Sports Nutrition Business Series

Social Media by Ross Edgley

Since graduating from Loughborough back in 2008, athlete adventurer Ross Edgley has turned his passion for sport into his profession. Forming part of the founding team at THE PROTEIN WORKS™ ― dubbed Europe’s most innovative whey protein brand ― the 31 year old will be returning to campus to visit the Studio and talk to young entrepreneurs on Friday May 5th about business in sport. But ahead of this talk we asked him to write a Sports Nutrition Business Series and explain what it takes to succeed in the commercial world of food and fitness. Detailing how to launch a brand from Social Media, this is his first blog post…

Social media has completely changed our buying habits. How? Basically it has completely re-written The Consumer Behavior Theory. For those not familiar with framework, this is a model that describes the five main stages that customers go through when purchasing a product or service:

  1. Recognition of a need
  2. Information search
  3. Evaluation of the product, service and brand
  4. Purchase
  5. Post-purchase evaluation

But all of the above becomes instantly impacted once you add the power of social media.

This is because Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube and many more channels that exist within specific industries will have a profound influence on every stage of The Consumer Behavior Theory. All this makes a marketer’s job harder since businesses can no longer ignore the fact their customers live in an integrated online/offline world and they need to make sure they have an appropriate presence on the channels where their customers are. Basically, online marketing just became more complex, but also more effective for those who wield its power correctly.

Allow me to explain…


Targeted & Trackable

Social media has now become so advanced that you are able to track and target those customers who will have the highest propensity to buy your product or service. Never before have you been able to focus your advertising efforts by age, gender, location, interests, hobbies and much more in such a level of detail. Previously you had to advertise in a magazine with a proven demographic and readership and then sit there in the hope potential customers would see the advert and visit your business.

Social media has made this whole process far more specific. How specific? Incredibly is the answer. This is because researchers at the University of Cambridge and Stanford University studied how Facebook “likes” matched up with people’s own answers on personality tests, as well as those of their close family and friends. With enough Likes of objects, brands, people, music or books, the computer was better at predicting a person’s personality than most of their family and friends.

What this essentially means is Facebook knows you better than your friends and family. When it comes to sports nutrition, as a brand we know what you’re training, where you’re training, your age, your chosen sport and whether you like protein bars or vegan snacks. It really can get that granular and we can then make sure we only show you the adverts, products and services we think you’ll like. Essentially, we have a far greater control over the first part of The Consumer Behavior Model: Recognition of a need and information search.

Peer Reviewed Purchasing

Peer Reviewed Purchasing has always been present in business. In many ways it used to be called, “word of mouth” and maybe it would enter the media domain in the form of an industry critic/expert. But today it has been amplified by social media, everyone is that critic/expert and the Evaluation of the Product, Service and Brand happens almost instantly and very publically. If you have a bad social media presence (or even worse you don’t have one) you can’t expect to have a lot of confidence in the brand. This is why although after 4 years we now boast a social media following of over 1 million people at THE PROTEIN WORKS™ we treat each customer like family. It sounds cliché, but it’s one reason we’ve been able to grow and compete in a sector of the sports market that was previously dominated by those with the biggest marketing budgets and most prestigious sponsored athletes and teams.

Purchase & Post-Purchase Evaluation

The final stage of The Consumer Behavior Theory ― Purchase and Post-Purchase Evaluation ― is traditionally thought to be closely related to the product itself, customer service and customer retention. But (again) the best marketers understand that social media can (and will) play a key role. This is because for better or worse the Post-Purchase Evaluation could result in a happy (or disgruntled) customer taking to social media to post their thoughts about you and your brand. This will in turn have a knock-on effect and impact the previously mentioned Peer Reviewed Purchasing.

Ross Edgley is a former student of Loughborough University School of Sport and Exercise Science and is now an athlete adventurer, writer and part of the founding team at THE PROTEIN WORKS™, Europe’s most innovative sports nutrition brand with his own fitness blog.

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