Confession: I’m a CrossFit® junkie, so I was beyond excited to watch the Reebok CrossFit Games last week. But even as I amped up my personal excitement, I started to view the Games through another lens – as a marketer. There’s no other way to say it: The CrossFit Games’ use of social media to drive engagement and heighten anticipation is masterful.

Grab some bacon. Let’s discuss.

What Did They Do?
As I was scrolling through my Instagram feed on Wednesday morning, I saw posts that athletes were told to be at a designated location at 3 a.m. True Hunger Games-style – the events weren’t supposed to start yet!  If you wanted to know what was happening, you had to watch on Facebook Live.

Over on Facebook, thousands of viewers were watching (many at the crack of dawn or earlier) as athletes sat in a hotel ballroom for close to an hour, where they were eventually given plane tickets. The destination? A surprise event that will be streamed only on Facebook.

Later that morning, 11,000 viewers were watching a live stream of people boarding an airplane. Next to paint drying, there’s nothing more boring than watching people fasten their safety belts and put their tray tables in an upright and locked position. Why are we doing this?

Because we want to be part of the action. Essentially CrossFit harnessed the power of their myriad of social profiles to drive excitement among their loyal fan base. In return, those fans reacted and replied – and those reactions were now on the friends of fans news feeds, and the message spread.

Statistics show that Facebook users have an average of 338 friends. If even 10% of those noticed their friend’s reaction to the video and clicked over to see what was going on, that’s more than 371,000 potential new fans. Those fans get intrigued by the hype, they keep watching and that enters their friends’ newsfeeds, and so on.

Streaming of the live events garnered hundreds of thousands of viewers posting and reacting to the videos. The potential for organic fan growth just from these efforts is exponentially higher than that – much higher than could likely be accomplished through a paid campaign.

Finally, long after events had ended, a video was posted that showcased footage from actual CrossFit gyms, under the title “Now it’s Your Turn.” It included a link to a map to find a local affiliate. That video was seen by more than 60,000 viewers. If only 5% of viewers’ friends considered signing on, that’s more than 1 million new members becoming active in the community.

What Does It All Mean?
Granted, this type of social marketing isn’t right for every company. But what this can show us is the importance of giving the fans you do have what they want—engaging them across your platforms with content you know they’ll enjoy.

When it comes to social media, as long as what you’re saying is on-brand for your company, it’s not really about what you want to say. It’s more about what your audience wants to hear. For the CrossFit Games, fans wanted to see as much of the action in real-time as possible, and the organizers knew it. Every social platform offers insights and analytics on what kind of content is engaging your audience. Do they want Facebook videos? Instagram photos with links to your blog? Maybe they’re driven by sponsored content on LinkedIn? What’s important is that you learn and understand what they like, and incorporate that your content strategy.

Want to learn more about growing your social presence or building a content strategy? You’ve come to the right place. Explore Flying Cork.

When you think of augmented reality (AR), you might imagine a person with a headset on, wildly flailing their arms as they fight off zombies.

Though that’s true to an extent, AR is evolving – and the possibilities are fascinating. Just take Pokémon Go, for example. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen people aimlessly walking around with their heads down, furiously flicking their smartphone screens to catch the Pokémon character in their area. (I have to admit, I’m guilty of doing this, too!)

Pokémon Go might not fit the typical headset-donning idea of AR, but it’s taken the biggest stride so far to make this type of gaming more accessible to mainstream audiences. Watching its success got me thinking that AR could have a place in the digital marketing world as well.

Don’t believe me? Hear me out.

Soon enough, both AR and virtual reality (VR) headsets are headed for the masses, giving marketers yet another way to reach their customers.

Though not as common (yet!), AR is slowly but surely beginning to make its play in digital marketing strategies due to its mix of technology, visual effects, and entertainment. Pokémon Go has become a huge success for businesses in particular because they are able to utilize this technology to encourage users to visit their stores via the game. Businesses are increasingly turning their stores into “PokéStops,” which increases foot traffic and has led to additional sales.

The New York Post reports that the L’inizio Pizza Bar in Long Island City supposedly increased its business by 75 percent just by inviting Pokémon Go users to play the game in the comfort of their restaurant.

You can transform your business into a PokéStop, too!

Now, let’s imagine the possibilities of what can be done with this technology beyond Pokémon Go. I already started to jot down some ideas that I wanted to share with you.

