Image from: Social Media / I Will Sweat
It seems like you can’t go to any marketing event these days without hearing social media marketing buzz words flying all over the place like paper airplanes in an unruly classroom. Yet what I feel we often lose sight of is that the frontier has not yet been completely explored. I suppose, much like the early days of the Internet, we’re in for a wild ride, learning many lessons from our successes and failures on the social media marketing front. On that note, I’d like to take a moment to talk briefly about one campaign in particular that has the potential to weave the delicate thread of a cohesive content strategy across multiple channels of their business.
City Sports, an athletic apparel retailer has managed to tie together their online social strategy to their retail windows in an engaging way, albeit they will not escape a few well-intentioned constructive jabs for areas of improvement.
At some point in early January, whilst regretting baking (and ultimately eating) one-too-many gluten-free desserts, I was pleasantly distracted by the City Sports’ window displays located a stone’s throw away from my office. The image below, is from my mobile phone, proving that I was literally stopped in my tracks.
What struck me most was the tactile nature of the window display as a whole, as it integrated the apparel and accessories seamlessly with images of what seem to be a real person working out. These visuals were complimented with a decal that looks much like a cross-breed of a Facebook status update and a Tweet. On further investigation I was hit by a gotcha-moment as @xfitmaniac, to my dismay, does not exist on Twitter or on Facebook. What I believe would have been much more compelling is finding and promoting real trainers and fitness gurus with large social media followings to be featured. One person that comes to mind in the Boston area is Jacqueline Carly a.k.a @fitarella on Twitter, she’s focused on fitness, diet, and positive motivation around reaching fitness goals. In other words, her stream is focused, consistent, and most importantly squeaky-clean. Ultimately, any social campaign with real people being sponsored has it’s risk vs. reward balance, but I feel this would have been much-much more engaging with the risk being made.
Now on to the social media experience! I used the #iwillsweat hashtag several times in the last weeks on Twitter but I was disappointed with the lack of response from @CitySports. It almost seems as if they only monitor @ replies and not the activity on their own #iwillsweat hashtag. The stream on both Facebook and Twitter seems to only be updated every few days, which is an indication of lack of resources or commitment to social media as an initiative.
I also discovered some interesting things about their search-ablity via Google you all may find interesting, and should motivate you to check this for your own site. When Googling around for the phrase “I will sweat” or “iwillsweat” I found CitySports as the 6th and 2nd result respectively, which is not terrible from an SEO standpoint for a relatively new campaign. However, the disappointing thing is that this is where I landed. Equipment search is cool, but it wasn’t really quite what I was looking for. I was hoping to land on this site instead or at the very least this one. We should all bear in mind that optimizing for your homepage or branded landing pages is like only painting the front of your house, it looks great so long as no one views it from the other three sides. We need to remain vigilant about how we’re perceived in context of our campaigns.
All in all, this campaign still has a lot of growth potential and space to improve.
Question: Do I like the concept and execution in the window?
Question 2: Do I think they have a lot of work to do on building out better SEO on their campaign landing pages?
Answer 2: Sure!
I think that the lesson learned here is that we can all use a bit of outsider perspective to help us focus and really sweat the finer details. Hopefully this year City Sports’ marketing team will pat themselves on the back for bravely forging the path toward integrating their retail displays with their social media marketing efforts, whilst not losing sight of the fact that users are looking for an engaging dialog, easy to find promotional information, and a search experience that matches the polished nature of their social media intentions.
Lindsey Mark works in Client Relations at Compete and is responsible for the strategic development of client retention and support policies for compete.com, with a focus on education and training efforts. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY so she's a certified technology junkie and open source advocate. When she's not thinking about marketing or training digital 007's at compete, she's doing yoga & blogging about gluten-free diet and lifestyle. Find Lindsey on Twitter as @linji, Google Plus as Lindsey Mark or connect with her via LinkedIn.