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Learn how to expand your brand from CrossFit’s cult success

(EDITORIAL) CrossFit has been criticized heavily, but perhaps this spotlight of negativity makes fans even stronger in their resolve that they’ve made the right choice. Your brand can do the same.

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Once upon a time, three of the top 10 posts on publishing platform, Medium.com were about CrossFit – much of it negative, some positive, but more importantly than the popular topic is the fascination behind the brand.

Noting that nearly one third of all popular posts were focused on the camps for and against CrossFit, I wondered to myself what lessons businesses could learn and how they can build their own bulletproof cult? Dedication, shaking off haters, and empowering consumers appears from the outside to be their success formula in expanding from one “CrossFit box” to an international sensation.

When this editorial was first published in October 2013, the following three posts on Medium were in the top 10 most popular (you should take some time to read all three for the best level of insight on the topic):

  1. Why I Quit CrossFit Jason Kessler, which spawned…
  2. CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret by Eric Robertson (the #1 post), which appears to have inspired…
  3. Why Do People Hate CrossFit? Kevin Lavelle

I read every single one of them in fascination. In full disclosure, I’m not into CrossFit, but friends who are CrossFit loyalists ask me all the time why I’m not involved, and the answer is simple – I have extensive joint damage from various injuries, and I already use the foam roller every day just so I can do a normal workout. In short, my body can’t take it. Sure, I’m on the same Gold Standard Whey Protein as the CrossFit folks, and I have a nutritionist and personal trainer, so I’m not against working out at all – I have no horse in the CrossFit race.

So why even write about CrossFit?

Because from the outside, it looks like a cult, and my friends in CrossFit all think I’m a moron for not giving it a shot. It’s not a cult, it’s just something people are excited about. We’re all that way.

For example, at the grocery store, I play Tetris on the conveyor belt with grass fed beef, organic berries, and raw almonds, but I silently plead for the person in front of me to change their ways as they load up on Doritos, Hi-C, and hormone-filled ground chuck (“don’t they know what they’re doing to their bodies!?” my brain screams, “don’t they know they can eat well on nearly the same budget!?!”).

But it’s not just fitness, it’s any industry.

If your favorite designer is Chanel and you’re obsessed with high fashion, you’re going to judge the girl wearing KMart garb – that doesn’t make you a fashion cult member. If you are a productivity junkie, who has streamlined every second of your day, you’re probably judging the guy in your office who has a 1984 dayplanner with post-it notes falling on the ground when he opens it (the same guy that’s always late). Alternatively, if you’re a couponer, you probably cringe that someone in a retail store is spending full price – what an idiot, right?

See? We all have affinities that we’re willing to judge others on.

Your brand is no different.

Regardless of the professed dangers of CrossFit (and I’m not endorsing it by any means – I’m pretty sure I’d literally die if I did CrossFit, and you might too, according to the founder), the brand has spread like wildfire with hundreds of thousands of loyalists, and even a major competition covered by ESPN with hundreds of major sponsors.

So how does your brand emulate CrossFit?

Maybe there’s something about your brand that others (competitors?) criticize publicly. Maybe your fans are bored and unwilling to go to bat for you. Perhaps no one has a reason to care about your brand.

It doesn’t matter what your brand is, you can get people as enthusiastic as the CrossFit enthusiasts. Seriously. I know you’re thinking in your head “but I’m a real estate agent, what’s exciting about that?” Tons!

First things first, you need to circle the wagons. Know who your fans are, or create them. How? While there are thousands of articles on this topic, the easiest way to explain is to find who is interacting with you most frequently, either online or offline.

CrossFit circles the wagons not only through building a tight-knit team environment at their facilities, but their main website is jam packed full of resources for anyone interested in CrossFit all the way to those who are veteran CrossFit competitors. Forums, online journals, blogs, videos, and more are available to help people to learn, and with that information, they are armed with what it takes to defend their being a fan of CrossFit. They’ve built a strong community, both digitally and offline.

Is your website filled with materials that people can learn from, and does any of it give consumers a reason to circle the wagons around your brand? Have you built a community worthy of people getting excited about, interacting with, and committing to memory so that they understand how your brand works better than any other?

I challenge you to try this.

Evaluate your website, your social media presence, and all of your marketing. Does your marketing say, “we sell things and stuff,” or does it explain why you’re disruptive, and why you’re rocking harder than anyone else? Is your language enthusiastic and fan-worthy, or is it dry and boring? I would speculate that 99 percent of all business rhetoric isn’t worthy of the fandom CrossFit has created.

Just because you’re in real estate doesn’t mean your offering has to be dry and outdated or look exactly like every other real estate website on the planet.

