospective members are likely to research gyms and exercise programs before dedicating time and money. Therefore, it’s important to find out what opportunities exist for communicating value by analyzing trusted reference websites and online peer reviews. While there is significant positive sentiment online about CrossFit, there are many warnings about the training of the coaches and the program’s grounding in science. For example, the WebMD review of CrossFit cautions users to “… be aware that the CrossFit coach may not have an appropriate educational background in sports conditioning. Strength and conditioning specialists spend years learning proper technique of explosive exercises and some have degrees in exercise science, biomechanics, or kinesiology” (Esco). The WebMd entry also questions the degree to which CrossFit’s methods are backed by scientific evidence: “A review of the current scientific literature, however, shows no published studies about CrossFit in top-‐rated peer-‐
reviewed strength and conditioning or exercise physiology research journals“ (Esco). Both of these criticisms are important to note as CFSA should be sure to frequently communicate the qualifications of its staff as well as evidence, to the extent available, to support the CrossFit method. The popular community-‐run site Wikipedia does offer praise for the CrossFit method but also points to an alarming and possible liability issue relating to CrossFit gyms. According to the entry, in 2005, a lawsuit against a Virginia gym that taught CrossFit won $300,000 in damages, claiming that “CrossFit poses an elevated risk of rhabdomyolysis”. According to Dr. Stuart McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, “The risk of injury from some CrossFit exercises outweighs their benefits when they are performed with poor form in timed workouts. He added there are similar risks in other exercise programs but noted that CrossFit's online community enables athletes to follow the program without proper guidance, increasing the risk” (Wikipedia). This does not appear to be an issue for CFSA. The new academic approach encourages mastery of basics before moving to the following level. By being proactive and honest in its communications about the importance avoiding injury by recognizing the signs of rhabdomyolysis, for example, CFSA is likely to keep its members healthy (and therefore working-‐out) while simultaneously helping to protect the gym. Another potential challenge for CrossFit gyms is the perception that the system or program is a trend rather than an established and legitimate program. As a writer for the popular monthly Men’s Health magazine explained, “There's something about CrossFit that makes some people want to post videos of them doing pull-‐ups—while that ‘something’ drives others like me away. But if nothing else, the earnest zeal I saw in my 3 months of WODs gave me hope. Maybe someday I'll find a fitness regimen that hooks me the way CrossFit hooked them. What have you heard about Zumba?”(Stoddard). This quotation hits on a key issue for CrossFit – that it could very well be a fitness craze or fad. By communicating the value of the fitness program and the gym community as a whole, CFSA will establish itself as a legitimate business with deep roots. The Competition The following snapshot scorecard for CFSA was created to measure the top five gyms according to Yelp results for the search “Best Gyms” in Arlington, VA (Yelp).
The scorecard provides a quick reference for how CFSA compares to other gyms in terms of online sentiment and influence and identifies areas of strength and opportunity. The scorecard is based upon the digital key performance indicators described in Appendix C, Competitive Landscape: • For Facebook, the indicators include likes and number of people talking about the page; •
For Twitter, it’s followers and number of tweets;
For traffic, it’s rank and site links.
