The case of the Fleet Feet Sports Chicago Cheer team #RunChi (formerly #FFCheer) shows how to employ user-generated content and the social reach of your fans to create a movement and drive traffic to a website.
Fleet Feet Sports Chicago were looking to give runners a supportive environment, a place to applaud their accomplishments, support each other and encourage others to embrace running.
We chose to invite runners of all ages and training levels to contribute to a blog that would highlight the daily successes, struggles, wins and tips they learned while running.
Six bloggers were selected and given an area of focus each, from product coverage to races and events, and the Fleet Feet Cheer blog [ffcheer.posterous.com] was launched. One person was selected to coordinate the blogging schedule.
Within a few weeks the blogging schedule was booked for months to come. Within a month of blogging the site had attracted 6,000 unique visitors and has grown to over 15,000 in the 4 months since. Long conversations ensued, certain popular posts attracting 20 to 30 comments. Shortly the original group was expanded into a club team with 25 contributing members.
The top 7 lessons learned:
Refining the plan:
Just like with any marketing campaign, some things didn’t work as we expected. For example, the originally selected hashtag, #ffcheer, did not resonate with our audience. Although the hashtag had a reach of over 1.5 million people on Twitter (based on estimated impressions) within 3 months it became obvious that it was not clear to our audience what the hashtag meant. The Cheer team made a decision to change the hashtag to #runchi which caught on instantly. As a result we saw a spike in traffic to the website immediately after the launch of the new hashtag.
The lesson learned here is that you should never be afraid to make changes when something doesn’t work. In fact, successful marketing requires that we are data-brave, that we test, learn and continuously evolve our strategies and tactics. It also requires that we listen to those involved. The Fleet Feet team were wise to turn to their ambassadors and hand them the decision for a new hashtag.
I wish I could tell you more about what we’re working on next, but you’ll just have to stay tuned and see for yourselves.