BibRave’s Tim Murphy, a whiz in the social media interaction space, explains why tossing social media posts into an online void means nothing for your brand
Community is a great word. It makes you think about waving to your neighbor as you head out for an evening run, chatting with your coworkers about the next race you’ll run, or looking around the finish line for the guy who passed you at mile 12. Put most simply, community is the series of daily engagements that make us feel connected to other human beings.
When it comes to engagement on the Internet, community gets more complicated, harder to measure, yet even more essential for definable success.
Recently we had the chance to catch up with Tim Murphy, co-founder of BibRave along with his wife Jessica (pictured, right), to discuss who their interactive platform has grown and evolved in the last year or so. As we were congratulating Tim on the evolution of the very engaged BibRave community, he brought up a hard truth that anyone who markets a run or business online should consider.
“’Community’ is a word that gets tossed around pretty casually these days. Users, readers, followers and participants often get conflated with being an organization’s ‘community.’ But if there’s no inter-member engagement within that group, no investment, no relationships, no interactivity, then it’s just people who may or may not serve to advance the organization’s goals, and the goals of that collective network,” said Tim.
So in other words, you may have 7,500 followers of your race’s Facebook page, but if all you’re doing to talk to them is posting a weekly reminder that they should “Register Now Before the Price Goes Up!” – that’s not community. Community requires getting your audience to talk back.
To learn more about that level of engagement and how to achieve it, check out Tim’s interview below. Lots of great resources and suggestions for any brand or business here!
RUSA: How can events and brands harness the collective power of The BibRave Pros?
Tim: The BibRave Pros are a group of 100+ running bloggers and social influencers across ages, genders, races, markets, distance preferences, speeds, and running experiences. They are runners with loyal readers and followers, whose audiences turn to them for information on the best races to run, the best gear to try, the best nutrition to use, etc.
The BibRave Pros help message around stuff that matters to runners when considering signing up for their next race - when the new medal design hits or the new t-shirt design drops, if there’s a course change or a killer post-race party or when there’s an upcoming price increase. They do so by creating their own unique content, by resharing the race’s own content, and by creating and extending conversations about the race on social and on their blogs. All this collective promo leads to more registrations, more awareness, and more branding/differentiation.
RUSA: You've gained traction in the Twitterverse with #BibChat. For the uninitiated, what's that all about and why might we want to participate?
Tim: Yes - #BibChat was really our first step in building the larger BibRave community. We created it as a way to connect with and learn from runners across the country, and it’s been a ton of fun to see the event and hashtag become so widespread. For example - it’s 10:30 am on a Thursday when I’m writing this, and #BibChat has already been used 430 times today on Twitter alone!
#BibChat is two things. It’s a weekly event covering all things running and racing. It takes place every Tuesday at 8pm CST for one hour and involves six questions - one every 10 minutes - around a particular theme. #BibChat is a great way to engage runners who are all gathering to talk about running and racing, and savvy event directors are always mixing it up with our community. If races are looking for where runners are talking about races online, Tuesday nights on Twitter at #BibChat is the place.
As I mentioned before, #BibChat has also become a pretty widespread hashtag that runners include to add some gas to their Twitter and Instagram posts and increase pick-up and reshares. Races can and should leverage this movement by adding #BibChat to their Instagram and Twitter posts (free, low-hanging fruit!).
RUSA: The BibRave 100 is a crowd-sourced list of top races at various distances, as well as top medals, scenery and race management. If I'm an event director, what can I do to vault my event into that select group?
Tim: Rally your troops, tell your runners, ask your followers, use your resources, and be specific when asking. Tell your audience what you’re trying to do (to make The BibRave 100, a definitive list of the best races in America!), ask them to help in specific ways (nominate, vote, and spread the word on social). We saw some smaller races punching WAY above their weight classes last year (The Missoula Marathon beat out all of the large American Marathons to nab the #1 Marathon in America spot, and then they went on to be named Runner’s World’s #1 bucket list marathon - specifically citing The BibRave 100), so it’s really just a matter of how you can best mobilize your network.
And again - it comes back to community. Do you have a large but disconnected group of people who run and like your race? Or do you truly have a community that works together to elevate what they collectively think is the best race?
RUSA: Your team has taken up podcasting and is loving it. Where do we find your podcasts and why might we want to listen?
Tim: Yes! Podcasting has been a great way for us to connect with tons of people in the running community and to create our own unique content. It’s definitely strengthened our brand from the consumer side, and it’s been a fun way to engage different races and race directors who are starting to engage our audience via sponsored episodes of The BibRave Podcast.
You can find us on every publishing platform - Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher - and we’ve got some great shows coming up, including special feature with some of the best runners/athletes in Oregon!
RUSA: Your wife Jessica, who was previously at Runner's World, recently joined the BibRave team full time. How does she up the BibRave game?
Tim: Jessica brings so much industry knowledge, experience, leadership, and creative thinking to our team. After working in advertising and publishing sales for over a decade, she moved over to a brand director role at Nike and then to Managing Director at Runner’s World. She’s one of the smartest people in the business and we - BibRave and all of our partners - are incredibly lucky to have her on the team.
Specifically, Jess is spearheading some of our new offerings, including white label ambassador management for races and brands, plus our end-to-end social media management services (also available for races and brands). For more info about either offering, people can email her at Jessica@BibRave.com or Tim@BibRave.com.