After evaluating your brand, step it up a notch. Try something new. But above all, I want to issue a challenge to you – anywhere in your company that you witness complacency, snuff it out, whether it is in print marketing, the appearance of your desk, or your assistant’s attitude.

Give people a reason to judge others for not choosing your brand – it’s human nature, as people naturally defend their choices by criticizing anything opposite that choice. It’s the secret ingredient of loyalty.

Complacency is your enemy, and it is what will sink you. With a tremendous amount of effort, perhaps someday, your brand will elicit as strong of a response as CrossFit has.

Real Estate Marketing

How to create seamless panorama photos in Instagram

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) If you have lamented at not being able to get panorama photos to show in their full glory on Instagram, well, grind your teeth no longer.

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panorama

Now I’m not usually one to post stuff on Instagram, But the pictures I do take on occasion tend to be panoramas. I just wish it was easier to share them in their full glory. If you’ve ever tried to upload a panorama picture to Instagram—or if I’m being honest, any interesting horizontal picture—then you’ve likely run into issues.

Yes, you can include the whole photo in a single post, but in most cases, you have to zoom out so far to fit it all in that it’s impossible to see all the amazing detail you were trying to preserve in the first place.

Turns out, there’s an easy way around the problem: a multi-post panorama. Or more accurately, a seamless multi-post panorama.

To create one, you’ll essentially upload your single image as multiple images, similar to how you would create a slideshow on the platform, except as a person scrolls through it will look like they’re just panning across that single picture.

There are great directions by photographer influencers Becki and Chris. You can (and should) watch their YouTube tutorial below:

Create a SEAMLESS Multi Post PANORAMA for Instagram

Ever wonder how to post multiple seamless images to create one giant panorama using Instagrams multi post carousel feature? That’s a mouth full. Today were s…

Here’s an overview of how to make it happen:

First, open your image in your favorite photo editing software. They suggest Lightroom, but you can use something else as well.

You ultimately want each photo you upload to have an aspect ratio of 4:5 and be 1350 x 1080. That means you’ll need to do a little math. For a two-image photo you’ll multiply 1080 x 2, which will get you to 2160. That means you’ll want to crop your original image to 2160 pixels wide; that way when you chop it into two pictures, you’ll have two images that are 1080.

After that, put it into Photoshop. Unlock the background layer, then select “View” from the top of the page followed by “New Guide Layout.” You’ll want to make sure it says “Custom” as the preset and then go to the section labeled “columns” and select the number of images you planned on making. In this case, we’ll pick two.

Make sure the “Gutter” box in that section is set to zero.

Close that out, then select the slice tool. At the top of the page, you’ll see a button that says “Slides from guides.” Click that and your image will be sliced into two equal parts.

From there, you’ll just need to “Export” and then “Save for web.” Make sure you’re exporting those files as JPEGs. You may also want to go ahead and resize them to 1350px high so Instagram won’t compress them on its end.

Once they’re exported, put them on your phone however you choose, and then they’re ready to upload to Instagram!

Now that sounds simple enough but I don’t have fancy programs like Lightroom, and Photoshop, but there is a cheaper, quicker, and easier way to do it all on your phone!

First download an app called Photoshop Mix, it’s free but does require a quick email account sign up. Once the app is open, you add a new project by clicking the plus in the top right corner, and then choose image on the next screen:

panorama 01

After selecting your image select crop on the top left side, and then custom in the bottom middle.

panorama 2

Just as mentioned above you might have to do some math to get your pixel dimensions just right, but the suggested size is 2160 width and 1350 height. The panorama I took would be longer than the 10 photos allowed in the Instagram multi post, so I just settled for 2, but had to do some math the above instructions didn’t include.

If you want a photo that is too large but still get all of it on this feature you can take the original height and divide it by 5, then multiply the answer by 8 to get the width you want to change your image to. The height universally stays the same.

Once you have your size right click OK, and then on the check mark at the bottom right of the next screen.

panorama 3

Now you want to get the picture inside the boundaries you just set, this can be a little annoying having to change your image size with your fingers but try to get the whole thing inside the blue lines that will pop up. Clicking on the dots in the corners and dragging them will be a little easier to make it the right size.

After you get the image just right, next you want to upload the photo to your camera roll by clicking the upload button on the top bar and then selecting camera roll.

panorama 4

Once that’s done then you open another project, and grab the image you just downloaded, once again go to crop and custom. Then set the width to 2360 and the Height stays at 1350.

panorama 5

Basically this is creating half a canvas for your whole photo to fit on, so now you drag your image all the way to the right until you see the blue marks on the left side, upload that to your camera roll, then repeat in the opposite direction, and upload the right side of the photo.

panorama6

So now your images are created, and to the size they need to be, next is getting them into Instagram. Hit the plus in the box at the bottom middle, and then on the next screen make sure to hit the 2 opposite arrows before selecting multi-post. Then you just have to select them in the right order, select your filters if you want them, and hit share!

panorama7

So that is how you create a seamless panorama in instagram! Here’s a video on how to do this in case my instructions and pictures didn’t help.

