Figure competitors Stacy Lucas and Cassandra Chandler
PHOTOS: Photos from the 2011 Tahoe Show
TAHOE - When you think of bodybuilding, most people think of gyms, long workouts and big muscles. Facebook and social media aren't exactly first on the list, but Chris Minnes, one of the show promoters for 2012 NPC Tahoe Show, is changing that.
"I'm a marketing guy, but I think also because I'm younger than a lot of other promoters, I'm really keen to what's going on in the web and how important it is as far as reach," Minnes said.
The Tahoe Show held at the Mont Bleu Resort is just over seven weeks away. This is the second year for the NPC bodybuilding show and Minnes says last year it was more about putting together something fun. This year, he's focused on making it bigger and better, and he's starting by building out the social media and digital components they started in 2011. Already their website has more content on it including TahoeTV which showcases interviews with competitors, a countdown clock and their latest Facebook posts.
In fact, Facebook is one of the essential tools Minnes is using to reach the bodybuilding, figure and bikini athletes. The social media site is not only connecting competitors with each other and building friendships before the show begins, but it's also allowing Minnes to extend his reach beyond traditional direct mail flyers and emails. Tahoe Show Facebook posts range from competitors supporting each other during their weeks of training, to others being able to connect with athletes they had met at previous shows.
"Social media is giving us a personal relationship with everyone. As far as Facebook goes, I love it. I know so many of the competitors now. They ask me advice. I'll meet them. I get to interview them. It's really opened that up," Minnes said.
Even with the show seven weeks away, the social media and interactive components are already showing positive results. The Tahoe Show website's traffic is 100 percent higher than the previous year's and their email newsletter open rate has tripled. Their Facebook fanbase has also tripled with more fans "liking" them each day.
Making sure the site and social media was as comprehensive and easy to use as possible was important to Minnes. As an active bodybuilding competitor, he knows what it's like to train for months for a show and he knows how exhausted the athletes are the week of the show. Many are training hours a day and focused on pushing their body to the limit. Some of them will be traveling from as far as Australia and busy finding hotels, packing their food and planning for the trip.
"It goes back to the competitor. We want to take care of them and want to make everything easy. Some of them will be carb depleted, water depleted, and at that point, even something simple like putting on your shoe is hard. If you can't find the venue or can't find the showroom or don't know where the promo code is, then you want to sit down on the floor and cry. We just want to make it easy for them as possible," Minnes said.
Minnes can't comment on whether or not his social media efforts will pay off as it's still too early to tell. He can say that if web analytics are any gauge, then it's likely they can see up to 200 competitors this year, which is more than double their 2011 show.