Today, Fitbit is the king of the fitness tracking market.
Few people remember, however, that wasn’t always the case. There were actually times when the prospect of going under was looming over the company.
But, propelled by a pristine vision and steady stream of funding, Fitbit pushed through. It realized where real opportunities for growth in a digital era lie. Instead of pricing (Jawbone’s selling point) or brand recognition (Nike’s advantage), Fitbit had to pull some other secret weapon.
And so it decided to harness the power of social media, digital marketing, and community building as main differentiators. It would go out to customers instead of waiting for them to come flocking.
In recent years, the seeds it planted started to bear fruit. The brand made big waves in the social media landscape and inspired a vibrant movement. This stellar success has opened doors to business Holy Grail: mass consumer adoption.
So, we have a lot to learn from the example of Fitbit marketing. Here is a master class on how to foster a devout online community and outpace the competition.
A Social Star is Born
At their very core, humans are social animals.
Social media hasn’t added anything profoundly new here. It merely gave us a vast stage where we can run wild. Modern brands have quickly awakened to the immense potential of catering to that spirit within.
The days of hiding behind a corporate façade are long gone. Those who really mean business have to show their warm side. The best way to pull it off is to bank on the community aspect of online channels.
I know the following sentence may sound weird but bear with us.
Whether Fitbit has the best trackers or not is beside the point. In this day and age, how companies come across via the internet is what separates them from one another.
In light of this reality, social media strategies have become launching pads for market dominance. Apart from unparalleled reach, they have another great benefit— cost per contact. It’s much lower than with most other available channels.
In the eyes of customers, this is all a much-welcome turn of events. They are able to thrive in a space geared toward lively interaction, debate, and self-expression.
Fitbit was quick to conquer this new frontier before the competition could beat them to it. Namely, the brand established a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
In this level playing field, it managed to take on giants such as Apple and Nike (while spending less on marketing). The way to the throne of connected health and wellness leads through the social courtyard.
Walking the Talk with Fitbit Marketing
Even before hitting it big online, Fitbit had strong brand foundations in place.
The core message behind Fitbit marketing is clear: “Let’s get healthy together”. The sheer simplicity of it is the key to selling an active lifestyle to a wide audience.
The message has two main components: accessibility and inclusion. Almost anyone can walk and there’s no need to spend eternity breaking a sweat in a gym first.
Fitbit made sure to let you know positive change is well within grasp. You just need to make that decision and head outdoors, don’t you?
This is fuss-free exercising at its finest, a chance to change your life for the better. You can even have some fun along the way!
Tracking elevates the whole experience by offering an easy solution for measuring the invested effort. It breaks down big fitness goals and incentivizes you to keep going. What is more, tracker enables consumers to show off progress and compare themselves to others.
It should be noted this kind of consumer tech is integral to the broader Internet of Things (IoT) boom. The proliferation of connected devices played right into the hand of Fitbit.
The brand might not be a unique example of tech-fueled rise, but it certainly knew how to translate niche/industry specifics into effective community building strategy.
Tailored guidance and constant consumer attention are the backbones of this customer-centric approach. As you're about to find out, it’s linked to amazing benefits. Most notably, it boosts satisfaction and satisfaction and influences behavior.
To observe Fitbit’s social greatness closer, let’s first take the example of its Twitter account.
The company uses it to offer information on current products and to announce upcoming launches. The very top of the timeline (pinned tweet) is reserved for product promotion.
One can also find links to useful blog posts, many of which are expert articles. Exercise tips, challenges for kids, and National Day specials are among the most successful pieces. This is all a great illustration of how blogging and social media marketing can work hand in hand.
Relevant retweets by magazines, influencers, and brand ambassadors occupy one prominent section of the profile. Interviews with staff help Fitbit are there to uncover the company’s human face.
A bulk of Fitbit’s own tweets feature topics that generate engagement and forward brand mission. Visual flair in the form of high-quality videos and images amplifies every post. This best practice goes a long way toward maximizing social signals and engagement.
Not surprisingly, there are also statistics meant to instill confidence in the brand. Indeed, people adore seeing brands inject some facts and figures into the entertaining mix.
Moreover, the organization employs its profile as a tool for customer service support. This trick is something many industry players are trying to mimic. It makes a ton of sense to try and accommodate a growing number of questions via free social tools.
Doing so spares you the expenses of hiring of a bunch of new support team members.
Owing to these smart Twitter tactics, the level of social traffic skyrocketed. At the same time, the number of customer service calls declined. That’s what you call a true win-win.
Facebook: An Engagement Engine
Social media behemoth Facebook is the next channel we’re going to analyze.
There are many similarities with the Twitter account, but with even more emphasis on engagement. First off, due to platform setup and format, the posts are way longer.
Secondly, just like on Twitter, user-generated content is in the spotlight. In particular, we would underline posts from brand ambassadors. Fitbit prompts these loyal followers to tag their images, extending the social media reach in the process.