Compared to the “Yelp Top 5” (Appendix C), CFSA is easily outperforming its competitors on Facebook. CFSA does not enjoy a significant presence on Twitter compared to the competition, particularly Potomac CrossFit. Website traffic results were calculated using Alexa.com, a free online traffic tool. The Alexa Traffic Rank is, "A rough estimate of popularity. The rank is calculated using a combination of average daily visitors and page views over the past 3 months. The site with the highest combination of visitors and page views is ranked #1” (Li). CFSA has good amounts of traffic, but there are fewer links to its existing site from other online sources than the other gym’s sites. CFSA’s competitors can be categorized as follows: • Globo Gyms •
Other CFSA gyms
Globo Gyms CrossFit members and coaches reference “globo gyms” with at least a tinge of disdain or in a vaguely dismissive manner. For example, one member explained that gym closer to her apartment than CFSA offered CrossFit classes but was actually a ‘globo’ gym, and therefore she didn’t trust it. So what’s a “globo gym”? According to the winning definition in Urban Dictionary, a website that crowd sources definitions of slang and new colloquialisms, a globo gym is “A typical big-‐box fitness franchise, where people more often than not don't get in shape worth a damn. ”You doing CrossFit?" "Naw, I'm stuck at a Globo Gym with the rest of the pansies” (Blinky, 26). Interestingly, the term seems to be closely associated with CrossFit itself. The highly-‐rated franchise gyms in the area include Planet Fitness, Gold’s Gym and Fitness First. These gyms offer multiple locations for a low cost, month-‐to-‐ month membership and also often offer childcare and locker rooms as well. Boutique Gyms Boutique gyms, on the other hand, are likely to have one or few locations but offer a spa-‐like atmosphere in the locker rooms. Many of the highest rated gyms in Arlington are boutique or ‘on trend’ gyms. Like CFSA, these gyms are expensive and can feature relatively new exercise styles or programs such as ballet, martial-‐arts or dance-‐based exercise programs. Some examples include The Energy Club, Verve Health and Fitness and Revolve. Enchantment, explains Guy Kawasaki’s book by the same name, is required when “Aspiring to lofty, idealistic results”; “Making difficult infrequent decisions” – including cost; “Overcoming entrenched habits”; “Defying a crowd”; “Proceeding despite delayed or nonexistent feedback (Kawasaki, 2011). Other CrossFit Gyms Since CrossFit does not prevent one gym from opening next to another or within a certain radius, these gyms must compete and appeal to customers by developing a personality or specific offering. Potomac CrossFit, the fifth gym based on the Yelp search results is another CrossFit gym located in close proximity to CFSA. Currently, the gym is closed but poised to reopen soon (Pyzyk, 2013). Potomac CrossFit has maintained its Twitter feed and high reviews on Yelp, both impressive given that the gym is closed. Other CrossFit gyms in the area include Ballston CrossFit, Patriot CrossFit and Rosslyn CrossFit, each of which enjoys good ratings. The best way for CFSA to demonstrate that its offering is the best among these competitors is to effectively communicate its unique value offering across multiple online platforms and in enchanting, community-‐orientated ways. Core Opportunity: Communicating Value One key insight from the client and owner of CFSA is that the level of devotion and adoption of members is more important to him than the number of members gained and lost. That is, to Mr. Sawkar, increasing or maintaining revenue is not his first priority. At the same time, it is essential to recognize that CFSA is a business that needs to achieve a return on investment. As
CFSA continues to make changes in the business model and adjust prices to fit those changes, CFSA has the opportunity to motivate current members to stay with the gym during these changes and spark the interests of prospects to join CFSA by communicating the gym’s value. Considering the “value equation test” prior to conducting communication efforts will prove beneficial for the gym. In this value equation, “v” represents the word value, “q” represents the word quality, and “p“ represents the word price. This equation is used to measure the worth of a product or service in the eyes of the customer. It is considered the return of investment according to customers. For CFSA, this equation helps measure the worth of the gym’s service in the eyes of its members. To members, this equation explains that CFSA is valuable (V) to them if what they get (Q) matches what they pay (P). Price (P) simply refers to anything the customer or member must spend in order to be at the CFSA location. These factors include the following: • Price • Time • Resources • Lost opportunity Quality (Q) is defined as both features and benefits. It refers to what the service does and what the members get out of it. This is what customers are buying in order to be members of CFSA and people buy benefits. After looking at CFSA members’ surveys and interviews, it was evident that current members consider the following as qualities of CFSA: • Convenience • Effects of the workout on their body and their personal lives • The structure and emphasis on goals • Efficiency • Community and Family feel • Hands-‐on coaches; personal trainer aspect • Interaction with the owner The essence of the value equation test is asking “What’s it worth?” to the member or prospective member. The answer is what you need to drive home in the communication. For example, if Mr. Sawkar were to email a newsletter announcing a new workout schedule, he would need to ask himself “What is it worth to my members? Does it mean that CFSA has answered pleas to add a later class for members who work late? Or is the gym short-‐staffed that month so it may mean that some members are inconvenienced for a few weeks, but that the gym will return to normal soon?”