  1. Let me set a scene for you. You’re walking down the street and a storefront catches your eye. Right then and there, the company’s contact information appears on your phone, seemingly out of nowhere! AR has the potential to make the world a bit more interesting by enhancing reality with digital advertisements.
  2. In the retail industry, customers could digitally try on clothes, accessories and even makeup in the mirror … of their own homes! AR could enhance the at-home online shopping experience.
  3. Brands could have their advertisements displayed in the lobbies of buildings or could even transform a seemingly blank wall into an immersive experience for users.

While Augmented Reality offers fantastic opportunities, I also think that there will be a fine line between being immersive and intrusive.

Many people believe that advertising is already too intrusive, especially when users are forced to watch a 30-second ad that they cannot skip, or as many as six commercials during a 20 minute Hulu show. It’s this type of advertising that really leaves a sour taste in their user’s mouth.

So, it will be important that AR and VR advertising is done in a smart way to avoid tainting the users’ perception of the experience before it even takes off. Integration should be subtle so that users are not overwhelmed by the new mediums. Much like how a search engine displays a snippet in the results, the design for AR’s “first glance” should be unobtrusive, but interesting.

As Augmented Reality continues to pick up steam in the tech world, I’m very anxious to see if any of my preliminary predictions come to fruition.

Want to try AR for yourself? Companies like VTime, Aurasma, and Augment are all working to give everyday people the opportunity to try their hand at AR.

How do you think Augmented Reality can make a play in the digital marketing world?  I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below. 

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about the possibility of Twitter using emojis as the new keyword. Remember my hamburger-palooza example? If not, you can refresh your memory here. Anyways, the reason I’m talking about emojis again is because Sunday, July 17 is World Emoji Day [INSERT CELEBRATORY EMOJIS HERE]!

Though every day might feel like World Emoji Day, Sunday is the actual holiday that celebrates Shigetaka Kurita’s big idea. In case you didn’t know, Kurita is the designer of the first emoji for mobile phones. He’s the guy that came up with 176 12×12 images that would eventually become the foundation of the emojis that we’ve come to know, love and overuse.

So, to celebrate, we got a little creative here at Flying Cork.

To showcase our appreciation and love for emojis, we decided to create an emoji questionnaire that we sent around to the Flying Cork team to complete.

This wasn’t just any questionnaire! Aside from a few easy questions, we upped the ante and put our team’s creativity to the test by asking them to create an emoji masterpiece!

Developers, managers, and coordinators tested their emoji-using skills and came up with some pretty awesome stuff.

Rather than me talk about it, let me show you! Without further ado, I present to you, World Emoji Day the Flying Cork way.

aarts-emojis_1 alex brad World Emoji Day james jen World Emoji Day krystal World Emoji Day

I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying, “I have a hard enough time creating a subject line and now you’re throwing more at me! Pre-headers are for the birds!” Well, unfortunately, those birds are some darn good marketers!

Before we get down to it, it may help to address what a pre-header actually is. We’ve all seen them, but have we paid attention? A pre-header is the line of text that can be seen after the subject line in your inbox.


With the increase of open rates on mobile devices, pre-header text has become essential in email marketing. More customers than ever are opening email on increasingly smaller screens, and it’s been proven that a strong pre-header will significantly increase open rates among mobile users.


Oftentimes, the pre-header is an afterthought; if it’s not customized, the content is taken from the body of the email. Inaccurately, many people assume that a pre-header is simply the beginning of the email.

But this assumption is causing many marketers to miss out on an added bonus to their email marketing. A pre-header is as an extension of your subject line and gives marketers one additional line of copy to entice potential customers.  The one-columned layout of mobile screens allows a properly formatted pre-header to be read almost as often as a subject line. Ignoring a pre-header or sending an email without one is almost as ludicrous as sending one without a subject line!

Studies show that by optimizing the pre-header to a short description summarizing the content of the email can lead to higher open rates and fewer spam complaints. You can use a pre-header to do many different things, including:

  • Reinforcing the subject line – Rephrase or expand on what you are stating
  • Use a standalone CTA – Direct a subscriber towards your website without them having to open your email
  • Unsubscribe link – Confidence is key.  Giving your subscribers the option to unsubscribe immediately boosts user confidence and transparency.

It’s important to keep in mind that a pre-header is one line of text. Anything longer will be cut off, which gives your pre-header a lack of professionalism and less credibility with your subscribers. Depending on your subject line and the user’s email client, the pre-header may only display three to four words, so be sure to test how your message will show up in different inboxes.

The days of neglecting pre-header copy are behind us. It’s more important now than ever before to incorporate a pre-header into your email marketing strategies. It may only be a few words, but those words are vital and can give you the boost you need to convert subscribers into customers.