Another thing that stands out is Fitbit’s obsession with the latest fitness trends. Just take a look at the updates aiming to promote plogging. For those who don’t know, it’s a Scandinavian viral sensation, which combines jogging and collecting litter.
Fitbit encourages its followers to post pictures of themselves taking part in this peculiar activity. In return, the brand donates to Waste Aid UK and gives participants a chance to win nice rewards.
This isn’t the first time such a recipe has worked miracles. In 2015, Fitbit launched a charity campaign called FitForFood. It partnered up with more than 100,000 followers to provide food to Feeding America.
The only blemish on the face of the brand is a bunch of unanswered negative comments. They signal customer frustration with Fitbit trackers. That being said, these remarks often get showed under an avalanche of positive comments.
At the end of the day, most people respect what Fitbit is doing. When we say that, we imply devotion to maintaining conversations and responding to followers (for the most part).
Digital Community Realms Beyond Social Media
Social media isn’t the only breeding ground for creating online communities.
Fitbit embraces peer-to-peer support approach and its forums fully embody it. It’s not hard to see the logic behind this facet of community strategy.
Customers are using products in practice and generating a wealth of hands-on insights that way. So, why shouldn’t they be the ones to have a say?
Thus, community features are embedded into other pieces of digital real estate. Just take a look at the Twitter Support, Sports Discussion Boards, and Contact Us page. These channels of communication exist alongside traditional staples like email, telephone, and chat support.
Furthermore, we have to underline the importance of the Fitbit blog. Company insiders claim it was here that the brand first discovered the power of comments and user engagement.
Not only that, but it successfully used content to scale community and dazzle the influx of new visitors. Community manager at the time even let prominent members join the customer council.
As for the blog itself, posts are categorized into niches such as Eat Well, Feel Good, Fitbit News, Be Inspired, etc. Ambassador section contains in-depth reviews and opinions. Health and well-being are a common thread across different content types.
Finally, we shouldn’t overlook the website, which acts as much more than a mere product catalog. In fact, it’s all about the role Fitbit products play in the lives of customers. It also acts as a hub for exchanging tips and advice.
A group of super-users answers a huge backlog of questions, with the rest trimming a bit of the workload. Seeing how ambitious community-building plans unraveled perfectly, Fitbit made the next milestone decision.
It opened up its community to the world. No longer were only registered users able to pose and answer questions.
When Offline and Online Come Together
It should be obvious by now that community aspect is woven into everything Fitbit does online.
The brand understood companies need deep roots in the social ecosystem around them. We are going to examine this via one last example— social challenges.
These engagement magnets prompt users to invite up to 10 followers to join them in tackling challenges. The events include Goal Day, Weekend Warrior, Daily Showdown, Workweek Hustle, etc.
Apart from the invites, participants can cheer others on to stay on tracks. The group chat allows them to compare notes and share experiences. There’s also an option to automatically post achievements via Fitbit tracker.
Of course, challenges are meant to ignite healthy competition. The point isn’t to shame anyone into stepping up. Quite the opposite— Fitbit wants to spread positivity through gamification.
The thrill of winning is the icing on the cake, not the main dish. There’s also fear of missing out (FOMO) involved in the motivation equation.
We should also mention that it’s quite easy to track challenge progress. In fact, Fitbit reminds users where they stand via push notifications. This all reflects the philosophy behind the brand’s product design and echoes its main mission.
Similar tricks have been applied to Fitbit contests and competitions. Their synergy was the catalyst for sparking a real online movement, which bridges the gap between offline and online.
This is a tremendous achievement rooted in company history, careful planning, and brilliant tactics. Opening up a dialogue with the members of a Fitbit tribe was a key step. Compelling storytelling came into play to bring people together and send them to an exciting fitness adventure.
We expect to see even more impassive numbers and achievements in 2019 and beyond.
With You Every Step of the Way
For Fitbit, mastering the step counting game was only the beginning.
Community building has staged a real fitness revolution around an emerging technological trend. Fitbit genius was in making this online community an essential component of an overarching brand experience.
It also knew how to adjust the strategies to the specific channel in use. While going about strategy execution, it introduced some healthy competition and gamification.
Another major lesson is consistency represents the mainstay of a strong, multi-channel internet presence. Fitbit marketing has shown us how different online pieces can fall together seamlessly into the overarching brand narrative.
Finally, the brand reminds us social media interaction is a two-way street. Followers need to become part of something bigger and meaningful. They are most engaged when given a chance to share the social currency with the brand.
Therefore, you would be wise to learn from these best practices and means of social motivation. Make an effort to deliver the most value across the entire buyer journey. Browse our collection of Fitbit accessories to upgrade your tracker, and to find out more about these tech marvels.
It’s time to get ahead of the curve and secure a slice of a market pie.