CFSA Goals and Objectives ______________________________________________________________________ The client requested assistance with the following: a) Effectively promoting the new, school-‐based approach to enchant prospective (new) members and b) Convincing existing members to embrace and adopt the new program Based upon these two goals as well as the known parameters, the objectives of this communication strategy are as follows: • Define communication roles and establish processes to increase clarity, efficiency and efficacy of gym communications including updates •
Provide the owner with accessible, convenient tools to communicate his vision as an authentic individual and leader to members and prospects
Key Publics ______________________________________________________________________ In order to achieve overarching goals and objectives, it is recommended that CFSA target the following key publics. •
Current CFSA Members
Prospective CFSA Members
Owner of CFSA
Current CFSA Members Sirens, LLC surveyed approximately 50 CFSA members using the online survey software SurveyMonkey. The survey contained ten questions designed to obtain demographic, psychographic, behavior graphic information. (See Appendix D for survey results.) Some key highlights include the following:
There are an equal number of male and female members at CFSA, majority under 50 years of age and without children.
All members are employed and do not have major financial responsibilities allowing more expendable income, however, they are conscious of their finances and expenses.
The member considers their health and fitness a high priority. There are roughly an equal number of veteran members to new members. Specifically, 39% have been CFSA members for more than a year while 29% have been members for up to 3 months.
Current members use their social networks to interact with other members, chat with coaches, discuss lifestyle changes and receive updates on CFSA news regularly.
They appreciate the community environment of CFSA; 90% of members are engaged with the CFSA community both in the gym and on the Internet. They participate in various CFSA programs and participate in community offerings. They are well informed of new updates and changes at CFSA.
Prospective CFSA Members Member surveys revealed that majority of current CFSA members reside in Arlington, VA because of the proximity to the gym. CFSA is part of a “hyper local” community and participates in Arlington’s community events. The prospective member will share most of the same characteristics of current CFSA members, including residing in Arlington, VA. Because Arlington residents are actively involved in their community, it is critical to understand what drives them. •
CNN Money has ranked the Arlington, VA population on several lists. As of February 2013, the Washington-‐Arlington-‐Alexandria area had the third highest concentration of the wealthy people in the United States (Hargreaves, 2013). In 2011, Arlington was ranked seventh in the nation for the best cities for the rich and single ("Best places for," 2011).
Arlington residents are highly educated and more likely to research their purchase options. They look to online influencers and peer-‐review websites when considering purchases.
Most prospects will work a full time job within the Washington DC metropolitan area and also maintain their personal fitness. They may belong to another gym or have tried other fitness alternatives, but they are seeking structure and the community-‐feel in their regiment.
Owner of CFSA Sirens, LLC surveyed CFSA’s owner, Mr. Sawkar asking him various psychographic questions. (See Appendix D for survey results.) Key findings include: •
Mr. Sawkar is a thought leader in the CrossFit industry and an influence within the Washington, DC area fitness community.
He drives the ideas, philosophy, and community culture of the CFSA gym. He has a strong presence amongst current members of the gym and is one of the top reasons members joining CFSA and stay.
He is often available to members and coaches, frequently communicating face-‐to-‐face and via Facebook and emailed newsletters establishing a very trusting environment.
Additional Key Public 3 Sirens, LLC also examined CFSA coaches as a key public. CFSA coaches play a critical role in the CFSA community. They have the most interaction with members, prospective members, and the owner. They help drive the owner’s mission and members trust their expertise. They are vital to the success of CFSA as well (see Appendix E for more details).
Strategies ______________________________________________________________________ Every movement needs a leader and based on the sharp spike in the club’s success when Mr. Sawkar was most engaged, Mr. Sawkar should definitely be a regular presence across the chosen platforms. Remote, online participation through social media management tools aligns with his need to work from home in order to support other businesses and spend time with his family. Our research provided key insights into the opportunities for improving existing communication as well as the member’s need for improved clarity. Therefore, the strategy will focus on communicating the vision behind the new school-‐based program across multiple social media platforms in order to continue building online communities that could grow into a “mini-‐movement” as members tap into Mr. Sawkar’s energy, their own energy and the energy of their fellow members. The mini-‐movement will live across a limited number of intuitive and accessible platforms that host their respective portion of the CrossFit South Arlington community. More specifically, the communication strategy will focus on features and benefits and will help CFSA to achieve its goals and communication objectives during this period of transition and growth. CFSA’s price will inevitably fluctuate. As this occurs, the features and benefits (or the perception of existing features and benefits) must increase in order to prevent the value (or the perception of value) from falling, which could result in a decrease of commitment from new and existing members to the school-‐based program. In order to effectively communicate features and benefits, we recommend the following: Phase 1: Establish and define communication roles, responsibilities and policies to more evenly distribute routine communication tasks across staff and allow the owner to focus on communicating the CFSA vision and lifestyle.
