Bridging the gap between wellness, technology, and retail, Peloton has become a brand to watch in the fitness industry — we have Sara Haile, the brand's Senior Social Media Manager (and today's PLANOLEADER!) to thank for that. In short, Sara leads all content efforts across Peloton's storytelling channels including social media and the blog. From participating in classes to shopping the company's apparel, we were interested in learning more about how Sara has created a consistent yet engaging social media strategy that considers each facet of the Peloton experience. So we joined Sara at Peloton's airy showroom in Manhattan's bustling Chelsea neighborhood to witness the digital darling in her element. Read on to meet Sara who kindly shared more about her professional experiences and her recommended tips for peers in the fitness industry looking to plan and create impactful social media content.
Please introduce yourself!
My name is Sara Haile. I'm the Senior Social Media Manager at Peloton, photographer and overall digital media professional.
Before Peloton, what were you up to professionally, what role did digital play in your job description, and what have been some notable moments throughout your career so far?
Prior to joining Peloton, I gained experience in several different marketing and production-based roles. Looking back at my previous positions, I jumped around a bit, but I feel as though it's a reflection of my love of so many elements that can contribute to a final campaign – photography, video, copywriting, production coordination, PR, and even graphic design. I've learned so much from my past roles, and I still apply a lot of the knowledge to what I'm doing in my current role on a daily basis. A notable moment for me was the re-design of Peloton's blog, The Output. It was something that I oversaw from the very beginning wireframes to the launch plan and even the curation of content that goes live today. I love getting to see the full journey of a project – you invest so much when you're getting the project off the ground, and it's exciting to see it reflected in the final result.
What is one element of your job as the Senior Social Media Manager that you think gets lost in the shuffle when people think about your role? Is there a recent project or piece of content you've created that you're proud and that you can share more about?
My daily schedule can range so much, although it regularly includes planning out our social calendar, writing for the blog, creating shot lists for remote teams, logging and analyzing data, attending meetings for upcoming campaigns and capturing assets. I think the amount of multitasking and behind-the-scenes coordination gets lost in the shuffle. It's very easy to look at a piece of social content and just see a photo, a video or some captioning, but many times there's a lot of planning involved for the majority of posts. You have to be very organized, wear numerous different hats and communicate effectively with several teams. I'm proud of how our blog content is developing. There's a balance between listening to what our members are interested in learning, making sure that what we're talking about is relevant to how our products are evolving, and what are current wellness talking points. I'm really excited to see where it goes in 2019!
Give us an overview of the different ways one can participate in the Peloton experience. How do you consider Peloton's many different facets when planning the brand's social content?
Peloton is a fitness-tech company. We currently have three core products – the Peloton Bike and Tread (shipping this fall) and Peloton Digital - our app that allows you to take our fitness content anywhere (it's seriously awesome)! All of these products allow you to take Peloton workouts wherever you live while still feeling connected to a community that has been amazing to not only take part in but also to witness its growth. We also have our Peloton Boutique where you can shop all Peloton apparel online or in any of our 30+ showroom locations – a place to also test out the Bike and Tread (soon to come) while you're there. I definitely always have variety in mind. I think it's important to be consistent with messaging about all of our different offerings and how and why our audience should engage with each of them. There definitely is never a shortage of things to talk about across our channels, but I think tailoring the content to provide value and educate our audience with what's relevant to our brand at the time is consistently top of mind.
From the machinery to the apparel, would you say Peloton rests at the intersection of fitness, lifestyle, and retail? The equipment itself is also complex, so how have you learned to translate this information and create content that educates Peloton customers in a way that is socially-friendly and digestible?
I would say we're at the intersection of fitness, technology, retail, media, and overall lifestyle! I've learned to be very clear and articulate with how we present things. Whether it be the copy or imagery, everything needs to be taken into thoughtful consideration. This is where a lot of that behind-the-scenes work comes in and where I get to work with amazing team members to market content in a smart way. We think of our members first and foremost, so considering how our audience will be able to interpret and digest the content we're putting out there indicates a campaign's success. We also take advantage of our blog or Instagram story to further explain or demonstrate things that may require a little more storytelling. For example, we release new product features regularly, so using our blog as a space to further explain how a member can put a new feature to use is a great resource.
Based on your experience at Peloton so far, what are your top best practices for those looking to create compelling social media content in the fitness category?
- Make it real - I say this because I think fitness is such a human experience, and while social media can certainly connect people, it's still technology and can sometimes come off as inauthentic. Keeping that personal connection to your followers as best as you can — whether that's through purposeful captioning, featuring UGC, getting a closer look at an instructor's day or celebrating our members for their achievements — is so important.
- Add value - Our team knows that fitness is such a holistic activity, so we want to make sure we treat it as such. It wouldn't be a good experience if members took a class and that was it – we want to make sure that their Peloton experience feels whole. From the community to events, to the articles on the blog, we want to add value to the member's experience even after they're done with their workout.
- Know the experience - It's incredibly helpful to know what it feels like to experience a workout even at the most basic level when marketing fitness. There's something that happens when you get your heart rate up, sweat, and get the endorphins flowing. It helps me to begin to understand the mindset of our members, how to communicate to them and make their experience better across our channels. I also tend to have some of my best creative ideas when I'm in class, so that helps too!