Lately CrossFit has become a pretty polarizing force in society. With its success, the media loves to knock it . And if you’re on Facebook, chances are you have more than a few friends posting about their personal records (AKA PR’s) or having their CrossFit gym tag them in photos.

Regardless of if you love CrossFit, hate their brand of fitness or are a member at another type of high intensity interval training (HIIT) or similar facility (BTW - We love Performance 360 in San Diego... and they’re NOT a client) , there are some basic social media lessons all brands can learn from these gyms.

1. Build a community through social media. This is such a basic element of social media marketing and one Bill has been quoted about before (we also blogged about it here). Simply put, take the ‘me’ out of social media.

2. Encourage others to participate and care. Many HIIT gyms provide in-gym and online boards that don’t just track gym records, but also the personal records and goals of its participants. This is HUGE for this demographic and a key source of their community building online.

As we get older, we tend to have fewer tangible goals we can point to and share as a source of pride. The glory that came from high school sports achievements have faded away and personal accomplishments in the business world don’t translate well to social media ("I filed all my TPS reports two days early!!!" said no one ever.). Even though we love our careers at Remedy, you won't catch us talking about what a great press release someone here wrote during the next off-site office happy hour.

CrossFit and other HIIT gyms provide the opportunity for members to take pride in their accomplishments, regardless of if it’s fat loss, jumping to a new height or lifting a certain amount of weight.

3. Incentivise people to recruit for you. Referral programs are another basic that these gyms dominate on a social level. Your brand may not have an official membership component like a gym does, but there’s always some sort referral program you can build in and tie back to recognizing the fans of your brand.

4. Engage with your audience. The good gyms solicit from members, both online and off, ways which they can improve their programs. More often than not, the members' questions and gym instructors' responses are posted online. The gym may not implement these improvement ideas, but they are showing their members they are listening to them.

5. Live offline. Another basic and often overlooked component in social media is translating online affinity to offline promotion. Apparel, in essence, is social media. You wear t-shirts, hats, etc., when you leave the house. If you like your gym, wearing their t-shirt is a source of pride for you and an advertising campaign you’re happy to be a part of. For members of these gyms though, they don’t look at the shirts as free advertising for a ‘brand’, they’re showing pride in a community that’s helped to improve their lives. A t-shirt may not be appropriate for your brand, but there are other social ways you can live offline to build more affinity.

CrossFit and HIIT gyms aren’t for everyone, but their rise in prominence and level of community building is something many brands can learn from.

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