Peloton is an American exercise equipment and media company that was helped launched from a Kickstarter campaign in 2012. Its main products include a stationary bicycle and treadmill that allows monthly subscribers to remotely (virtually) participate in classes that are live-streamed from the company’s fitness studios.
For Peloton’s last year campaign, it hired popular and micro-influencer fitness instructors within its community. Instead of using traditional paid influencer marketing, the company turned to 21 fitness-influencers cycling instructors to promote its brand to their 2.3 million followers online (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter). A win-win for both the company, its brand ambassadors, and its audience.
Companies like Peloton understand the power of digital – its potential to reach and connect with a wider audience base, provide more access and participation, and bottom of the funnel revenue long-term. And Peloton combined the use of both social media and digital tech to power its campaign to connect with its audience, as well as amplify its brand through the use of influencers.
Alex Toussaint (Senior Peloton Cycling Instructor with over 100,000 Instagram followers) says:
“It’s a very important way to connect with our members in real-time. For certain rides where you have thousands of members, it’s hard to give shout-outs to everyone. Social media is another way you can connect with those members.
Peloton has leaned into the power of its people (instructors and advocates) who already use their products and provided them a platform to not only promote their brand but increase awareness of their community and build a sense of culture within the ‘at-home’ fitness world. Peloton instructors actively encourage its user base to reach out to them on social media. (Source: FinTechnology)
Part of brand amplification is its visual component, that’s why Peloton instructors wore on-brand apparel in their profile photos that directly linked to Peloton’s e-commerce pages. This would incline its audience members to not only visually connect fitness and Peloton’s attire, but nudge them to visit its e-commerce page, and who knows, maybe buy an item or two.
Beyond the visuals, Peloton proposed that ‘the use of social media allowed their instructors to share aspects of their stories that they can’t always explore fully while teaching’. This provides Peloton influencers to be more personable in their approach to their audience, again, building a sense of community and brand amplification within Peloton.
Online interactions are at the heart of Peloton’s business proposition – one of its main efforts is to find a way to integrate its social media channels and still maintain the Peloton ‘experience’. One of the company’s selling point is in its ability to give users a sense of community ‘virtually’ without having to present itself in a physical space for participation, which is an aspect becoming more important with engaging with one’s audience.
The company also uses social engagement tools in its fitness app by allowing its users to follow friends, view their fitness performance, and the ability to notify them when another friend is biking concurrently, as well as a video chat feature (face-to-face virtual interaction). Peloton’s emphasis on user interaction is an extension of its focus in building a virtual community among its user base.
Though Peloton faced pushback over its 9-figure annual marketing budget when it went public, and marketing and sales accounted for 62% of operating expenses in the company’s most recent quarterly report – its recent marketing strategy to use its micro-influencer base, Peloton cut-back on marketing budgets while increasing its brand awareness and build a stronger community through utilizing social media and the benefits of virtual events.
And with its estimated revenue of $915 million at the end of the fiscal year 2019, it has doubled its revenue from the year prior; it also boasts having 1.4 million members. (Source: No Good)
By exercising (no pun intended) the opportunity that virtual events and social media can provide to their audience, Peloton proves that it can only net a positive outcome if done correctly. And done correctly is to focus on understanding and providing continual value to your user base, as well as its brand advocates, whether they are micro-influencers or product enthusiasts. How will micro-influencers ‘influence’ marketing as a whole moving forward?