Phase 2: Implement and constantly evaluate a comprehensive digital strategy to streamline communications efforts in an environment that encourages organic communication.
Tactics ______________________________________________________________________ 1. DIGITAL RECOMMENDATIONS:
We compared the current CFSA website to the new, unpublished website and identified key improvements as well as a few recommendations for featuring social media more prominently. The most immediately noticeable improvement are the site’s design and overall aesthetics. The graphics and layout are more engaging and organized in a way that leads the user into the site, making it easier to navigate. The new sight has several interactive features -‐ such as motivating clips from action movies – that will lead to more page views and may also improve Search Engine Optimization.. The new copy and content represent the new school-‐based approach and values. The new taglines about community and asking the end user if they are ready for a change in their lives really establishes the heart of CFSA. In short, the new website has everything required to appeal to the gym’s key demographics. Our first recommendation involves Facebook, a platform on which CFSA is extremely successful as evidenced by the high-‐level of engagement. Since many of CFSA’s important communications occur by the hour on Facebook, we recommend that the Facebook icon as well as other social media icons, such as Twitter and Tumblr icons, be moved to the top of the CFSA homepage for
easy access. This tactic will draw new or repeat website visitors into CFSA’s online communities, making it easier for members and prospects can join in on the conversation and begin to feel a enchanted by CFSA from the first interaction with the website. Facebook is currently the key online community space for CFSA, and the gym maintains both a private and the public page. The private page has far more activity than the public page and this is likely because the community feel of CFSA is hidden from prospects who visit the public page. We recommend indicating on the public Facebook page that, by attending a free CFSA class, they can become a part of the more exclusive private Facebook community. Because Twitter is the fastest-‐growing social media platform in the world, businesses cannot afford to dismiss this platform; our research shows that CFSA’s competition is not only very active on Facebook, but using it effectively to provide updates and engage members. We recommend posting to CFSA’s twitter handle more often, especially to quickly and easily share with your member new updates at a moment’s notice. Now more than ever, with the fast paced lives of individuals, people are looking to consume their news in the fastest and shortest ways possible. CFSA can increase the number of followers and level of engagement of its members on Twitter by starting conversations relating to CrossFit, healthy tips to keep their members in check of sticking to their goals and engaging with members of the community. CFSA has the potential to be the platform for fitness within the Arlington, Virginia area. With new tools like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, it is now easier to monitor, join the fitness conversation and update your member in a quick and easy way. 2. SEO and Content Recommendations: While the owner of CFSA is the “lead enchanter” of members and prospective members, he is not able to be at the gym full-‐time. In order to communicate his lifestyle vision and personality even when physically away from his audience, a blog -‐ titled “The Siduation” and linked to the domain name www.thesiduation.com -‐ is the ideal vehicle. With a simple click of a button, a short but meaningful blog update by Sid can be posted to and across multiple social media platforms.
By creating and maintaining a lifestyle blog, the owner will be able to simultaneously keep his members connected on a personal level even and drive new members to the gym’s website as the blog entries will be tagged for search optimization with a wider range of keywords than the gym’s own website. The blog entry content should be driven by the client’s own day-‐to-‐day experiences, from healthy meals he cooks with local ingredients to reviews of tech gadgets like the Nike Fuel band. Examples of individuals who use their blog to successfully promote a brand in an authentic way include Dr. Weil’s http://www.drweilblog.com/ and a Virginia-‐based dietician’s blog, http://www.katheats.com/kathrd. In order to increase the number of links into the CFSA website, which improves SEO, the client should follow related or relevant blogs like these and comment on their posts. By “seeding” his own blog entries in meaningful, authentic comments to the posts of other thought-‐leaders in the lifestyle space, Mr. Sawkar will expose more and new potential members to his blog and ultimately to the CSFSA website and, finally, the brick-‐and-‐mortar gym. These recommendations for digital strategy updates, in combination with the social media manual -‐ will allow the client to communicate his vision as an authentic individual and leader to his staff, members and prospects. In combination with the survey results, the Siduation blog and value equation test, 3 Sirens, LLC. is confident that CFSA can transition to the new school-‐ based model successfully. 3. Community Management Recommendations: Increasing the amount of unique content and messaging will drive home the value of CFSA for current members and prospects. Through the new communications lead, CFSA can integrate content management and digital strategy tasks into the daily operations of the gym. The “Community Management for CrossFit South Arlington” manual will serve as a standard and reference for CFSA staff as well as the client as they produce more content and push it out over more platforms more frequently. (see Appendix E). Current conversation is organic, but as business expands, CFSA will need to streamline and simplify communication efforts. Use of this manual will add structure and organization to CFSA’s already successful digital communications efforts.