It looks like a lot of effort, but it’s actually really simple once you try it a few times—and it can lead to some pretty awesome-looking Instagram multi photo posts.

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Real Estate Marketing

Facebook, Instagram launch features to showcase local businesses

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) New features on Facebook and Instagram allow a small business to be promoted within 1 – 500 miles if users visit their Business Nearby section.

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small business on Facebook

There is no doubt that Small business owners (estimated at 30.2 million in the United States) have been hit hard by COVID-19. They’ve had to close their doors abruptly, shift to online and contactless offerings, and some had to furlough their employees.

We don’t exactly know yet how many will not be able to re-open their doors but for those that have made quick shifts to their businesses, here are some great ways that we can support them (some for little effort and no cost to us via Facebook and Instagram, of course assuming they are on these two platforms).

No matter your feelings on Facebook or Instagram, it’s nice to see them make strides as a large tech company to push out these products and resources considering what a large amount of small businesses there are, and how everyone is hurting. This may not be the overall solution, but it can be a great step in the right direction.

TechCrunch outlines the way Facebook and Instagram launched new products so that consumers can show support for their local and small business.

What consumers can do:

  1. When logged in to your Facebook, check out their new Businesses Nearby section (it will let you set it between 1-500 miles from you). Peruse the businesses for updates, and see if there is one that you would be comfortable supporting.
  2. You can add the Support Small Business sticker on Instagram, or use the #SupportSmallBusiness hashtag on Facebook
  3. If you are a Creator on Facebook, you will also be able to easily tag small businesses

By doing these simple things, it will create additional exposure for them, and even be included in Instagram stories that will be shared via localized content. It may not feel significant, but with that many, this might be an easy thing to do at low cost and minimal effort for many of us.

What Small Business Owners can utilize?

  1. Facebook has created a specific Business section in Messenger in hopes to make it easier for them to respond to customers.
  2. Facebook has pulled together resources specifically for COVID-19, and owners can access this through their Facebook shortcuts or within their Instagram Business profile.
  3. They set up a $100 million grant program for small businesses.
  4. They added the ability to add temporary service changes.

As many businesses (begrudgingly or not) utilize social media to promote their products and services, hopefully these developments will help them continue to reach consumers and stay in business. It’s impossible to look at just these two social media channels individually without looking at their entire marketing and operations plans, but hopefully these create positive impacts since they have quite a large presence in how we connect, socialize, and share our experiences.

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Real Estate Marketing

Quick and easy pop up builder helps you convert more sales

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Adoric makes it easy to build pop-ups, because shoppers are suckers for a cute click! They have resources galore to help you grow your business.

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Adoric welcome

Just in case this point was not made clear circa 1999 Microsoft Windows: website pop-ups are STILL neck-slappingly annoying. So Adoric is here to make them easier to build!

Apparently the internet-using world has not effectively boycotted the tyranny of the pop-up because not only do they still exist, but also they apparently are an excellent tool for gaining inbound leads and converting sales. So when a designer and a marketer make sweet, sweet business love, Adoric is the resultant baby.

The free platform allows users to “create a personalized customer journey using web messages such as Banners, In-pages, Sliders, Pop-ups, Top bars, and much more,” the Product Hunt post by CEO Tal Revivo reads.

The platform is akin to Canva, where a simple user interface enables an easy drag-and-drop design experience. It comes complete with over 500 templates and an extensive library of cutesy stock images and gifs.

The platform is compatible with WordPress, Shopify, and Woocommerce, among others. It can also be integrated with popular CRMs and email services like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Mailchimp. It’s even mobile friendly.

Not only does the builder allow you to create a beautiful professional-looking graphic, but it also allows you to choose what a user sees based on their behavior on your website. For example, you can create a welcome message that a user will only see when they first visit your website, and then a recommendation pop-up for a return buyer. Adoric also has a “magic” function that will adapt a new design to match your brand style.

If the builder tool isn’t straight-forward, they’ve got you covered. In addition to the pop-up builder, Adoric offers extremely simple tutorial pages to walk users through each of its features. Articles explain how to start an email campaign, how to run an A/B test on your design, and how to use and read campaign analytics.

The Israel-based startup boasts some impressive clients including Procter & Gamble, Wix, Groupon, Toyota, and Nautica. Though the roster is impressive, the usability of the product is even more so. Making a tool that is accessible to both the Davids and the Goliaths of sales may be what set this product apart from competitors.

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