Social Media, Content Strategy and the CrossFit Games

Crossfit Games

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.