Appendices ______________________________________________________________________ APPENDIX A. WORKS CITED
WORKS CITED Best places for the rich and single. (2011, August 17). Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/moneymag/1108/gallery.best_places_rich_single .moneymag/7.html Blinky, J. (26, 3 08). Retrieved from http:// www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Globo Gym Esco, M. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/fitness-‐exercise/features/crossfit-‐ review Hargreaves, S. (2013, February 12). Where the rich people live. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/12/news/economy/where-‐rich-‐live/index.html IBISWorld Analysts. (2012, June) Fitness Industries Pump Up Revenue. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CDIQFjA A&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ibisworld.com%2FCommon%2FMediaCenter%2FFitness%2 520Sector%2520Trends.pdf&ei=sTKMUbCLO7Sz4AOep4GYCA&usg=AFQjCNF5_56VFEyU iBV-‐ZQ9jQZa1jSi2xA&sig2=-‐y4MKiI3y5OxG-‐D-‐PyjChw&bvm=bv.46340616,d.dmg Kawasaki, G. (2011). Enchantment: The art of changing hearts, minds, and actions. (1st ed ed.). Li, R. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.alexa.com/company New York City: Penguin. Pyzyk, Katie. (26, 4 13). Retrieved from http://www.arlnow.com/2013/04/26/potomac-‐crossfit-‐ to-‐reopen/ Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church, Spike Jones, Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements (Wiley, 2010) Stoddard, G. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/cult-‐crossfit Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CrossFit Yelp (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=best+gyms&find_loc=arlintgon+va&ns=1
APPENDIX B. SWOT: Strengths • As an affiliate gym of the Crossfit program, CFSA maintains a solid brand identity • Members of the gym feel like they belong to a team or community • The owner, Siddharth Sawker, is flexible, available, and trusting amongst members’ perceptions Opportunities • Stand out in the CrossFit and health marketplace in the area • Offers members an exclusive experience • CFSA members are already active online; the gym can leverage social media engagement to communicate & highlight the new business model • The entertainment industry continues to influence the growing trend and popularity of CrossFit (Biggest Loser, Hunger Games)
Weaknesses • Ineffective communication efforts lead to confusion amongst members and coaches • The potential of price inflation could cause members to leave CFSA
Threats • CFSA is located in close proximity of competitor gyms • CrossFit interests only a small number of fitness enthusiasts • CrossFit is considered a “trendy” fitness program and could potentially “fall off” at some point
APPENDIX C. COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE Key Performance Indicators
YELP Top 5: Best Gyms, Arlington, VA
CrossFit Gyms, Arlington, VA – Yelp Search Results
APPENDIX D. SURVEY RESULTS Member Survey Summary Analytics:
Staff Survey Summary Analytics:
Guru Survey Summary Analytics:
APPENDIX E. Additional Key Public CFSA Coaches: This key demographic was important to take into account during our research phases. The ideal instructor of CFSA based on our research, is an instructor that takes time before and after class to speak with the members of the gym. Whether it is to discuss their goals or to build rapport with the members, this time is essential. The ideal instructor is motivating and encouraging when it comes to being actively involved in helping the members achieve their goals. Within the internal communications with the gym, instructors have a clear-‐ cut system with management to ensure that everyone is kept in the loop.
APPENDIX F. Community Management Manual
The Big Picture
The best way to describe the relationship of each social media platform is compare it to the human body. Website is the BODY: Your website is your home base. Everything posted online should route itself back to your website. Your website is the one place online where you have optimum control of the content. Facebook is the HEART – This platform is best used for personal, emotion-‐driven, heartfelt information. Twitter is the BRAIN – All information posted here is quick and news oriented information. People have short attention spans, hence 140 characters. Blog is the MUSCLE – Your blog is the meat and potatoes of your content. When you want to detail a story, it’s best to do so here.
Facebook Quick Guide
**These are recommendations for the public facing Facebook page only.
Identify your target audience Target audiences should be top-‐of-‐mind when writing posts on the CFSA public Facebook page. Aim to connect with your audiences in every post by considering what type of messaging will engage them. It is always important to know exactly to whom you are speaking. The public facing CFSA Facebook page is an opportunity to make an impression with target audiences. Possible audiences to consider include: • Prospective CFSA members • Potential Partners and Sponsors List desired audiences: 1. ____________________ 2. ____________________ 3. ____________________ Example of Targeted Message for Prospective Member: “At CFSA, we believe those who go hard in the gym go hard in life! If you’re ready to join a gym that will not only change your body, but also change your life, visit CrossFit South Arlington.” Content and Engagement Type of Content to Post • Member testimonials -‐ Both text and video formats are acceptable • Photos & Videos -‐ Include a quick caption and link if applicable • Events -‐ Post before to attract members and/or post after to show results • Blog posts -‐ Write a teaser and then share the link to a coach blog or the “Siduation” • Surveys & Quizzes -‐ Find out what visitors want to know about to generate ideas for additional posts Additional Content Ideas • Motivational Quotes & Pictures • Member story ex. “Testimonial Tuesday” or #TransformationTuesday • Photos/Videos of the WOD • ‘Fun Fact Friday’ • ‘Behind the scenes at CFSA’ Research shows that the most engaging content is: • Short, roughly 2-‐3 sentences • Targeted with a specific audience in mind
• Includes links from the website, blogs, or upcoming events. Directions for Conducting Surveys The Facebook/Survey Monkey integration is a quick and free way to find out what your fans know, like, dislike and think about a particular topic. 1. Create your survey with Survey Monkey (The application is free up to 10 questions and 100 responses/per survey) 2. Choose the Facebook collector option to send out your survey. 3. Embed your survey on your fan page or post a link to your wall. Key Content Takeaways 1. Be personable 5. Add videos 2. Get to the point 6. Links to other sources 3. Use bullets and subheads 7. Ask questions 4. Include photos 8. Invite comments Sharing CFSA on Facebook An overlooked feature on Facebook is the sharing option. Companies like CFSA should take advantage of this feature because you have a large network of members and coaches willing to share and promote your vision. Steps for Sharing Posts 1. Hit the share button as it appears under a post on your News Feed, next to the "Like" and "Comment" buttons. 2. Choose who you want to share with. Is this post public? Friends only? Visible only to members of certain groups? 3. Type an additional comment if you wish. Use @replies and #hashtags when suitable. 4. Hit "Post" and you're done. Sharing the CFSA Page Sharing the public Facebook page will help increase CFSA’s reach within the current members’ networks and spread the word about CFSA. When you promote the CFSA page via someone else's page, or promote someone else’s from CFSA’s, the post shows up higher in other news feeds allowing more people notice it. The person “sharing” your information is able to also write their own comment about the post, giving you more credibility.
Twitter Tips and Tricks Identify your Twitter audiences: “Followers” & “Following” Twitter accounts are identified by twitter handles. A twitter handle will always include the (@) symbol followed by the name chosen as the twitter identify. On Twitter your followers are those who choose to subscribe to your tweets. Those who you are following will have their posted tweets appear in your twitter feed. Although your Twitter account is publically accessible for anyone to view and click “follow”, you still need to be conscious of who you are trying to reach with your twitter messages. In order to engage your audience, you need to know who they are. When you specify your target audience, you can connect and engage with them. This allows you to create an online following of “brand ambassadors” who will take action online for you and improve your overall influence. Here are some tips for getting followers after you’ve determined your target audience: • Invite others to follow you on Twitter in every communication channel (website, Facebook, blog, newsletters, business cards, websites, brochures, etc.) • Follow people who are already in your conversation (CrossFit, Arlington gyms, nutrition, bloggers, farmers markets) • Follow those who follow your competition. **Note: It will take time to build your audience so don’t get discouraged. List desired audiences: 1. ____________________ 2. ____________________ 3. ____________________ Creating Content Keep in mind that your Twitter account is the “brain” of your online engagement. The content you post on Twitter will be short, concise, news oriented, with many links. You only have 140 characters per tweet to say what you want to say! What type of information can you tweet: • Organizational updates – What’s going on with CFSA? • CFSA events – Post photos with brief captions. • Press Releases – Share the links from your website on your twitter • Blog Posts – If the people mentioned in the blog post have twitter handles, use them! • Photos, videos, visuals – This type of content gets the most RTs on twitter.
Keep a few tips in mind 1. Post Facebook info to Twitter 2. Use short link aggregators (https://bitly.com or ow.ly) 3. Tweet links to articles written by you AND about you
4. Acknowledge and reply to @replies ASAP 5. Ask people to engage or talk to you using retweets (RT), @replies or #hashtags. Get bossy! 6. Include photos.
#Hashtags Hashtags, identified by the (#) symbol paired with a word, are very useful when searching specific topics and categorizing your own tweets by a subject. They are used to collect tweets on specific topics, news events, & interest groups. They are searchable and help you share your brand. Suggested hashtags to use Suggested hashtags to monitor #ArlingtonVA #fitspo #Siduation #CrossFit #CrossFit #TransformationTuesday #WOD Tips for Hashtags 1. Use hashtags to find business specific conversations like news, advice, resources 2. Keep hashtags simple and consistent; don’t make them overcomplicated and unsearchable 3. Create your own hashtags for smaller campaigns 4. Monitor conversations using hashtags and social dashboards (Tweetdeck, HooteSuite) 5. Use #FollowFriday or #FF in order to suggest followers and be suggested Promote Yourself Make sure your twitter handle (@CFitSA) is posted on all of your branded materials including those online and offline. In order to spread your Twitter reach and online influence, make sure you tell people to engage with you. Ask them to: • • • •
Click “Follow” Retweet your post to their followers Reply to CrossFit South Arlington using the handle (@CFitSA) Post using one or more of your hashtags e.g. #farmersmarket
Twitter Resources www.mashable.com www.twitter.com/support (@support) www.ragan.com
Blogging Basics Quick Guide Benefits of Blogging 1. It’s an affordable platform to tell 2. It’s also a great opportunity to build your online presence, gain more supporters and stay connected with current supporters. 3. Designed to be interactive – comments, multimedia, share links Identify your target audience Before kick-‐starting your blog, the most critical questions to ask yourself is who are you trying to reach and why? Identifying your target audience will help keep your blog content focused and guide the rest of your engagement strategy. Tailoring your blog to your specified audience will also increase the likelihood that readers will return and/or share your blog’s content. List desired audiences: 1. Current Members 2. ____________________ 3. ____________________ Brainstorm Content Remember, your blog is the muscle-‐ the meat and potatoes of social media and content creation. Step outside the box and be creative. But, if you find yourself short on ideas or resources, here are a few suggestions for blog posts. • Organizational updates – What’s going on with CFSA? • CFSA events – Post photos with brief captions. • Local and national news – Is there any current events related to CrossFit and nutrition? Share CFSA’s viewpoint. • Interviews – Conduct an interview with a coach, member, nutritionist, etc. Write a summary or post the transcript. • Testimonials – Highlight the difference CFSA has made for its members. • Other Coaches and Members – Feature your coaches and current members’ personal blogs by first posting an introductory teaser and then a link Keep a few tips in mind 1. Be personable -‐ write as if you’re talking to your friend and use a casual tone 2. Get to the point -‐ identify what your topic is about in the first paragraph. Most individuals will read the first paragraph or two, before deciding to continue reading– so catch their attention early. Be as creative as you like – blogs are free flowing platform. 3. 250-‐800 words -‐ in many cases short posts are often read more than longer posts.
4. Use bullets and sub headers -‐ a great way to break up block after block of text. If titled well it allows the reader to skim the copy until they find exactly what it is they are looking for. 5. Include photos and videos -‐ photos are share 2x more than posts without them 6. Links to other sources -‐ I know you have several caregivers who run their own blogs. You can write a few intro sentences on your blog about one of the posts and link to it. That simple. Bloggers love when other blogs link to their posts because it helps boost their traffic. Ultimately linking to your caregivers’ blog – will further demonstrate the CFSA and its relationships with the families of injured service members. 7. Ask questions and invite comments -‐ be sure to respond; the goal is to engage. Organize your blog’s content Categories and tags’ sole purpose is to sort your content to improve the usability of your site. • Categories are meant for broad grouping of your posts. Think of these as general topics or the table of contents for your site. Categories are there to help identify what your blog is really about. It is to assist readers finding the right type of content on your site. • Tags are meant to describe specific details of your posts. Think of these as your site’s index words. They are the micro-‐data that you can use to micro-‐categorize your content. Source: wordpress.com Widgets Widgets are tools that are most frequently used to customize your blog’s sidebar. There are many to choose from. The great thing about Wordpress is all you have to do is select from a list of widgets and drag them onto your dashboard to activate. To add widgets, go to your blog’s dashboard on WordPress. Then, go to appearances, and select add widgets. The Follow Blog Widget enables your readers sign up to receive your posts via email. Anytime a new post is published they’ll receive an alert. The My Community Widget allows you to show users who have interacted with your WordPress.com site. The Twitter Widget allows you to display a Twitter feed in your blog’s sidebar. The Links Widget displays a list of links (also known as a blog roll) in your sidebar. It allows you to share your favorite blogs or websites with your readers. This may be a good place to include links to your coaches’ blogs.
The Categories Widget organizes your posts by category in your blog’s sidebar. This can be handy for readers who want to find more of your posts about certain topics. There are tons of widgets out there... The great thing about Wordpress widgets – all you have to do is select from a list of widgets and drag them unto your dashboard to activate them (as opposed to configuring a widget html code into your program). Once you activate the blog, to add widgets, go to appearances on your dashboard and add widgets… Wordpress also has some really helpful links on their site about adding widgets and other blog management tools. Promote your Blog • Add social media share buttons to blog posts • Share blog links on Facebook and Twitter • Add blog link to your website and print marketing • Word-‐of mouth; tell your staffers and other supporters *Note: When you’re ready to take your first step in developing your blog – start small -‐-‐ maybe commit to two posts per week. Once you become more comfortable with your strategy – you may want to increase the frequency of your posts. Blogger Resources www.mashable.com www.technorati.com www.wordpress.org/support
Social Media Management Monitoring Online Conversation So in order to post relevant content and find the right followers, you will need to LISTEN and monitor online conversations. You want to be aware of what other people are saying about your topic of interest and then interject yourself into conversation when appropriate. Don’t be afraid to introduce CFSA. Tell people how their content connects with your vision. Time Commitment Several Times throughout Week (20-‐30 minutes each) • Respond to followers who have directly mentioned you in a tweet or post, and/or commented with a question. •
Review Twitter Lists for organizations and thought leaders who have shared valuable content that can be retweeted to your audience.
Check and compare your analytics page for trends and measurement.
Once per week OR Several times (total of 2 hours) • Follow RSS feeds of relevant articles from your selected blogs, organizations and websites. •
Update the “Siduation” blog
Scan Twitter lists, coaches’ blogs, and Facebook comments to identify and share valuable content.
Schedule messages for publishing (using Hootsuite scheduler feature.
Suggested Tools The suggested sites below allow you to listen to online conversations and publish social media simultaneously from one website. TweetDeck (Twitter only) – This free application allows you to manage what you say, monitor what people say to/about you and monitor conversations via #hashtags. (www.tweetdeck.com) HooteSuite (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more) -‐ This dashboard allows users to manage multiple social platforms all in one location. Hootesuite offers a free version as well as paid versions depending on your needs. (www.hootesuite.com). Two benefits of Hootesuite include the analytical reports that track your social media traffic and the ability to schedule posts daily, weekly, bi-‐weekly or monthly.
APPENDIX G. Other Recommendations: The following platforms are suggested now but may change based upon research results and the client’s preferences; the staff should also be heavily engaged and involved in the construction of the platforms and communication across these platforms as their ability to engage members will be critical to the program’s success: • Wordpress can be used to create a free, closed blog that serves as a forum and a way to get words of insight from each other, coaches and Mr. Sawkar. • Pinterest is great for curating motivational and inspirational content; Sid describes the gym as unusually ‘female-‐centric’ so this platform is one to seriously consider. • Twitter can be used to advertise the CFSA school program through promoted tweets and among existing members or enthusiasts and to target audiences. A hashtag could be, for example, #applytoyourlife @CFSA. • YouTube – This is a great way to post demos and also highlight the ways in which CFSA is different from other CrossFits by showcasing the goal-‐setting/levels/nutrition/etc. APPENDIX H. CrossFit Language CrossFit “Lingo” Box
Affiliated CrossFit gyms
WOD “Workout of the Day”; Globo Gyms affiliated with a franchise or part of a brand